April 22, 2009
The Way Up is Down
“Humble yourself in the sight of the Lord and He will lift you up” (James 4:10 NIV).
Friend to Friend
What do you think of when you hear the word “power?” Webster defines power as an ability or faculty, control, controlling influence, authority. In the Greek, the original language of the New Testament, the word is dunamis and is that which manifests God’s power. It is where we get the English word dynamite.
In the Bible, Jesus told the disciples that they would receive power after he had died and the Holy Spirit came to live in and through them (Acts 1:8). “It is for your good that I am going away. Unless I go away, the Counselor will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you” (John 16:7). In the disciples’ minds, that did not make sense. Why would it be better for Jesus to leave them? How could they possibly have more power if He were gone?
The disciples would have planned Jesus’ reign in a different way. Even Peter, when Jesus foretold of his imminent suffering, death, and resurrection said, “Never Lord! This shall never happen to you!”
They did not understand God’s economy: the first shall be last, we gain our lives by dying to self, we receive by giving, we become powerful by being weak, and we are lifted up when we humble ourselves before God.
In Jesus’ first recorded sermon, He began with a list of seeming contradictions.
Blessed are the poor in spirit,
For theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are those who mourn,
For they will be comforted.
Blessed are the meek.
For they will inherit the earth.
Nancy Leigh DeMoss, in her book, Brokenness – The Heart God Revives, notes the following concerning Jesus’ words about the poor in spirit.
“…Jesus came to introduce a radically different way of thinking about life. In the original Greek language, Jesus could have chosen to speak of someone being “poor” using two different words. The first word suggests someone who lives just below the poverty line, someone who has to scrimp and scrape to survive, and someone who makes it, but barely. That is not the word Jesus chose. He used another word that means a beggar – a person who is utterly, absolutely destitute. This beggar has no hope of surviving unless somebody reaches out a hand and pulls him up.”
What is Jesus saying? Blessed are the beggars – those who recognize that they are spiritually destitute and bankrupt. They know that they have no chance of survival apart from God’s intervening mercy and grace.” (Nancy Leigh DeMoss, Brokenness – The Heart God Revives (Chicago, Illinois: Moody Publishing, 2002), p.49-50.)
Consider these seemingly upside down verses from Scripture:
· “Whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be your slave-- just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many” (Matthew 20:26-28).
· “Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you” (Luke 6:38).
· “Then he said to them, "Whoever welcomes this little child in my name welcomes me; and whoever welcomes me welcomes the one who sent me. For he who is least among you all--he is the greatest” (Luke 9:48).
· “But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me” (2 Corinthians 12:9).
· Humble yourself in the sight of the Lord and He will lift you up.” (James 4:10)
· “But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. He chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things--and the things that are not--to nullify the things that are, so that no one may boast before him (1 Corinthians 1:27-29).
We tend to think our scars hinder our service for God when it is our very scars that often render us able. Through our weakness, He makes us strong. Through our dying, He makes us alive. Through our wounds, He makes us whole. “For when I am weak, then I am strong” (2 Corinthians 12:10).
Dear Heavenly Father, I am so weak, and yet, through the power of the Holy Spirit I am strong. I am constantly amazed at how You take the weak things of this world and make them strong. You take the humble, lift them up, the uneducated, make them wise, the broken, and make them powerful vessels. Thank You for taking the wounds in my life and transforming them into beautiful scars that tell a story of hope and redemption.
In Jesus’ Name,
Now Its Your Turn
Today’s devotion is full of Scripture. Go back over the verses and ponder what they mean in your life.
Are there any attitudes that you need to change?
More from the Girlfriends
Today’s devotion was taken from Your Scars are Beautiful to God. To learn more about how God turns our pain into purpose, our hurts into hope and our miseries into ministry, see this inspiring resource. Perhaps God is about to embark you on a new journey of seeing your scars as beautiful treasures!
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