Somewhere, we acquired a book called From God To You, 66 Love Letters by Dr. Larry Crab. It basically summarizes each book of the Bible in an imaginary conversation between the author and God. In history, we are studying the Kingdom of Israel and so the Bible is one of the source documents. This week, we were studying Solomon's reign, which is covered in 1 Kings. Today I picked up the book to get Dr. Crab's perspective and became convicted by the following passages which is his interpretation of God's message for us from this book:
Your desire to be effective, to depend on biblical principles for success in your family, church, career, and friendships, is legitimately strong. But when that desire is stronger than your desire to be holy and to depend on My power for becoming more like My Son, whether you succeed or fail in other ways, then you will not always advance My plan, no matter how carefully you follow My principles or how much apparent success you enjoy. And you'll be especially vulnerable to serious sin.
Later on, he writes embellishment from God's perspective in case I don't understand or purposely misunderstand what He is saying:
When efficient management, especially when you're good at it, trumps holy living, the lack of holiness is either not recognized or is not seen as a terribly serious problem....But the center of My plan has nothing to do with well-managed families, ministries, or careers. When the center of My plan is not the center of your hope, your interior world is unstable, and your soul is weakened.
Busted. And I am without excuse, because the Bible has always pointed to God's power, God's grace, God's plan. It has never been and shouldn't ever be about me and how well I manage. The fruit of the Spirit is joy as well as self control and other qualities. The fruit of my spirit never can achieve these qualities. That is why the joy of the Lord is my strength--my joy in His plan for me, which might look like disaster and failure to the world, but, because it is pleasing to Him, is glorious in His eyes.
But the most wonderful news is that God doesn't convict us to condemn us. He wakes us up to our pitiful, blind state so that He can lead us to repentance and forgive us, wiping our ledger clean with the blood of Jesus and leading us back to seeing His plan and following it.
Please God, open my eyes to your plan for me and how you want me to minister to my family, my friends, and my community. Remove my focus from "the process" and keep them fixed on You, the Author and Perfecter of my faith and on the joy in following Your plan.