Friday, September 13, 2013

Cracking Hard Shells

Life often feels like a full on assault. Seriously, I keep my knuckles up most of the time, and I remember the necessary armor requisite for the fray. Fightings within and fightings without, and that's when I'm alone! 

Things get hard. I dig in and scrap. There's an old saying: "It's better to make a good run than a bad fight." Let's just say I don't subscribe to that thinking. I'll make a bad fight without blinking! 

Now, don't you go mistaking what I'm saying. I'm not talking about fighting others. I'm talking about the spiritual battle that is my own life. Too often, I dig in and scrap rather than remember the battle is the Lord's. 

You know, being a man fit for the fight has a terrible side consequence at times, and that is, in my case, a closed heart. No, I don't mean a hard heart. I mean a closed heart. I don't let anyone new in. It seems I get all I can handle and there's no space for others; more accurately, it doesn't feel safe to let others in. Well, beloved, that ain't good for the ministry, it's not good for my life and it's not remotely close to who God calls a believer to be. 

I know that. Really, I do. 

I literally have a list of things I do to combat such a spirit when it comes creeping in.

  • Consider Jesus. Seriously, ponder HIM instead of me! Think on His life, His teachings, His character, His coming, His coming back...just intentionally ponder Jesus.
  • Get in the Word and let the Word get into me... I mean, you know, I'm in the Word, but sometimes I start thinking and scrapping so hard I forget to listen.
  • Remember from whence I have come. The Lord HAS given me many victories in Christ Jesus! It's no coincidence that every big move for Israel -- whether negative or positive -- came with someone recounting their entire past. 
  • Humble myself. I so do not like this, but I know it's right.
  • Check my love meter. Am I embodying love in my relationships with God and others. 
  • And, because I like do be palaverously redundant all over again, I simply go back to the most basic issues of the faith. The basics never fail me. Who God is; Father, Son and Holy Spirit. What He desires to do to, for, through mankind. What are my purposes as a believer and disciple? On and on...
  • Last, but certainly not least, count my blessings and be THANKFUL. 
That's where I am today. I am being thankful. I have a long, long, long, long, rather long, extensive list of things for which to be thankful. Did I mention the list is long? 

However, I am cracking the hard defensive perimeter today with a certain kind of thankfulness. I am thankful for the ministry God has given me. 

"I thank him who has given me strength, Christ Jesus our Lord, because he judged me faithful, appointing me to his service" (1 Timothy 1:12, ESV)

I know I'm no Paul, but I don't have to be; I'm Tim Bowes. That's Timothy Will Bowes to the official record keepers, and "Man Of  A New Name In The Heavenlies" to those watching and waiting for the Great Day. I've got a calling, too. How do I know? 'Cause I'm His!

In Paul's case, he was an apostle. I'm just a preacher / teacher, table server, encourager and exhorter; nothing so heady as an apostle. Sure, I'm a "sent one," but I've not yet experienced any of the "sign gifts" of apostleship, and I'm okay if I never do...all that's up to God.

See, the thing isn't about Paul or Tim or Billy or Martin or Count von Zinzendorf  or Peter, James or's about Christ Jesus, because HE is the one who enables, who gives strength. I'm not as thankful to be numbered among the servants as I am thankful to be enabled to serve by the Master's power; I much more treasure His strengthening than I do their approval. 

It's humbling. 

Especially when I consider from whence I came. 

I think Paul could understand what I mean. He said, "...though formerly I was a blasphemer, persecutor, and insolent opponent. But I received mercy because I had acted ignorantly in unbelief..." (1 Timothy 1:13, ESV)

See, YOU might not know or remember who I used to be; YOU might not know how horrible of a product I was to begin with, but I know. I remember. You bet, I remember. How can I be anything but grateful? What other response would be proper? Well, you know, not just grateful, but humbled and grateful. 

People can question my theology. They can wonder about my intelligence. They can criticize my personality. All of these things may need questions and wonderment and criticism. One thing they can never take from me, and one thing I want to always remember is that I remember who I was and how when I called out to Jesus, He helped me. He saved me! 

It's humbling, and joy-restoring and encouraging!

And, I know it came by grace, not by merit...

"...and the grace of our Lord overflowed for me with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus." (1 Timothy 1:14, ESV)

Grace remembered.
Shell cracked.
Humility restored.
Fellowship grand. 


masmith4 said...

Amen, Tim Bowes. Bless you! <3

masmith4 said...

Amen Tim Bowes. Bless you! <3

Cristina said...

this was good for me to read today. thanks for sharing.