God is bigger than your idea of him. Watch yourself, one of the easiest things to do for us is to unintentionally lose the true identity of God and replace it with whatever might be going on in our heads. We are prone to think on God through a lens of whatever may be happening in us, around us or to us. I caught myself doing this (not for the first time) recently, and I traced this poor thinking all the way to its source, which happened to be my unsettled heart. That’s right, I had forfeited His promised peace because my mind was not rightly fixed upon the unshakable faithfulness of King Jesus. Psalm 91 helped me to reorient and to abide in His comforting grace. Here’s what got me back in my lane:
“Because he holds fast to me in love, I will deliver him; I will protect him, because he knows My name. When he calls to Me, I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble; I will rescue him and honor him. With long life I will satisfy him and show him My salvation.” – Psalm 91:14-16
Listen to God as He declares this: “I will deliver him…I will protect him…I will answer him…I will be with him in trouble…I will rescue him and honor him…I will satisfy him and show him my salvation.” Ladies, please forgive the masculine pronoun usage, but you know that this passage of Scripture is for the fairer gender also. God just got audaciously sovereign on us and declared what He will do for a certain group of earthly pilgrims. Not meaning to burst the bubble, I need to stipulate that the promises above are not for just anyone and everyone – there are conditions to these bold benefits from above. Here they are in theological order:
You must know Him. You must love Him. You must call to Him.
Grace is an overwhelming component of God’s character and His activity among mankind. I certainly do not consider myself an expert on grace; frankly, I sometimes wrestle with it while, at the same time, knowing it is the essential foundation for my hope, rest, peace and power. I am rescued by grace, motivated by grace, calmed by grace and being conditioned by grace. God hardwired me and many others to be active doers on earth. Being a spectator has never appealed to me, and I find no virtue in sitting idle as years seek to rush past without asking our permission. I live in a consistent state of urgency which, thankfully, is not usually allowed to quite become panic. God has given His children wisdom to be assured that nothing ultimately depends on us while, at the same time, we know that He has chosen to accomplish much of His work on earth through the willing and dependent. He has made you to know Him – grace. He is teaching why to love Him – grace. He is convincing you of your need to call to Him – again, grace.
Wow. In writing that last sentence I realize that God actually accomplishes on our behalf everything that is required for us to be qualified for the aforementioned promised blessings. Since we must know Him, love Him and call to Him to experience His deliverance, protection, answers, presence in trouble, rescue, honor, satisfaction and showing of His salvation…what great awareness there should be of the undeniable NEED for His grace. Quite honestly, the recipe is far too complex for the best among us to cook up. He never asks us to do so, He just invites to come and dine at the grace-table which He prepares.
Today may we all be granted the ability to surrender control to His Majesty. May our day not be seasoned with grueling toil and an inflated sense of self-importance. Some people become arrogant and assertive because of self-importance. Others become worrisome and guilt-ridden because of self-importance. Regardless, when we believe that more depends on us than is actual, we lose our grasp on grace. Granted, you are part of the equation but, along with me, you’re not essential. Some of you awoke feeling minimally human and spiritually empty. You arose from bed, hesitated and thought about burrowing deeply right back under the covers for some desired hibernation. You don’t feel up to the expectations of the day, and you are probably contemplating whether or not it’s worth the effort. Let me just tell you that God declares that you are worth His effort. That’s not a humanistic thought, it’s sound doctrine. In His unsearchably infinite heart He has set His primary affection upon you. His grace has found its object and there are no regrets that this object is you. He does not need your strength. He does not applaud your commitments. He is not sitting on a cloud wishing that He could do what He desire if only you were a more fit specimen through whom He might work. Nope, He’s still the same God that elected an idolater named Abraham to be the one through whom He would introduce His covenant to fallen man. He chose a murderer named Moses to be the redeemer of the enslaved Jews. He picked a prostitute named Rahab to help deliver a key city in the Promised Land, and then had the sovereign audacity (second mention of my favorite new phrase!) to place her in the linage of the Lord Jesus Christ! Paul was blinded by pride and legalism to the extent that he was an appointed exterminator of the earliest Christian believers. God responded to Paul’s depravity by making this chief of sinners the choicest of apostles. Peter was a cowardly traitor, intimidated by a camp-fire Girl Scout as he denied his Savior; all Jesus did was make a concerted effort to find Peter after His resurrection and ensure the devastated disciple that there was still much important work appointed for Peter to do.
What’s my point today? Not to make light of sin or glamorize our failures but, rather, to so exalt grace that it accomplishes its intended purpose: making Christ your sole source of rest instead of yourself. Can you lay your head on this provided pillow today? I’ll be there right next to you. This pillow of grace is big enough for us all.