When Today Feels Pointless

In my first class today, we watched an old movie in Cantonese about the fourth wife of some rich man in ancient China. In my second class today, we were taking about abstract deterministic mathematical models I’m 80% sure I won’t ever need in the workplace (the teacher is awesome though!). And in my third class, we had a lecture on a database querying language whose content I learned via Google months ago on the job. Then I came home to my online Business Ethics class to read articles complaining about how much CEO’s get paid.

I was extremely close to taking a lifelong nap.

I have a tendency to quickly decide what is important and what is not via my own understanding. When I decide that something is important, I’ll move heaven and earth to do it. But when I decide it’s not important, I swing into the other extreme.

(I almost did not graduate high school because I maxed out all my “unexcused absences” my senior year. Why? I could sleep through all my classes and still graduate in the top 25 students in a class of 400. So I just slept at home. An example of what not to do.)

But one of the things God has been teaching me is share His priorities and to trust His timing and placing. He is sovereign so today is not an accident.

He values integrity and honesty so I wake up early, type up a 6-page rough draft paper about some addle brained philosopher, and show up to class to participate instead of emailing the teacher some bogus excuse about my unicorn eating my laptop or just not showing up.

He values hard work so I do not google my homework problems before I do them all. I do them first (which is painful at times) and then google them. Then I cry at how many I get wrong. And then repent of sleeping through class (just kidding!).

He honors humility and patience so I swallow my pride and ask for help when I cannot do something instead of evading and manipulating the situation, even in the smallest ways.

His work is excellent so I put in more effort even when I know that most people wouldn’t care if some of my SQL queries are lowercase and others are uppercase. Do I care? No. I killed that little OCD voice in the back of my head a long time ago. But I go back and make them all uppercase. Because if I’m doing all as an offering unto God – that means I am active in pursuing excellence, not just scrapping by on mediocrity.(Mediocrity will always be easy and excellence will always be demanding so don’t wait for the day it suddenly becomes effortless. Pigs will fly before then.)

So when today seems pointless, I would challenge you to see it as God’s training:

Training for the kingdom work He has in store for you.
Training in His ways, in His methods, in His wisdom.
Training up the integrity of your character.
Training up the diligence of your work ethic.
Training up your spirit to be joyful when you simply ain’t feeling it. Remember – faith follows fact not feeling!
And most importantly – the training up of your faith: believing in Him and submitting to His purpose when you don’t understand, when you don’t want, or when you could care less.

I’ve noticed that we’re quick to dismiss the things we don’t understand. Dismissing the wisdom and sovereignty of God is pride. However, submitting and trusting Him is the very expression of humility. And to the humble, God gives grace.The proud He opposes. Remember James 4:6?

So submit and obey. He will open your eyes where you don’t get it, change your heart when you’re just not feeling it, and give you new desires for the things of God.

Rejoice in the working of His will in your life instead of breaking yourself over your own agenda.

Praise Him for His provision and stop complaining about what He has taken away or not given you.

Be satisfied in Him. A grateful heart is a happy heart!

He is good. He is trustworthy. And He loves you.

Is not the Lamb once slain worthy to receive the reward of His suffering?

The Momentum of The Gospel

I’ve noticed that I have spent a lot of time in my life waiting. Not waiting as in trusting God waiting, but rather waiting on people. I have been waiting for that one person to finally apologize. Or for that other person to finally be impressed with me. Or for that other one to finally love me and to praise me.

I’ve told the following things to myself more than once.

If only they only lead like they’re supposed to, I’ll be able to happily serve them.

If they would finally love me like they should, it would be easy for me to open up to them and do life together.

If they only would understand me – really understand me, I would not be so angry and depressed so often.

The Lord gently showed me that I have been excusing my lack by the lack in others for a very long time.

I shudder to think of where I would be if God operated similarly.

“Once she stops being so self-absorbed, I’ll reveal myself to her.” “Once she loves me in return, I’ll love her without condition.” “Once she sacrifices everything for me, I’ll go die on the cross for her.”

God’s view of me is completely realistic. He knew that without Him, I could never love Him, know Him, or live for Him. He knew that He had to make a way and then lead me in that way to rescue me. He knew that He had to be active in my rescue because I was dead spiritually – completely paralyzed and completely unable from making any sort of movement towards Him.

Romans 5:8 says “But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.”

Ephesians 2:1- 5 says : As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our flesh and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature deserving of wrath.  But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy,  made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved.”

And today even though I am alive in Him by faith, I am still unable to move myself by my own efforts towards holiness. I need the Holy Spirit, God’s Grace, every minute of every day to pursue Him, to walk with Him, and to love Him and others.

Romans 8:11 says “If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit who dwells in you.

Jesus, in John 14: 15-21, says “I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever— the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you. I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. Before long, the world will not see me anymore, but you will see me. Because I live, you also will live. On that day you will realize that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you. Whoever has my commands and keeps them is the one who loves me. The one who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love them and show myself to them.”

The Gospel no longer allows us to point fingers at others and blame them for our own lack. Because He has given us the Power to love in light of hate, submit in light of incompetence, and bloom where we are planted, even if it feels like the driest desert. Because He is in us and He is with us.

Romans 12:1-2 says Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.

 We cannot be dependent on others for growth in life and godliness. We cannot be dependent on circumstances and environments for godliness. Because the only One that saved you in the beginning, can save you every day.

Hallelujah! Do we even understand what this means?? We HAVE the power of Christ available to us! The same life that brought Jesus from the grave, works life in us – God’s life.

God begins by stripping all of our dependencies away in light of His Word. He purifies our perception of ourselves and we finally see ourselves as He does. Weak. Powerless. He shows how complete our weakness really is. He brings us to a place of complete humility before himself to bring us to a place where His life finally can flow through us unhindered.

And He gives us the Holy Spirit to be made manifest in our weakness. So that we know that when we love and serve the people around us, it is only by the power and decree of God we do so. Our life does not work because of these awesome systems we put in place and a little bit help from our friend, the Trinity. It works because He is there, living and active, sharper than a two edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and the intentions of the heart (Hebrews 4:12).

In light of this, I start to understand the following quote a bit more robustly: “The Christian life can only be explained in terms of Christ” (Ian Thomas). Not only are we solely defined by Christ, we solely do all by Christ.

How?
For me it is as simple as turn to Christ in time of need (which is very often). I say something along the lines “Jesus I do not know what to do. Show me.” Or “Jesus, I need your intervention in my heart right now. I don’t know where this anger is coming from but would you wash me clean and root up all this anger in me? ” And once I give it to Him, I move forward in faith that He is enough, that He will supply everything, and that He is active in my daily rescue. I walk forward, praising Him for who He is. I walk forward in obedience to His Word and revealed will in my life. I simply trust Him to be enough where He says He is enough.

Having the power of Christ available to me, allows me to ask different questions and to have different expectations in life.  Rather than looking to be served and to be loved everywhere I go – I begin to look for opportunities to love and to serve others around me. I become a conduit, a channel of God’s vitality, life, and love, rather than a still standing swamp full of vileness and impotency.

John 1 :7 says “But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin.”

And I’ve noticed that when people come into contact with God’s life flowing through me, they change. Not because of me, but because of the power I was transformed by and now live by. They begin to live, love, lead, forgive, and give as they should. And isn’t it amazing that God gives us the privilege to be active alongside Him in the rescue of lost souls?