Wednesday, October 27, 2004

A Sign of the Times

Hello out there. Here's my Spur for this week -

We’ve all seen the sign. Sometimes it’s on a fence protecting a farmer’s field or on a closed gate shutting off access to someone’s home. Sometimes it’s on the door to a teenager’s bedroom.
And sometimes it’s written in big bold letters across our hearts. We don’t want to let anyone in. We keep our thoughts and feelings to ourselves. We create an aura of self-confidence that leads everyone to believe we’re in control. It’s safe that way. No-one can hurt you if they don’t know you.
We do this even when we do need other people. When life falls apart due to circumstances, sickness or accident, instead of reaching out for help we tend to withdraw, to cover up the mess and try to keep the facade in place. God forbid that we show any sign of weakness.
God does not forbid it. He desires it. He wants us to be open and vulnerable with one another and with Him because it is through our weaknesses that we become aware of His strength. The apostle Paul proclaimed this openly – "Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me... For when I am weak, then I am strong" (2Corinthians 12: 9,10).
If we insist on closing ourselves off to others, we in effect close ourselves off to God. He wants to use those around us to help heal our hurts and clear away our confusion. He wants us to reveal our weaknesses so that we will know, and others will see, how His grace is sufficient. He has designed us to live in community in that way so that He can reveal His love and glorify Himself.
Unfortunately the very places where we should be able to drop our defenses are the places where we are the most guarded – at work and at church. We don’t dare let anyone know we aren’t perfect. We don’t dare let anyone see that we’re struggling in some way. It might mean loss of respect and reputation. It might mean rejection. So we pretend.
And we deny the power of God.
My husband used an illustration in his sermon last Sunday that depicted God’s reaction to our pretenses. He described a young boy pitching his tent in the back yard. He sets it up and then he posts that no trespassing sign. How does the father react? He laughs. He knows to whom the lawn belongs. He knows who owns the tent. He knows whose son is inside it. It all belongs to him.
Trying to deny our weaknesses is just that futile. We were created by Him. We belong to Him. He knows us. He wants to pour His love and grace through us but He can’t do it when we post that no trespassing sign. He longs to see another one written in big bold letters across our hearts – WELCOME. COME ON IN.

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