What Are The "Great Things?"

"I can do all things through Christ Who strengthens me. Philippians 4:13... Paul said this, and the things he referred to were mostly humiliating things." Oswald Chambers.... "Be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord. Psalm 27:14....When our blood pressure is rising and our palms are sweating, God's voice is always saying, 'Be still. Settle down. I am on My throne.' " Chris Tiegreen

 

The above Scriptures and quotes would not seem to have a real connection, but today, for me, they do. We usually take Philippians 4:13 as our exhortation to believe Him for the power and strength to do anything....especially anything that is not only impossible, but which will bring a reaction of awe and wonder to all who witness it. We see "all things" as "great things," with "great things" being defined by us. As for Psalm 27, well, we tend to see waiting as a required part of the faith life, something to be endured, gotten through, until we get that which we want from Him. We're willing to go through it, though we rarely see the value of it. For me, there's a common thread in this.

Chambers quote on Philippians 4 gives a twist that we usually miss, and really, don't care to look at. We love the idea of doing great things. Moving mountains, working miracles, and all with large crowds observing us in the midst of it. Chambers, takes Paul's words in a completely different direction, one in which our flesh is loathe to go. We're on board with great things as defined by us. Chamber's definition is another matter altogether. When all things begins to include bearing reproach in a Christlike manner, especially when the reproach is unfair and hateful, we balk at that kind of greatness. The same with receiving unfounded criticism, dislike, hatred. When all things includes laboring faithfully on in Him to the notice and applause of no one, that doesn't fit our description either. When humiliation, even scorn are our portion to bear, we stumble at seeing any of that as doing great things in Him. Yet, isn't that the way Christ walked? His greatest work was not found in all the miracles done before thousands, but upon the cross, in humiliation, before a small gathering of mockers, a few soldiers, and fewer still of His followers. Paul bore the humiliation of being chained in a cell, waiting for execution, and being seen as a failure in his ministry. Yet both the Lord Christ and Paul could do such things because Jesus was fully in His Father, and Paul was fully in Christ. His path will lead us into the experience of all things as He Himself experienced them....both victory and seeming defeat. Through the notice of some, and the apathy of most. In Him, we can do them all, and be like Him in all of it.

I think we get to this place as we learn the wonder and power of Psalm 27. The Father means to use our waiting as a tool of His ministry in us. He means for us to be His Bread to a starving world. In the ancient world, there were various types of bread. The cheapest contained a great deal of chaff and little pure grain. It lacked the quality of the finer baked breads. God has no desire that we be "cheap bread" offered to a starving world. He grinds us, ridding us of all chaff and impurity. He wants a fine grain, full of life saving nutrients. His most effective means of doing so is through His ministry of waiting. And we enter into such a ministry as well. In that waiting process, He shapes us, enriches us, and makes us His bread offering to both a Church and world that He loves. In that process, we learn who He is, and who we are as well. We learn that He's on the throne...and we are not. We become His food to a hungry Church and a starving world....all through the ministry of waiting.

 

As we wait upon Him, He grinds us to His purity...removing all that is impure, selfish, un-Christlike, and makes us fit to enter into the reality of being able to do all things, especially the hardest most painful things, in Christ. It's a narrow path....and it goes through the cross alone. Not many of us seem willing to walk it, but if we will, we will walk with Christ, with Paul, with those known and unknown, who have been His choice bread, His precious life to a Church and world in desperate need...... The pathway calls. Do we take that step into it?

Blessings,

Pastor O

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