Though we're told in His Word that "His ways are not our ways," somehow, we stubbornly believe that they are.  Nowhere is this seen more than in the difference between how we and He define things.  What we call beautiful, He often calls ugly, and vice-versa.  The same is true of what we tend to define as valuable, worthy, wise and right.  Perhaps this gap is widest between our definition of success and His.
      We are born with an innate desire to build something.  This is a good thing, but our great problem is that we tend to go out with the desire to build our own particular "tower of Babel," something we can point to as proof that our lives have meaning, a legacy that can prove to others that we made a difference.  A monument, though we would be very slow to admit this, to ourselves.  I know.  I've spent a great deal of my life seeking to build my own tower.  Somehow though, no matter how careful I am, no matter how precise I try to be, that tower continues to find a way to topple.  Maybe you've found the same thing?
      Proverbs 16:3 is a very popular verse.  "Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and your plans will succeed."  The problem is, we tend to understand that promise through our own, fleshly understanding.  In effect, we feel that what we need do is formulate a plan, take it to Him, get Him to bless it, and then behold Him to supply everything we need for that plan to come to fruit, to succeed.  We bring Him the blueprints for our tower, and He OK's them, and then gives us all the materials we need to see it built.  If this is not happening, than it must be that we have a faulty plan, not praying effectively enough, working hard enough, motivating our "work crew" enough, or having enough faith.  I'm not advocating a laid back, lazy approach to faith, ministry, occupation, or life, but let me ask you, can we see any of this kind of reasoning and belief system in the life of any of the apostle's?  More, can we see anything of this in the life of Christ.  Jesus died in what appeared to be failure.  According to tradition, every one of the apostles but John was executed for their faith, and John died alone on the prison island of Patmos.  As I said, we are born with a craving to build, and that craving comes from the One who created us.  Our great problem is that we have lost sight of what it is that we're to be building, or more correctly, what is to be built by Him into and through our lives.
     Chris Tiegreen said that "A life dedicated to God will experience a God dedicated to life."  He said that God defined success by the life, death and resurrection of Christ.  To all fleshly understanding, Christ failed, especially as concerns giving proof that He was who He said He was.  They mocked Him, and bid Him come down from His cross......but He didn't.  If He had, onlookers would have hailed Him, yet He followed another plan, another purpose.  His Father's.  As Tiegreen writes, "In God's eyes, crucifixion is a success.  So is persecution, hardship, and sacrifice. The issue is not status, achievements, reputation, or profit.  It's godly character and eternal fruit."  God is dedicated to life.....His life in us, and the only pathway to that life is the cross.  The flesh sees that as failure.  He sees it, defines it, as success.  How do we define it.  What are we dedicated to?
     Tiegreen writes, "Never look to blind guides to find out if you're successful."  Don't let them define it.  Don't let them direct the building of our own particular "tower."  Who is it we're looking to?  Who is it that's defining our life?

Pastor O


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   May 2019   
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