January 23, 2009

Entering In

The more I mature on this journey with Jesus, the more I see the immaturity of my ways—and the awesomeness of Calvary. Just when I think I’ve reached an area of comfortable understanding, Whew! I can rest in this realization for a bit. I am challenged yet again to remove the boundaries I’ve erected. The discrete edges I venture toward become doorways leading to a deeper level of understanding. And another. And another. There is simply no fencing in the Almighty.

Trying to pin down God is like trying to put your finger on a drop of mercury. The harder you try, the more beads split from the first and scoot away.

For me, when understanding comes, my actions usually lag far behind. The pull of old habits, thoughts and behaviors protect the status quo. And while the strings of my heart are irrevocably tied to our Savior, the thoughts of my mind still focus on me. My transformation. My needs. My deliverance. Yes, Lord you can use me, but will you fix me first? I can wait.

It can be frustrating —not knowing where the “end” is. We want to set up house and get comfortable. Yet, as much as we might want to, it’s not the point. As Peter commands, “…grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.” (2 Peter 3:18) This knowledge comes not from our learning OF God, but from our experience WITH God. We may squirm and yearn for the safety of the status quo, but as we venture into the embrace of our Heavenly Father, our submision leads to vibrancy, depth and fullness of faith.

I’ve been reading Oswald Chambers’ My Utmost for His Highest. If you want to shake up your faith and start finding doors all over the place, start reading this classic. Every day Chambers points out facets of our Redeemer I hadn’t considered. Every day he shows me what “more of you, less of me” actually looks like. Let me tell you, I've been doing my fair share of squirming!
On the first page, he writes, “Paul says, ‘My determination is to be my utmost for His Highest.’ To get there is a question of will, not of debate nor of reasoning, but a surrender of will, an absolute and irrevocable surrender on that point…Shut out every other consideration and keep yourself before God for this one thing only—My Utmost for His Highest. I am determined to be absolutely and entirely for Him and for Him alone.”

I challenge you to look for doors in the boundaries you’ve set for God. Open them and take a step into the unknown. Offer your utmost for His highest. It may not be easy, but the risk is always worth the reward.
"I eagerly expect and hope that I will in no way be ashamed, but will have
sufficient courage so that now as always Christ will be exalted in my body,
whether by life or by death. For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain."
(Phil. 1:20-21)


Terri Tiffany said...

This is an awesome devotional!

I challenge you to look for doors in the boundaries you’ve set for God.

This sentence above spoke to me most--I do set boundaries on God each day and I find it hard to open the doors and not do that. What a good picture you gave. I'll be remembering this.

Runner Mom said...

Kelli--I just loved this! You are right on target!

"Trying to pin down God is like trying to put your finger on a drop of mercury." This is awesome!Thanks for making me ponder on some thigs this morning. And...for reminding me to look for my Oswald Chambers book!

Have a great weekend!

Susan S said...

You must send your wonderful mercury analogy to P.D. for he will surely appreciate it. He will tell you why. (I also second Terri's comment).

Gail W. said...

Kelli, you have opened another door for me just by reading this post. The bead of mercury analogy spoke to a dusty spot in my spirit that I haven't visited in a while - time to clear out another spot in the attic. Thank you!

Chatty Kelly said...

I always say just when I think "I'm there!" I realize how much farther I have to go. But I look how far I have come and say THANK YOU JESUS!

Kath Williamson said...

Hi Kelli,
You wrote: This knowledge comes not from our learning OF God, but from our experience WITH God.

How I wholeheartedly agree. For me my experience of God - in others, in events, in nature, in prayer and in scripture is key. If I am going through hard times or doubting times, I cannot get away from the reality of my relationship with God.

What a wonderful God we have.

Julie Gillies said...

Hi Kelli,
There certainly is no fencing in the Almighty.

When I first gave my life to the Lord (about 20 years ago) I remember the surprise of God dealing with different areas of my 'stuff' every week. Each week I'd think, "Well, I guess I'm finally done." HAHAHAHA!! After a few months I caught on. He's never done with us...and we're never done discovering Him, either.

Wonderful devotion, my friend.

elaine @ peace for the journey said...

I've been at this thing for a long while now, and I continue to be amazed by the mystery that surrounds my God. The more I think that I know, the less I really do. Come to grips with the answerables has been a life lesson, and one that I am content to live with because I know the answers are coming. If not here, then there.

Beth Moore has said (and I think she's right)...

The closer we get to God in our relationship with him, the pickier he gets! We may have tackled some of the bigger issues with Him, but there are still areas of faith and trust and shaping that need his touch if we are to move on to our perfection.

I'm with you. Going in deeper and stretching out further. That's the way of the crucified life!

I, too, love Oswald. His words have been my constant companion for the last 3 years. This year, I added Spurgeon to my routine. Talk about a prolific writer!


Sue J. said...

We're deep into Philippians right now and that verse is the one from chapter one that really resonates and sets up the tone for the rest of Paul's letter.

More and more, I love to go deep into the study of God's Word. Trouble comes when trouble hits me in the face. I have grown in my understanding a lot, but it's life's continuing road that poses the challenges--forks, curves and all--and beckons me to think about my response.

Interesting how God hems us in, behind and before (our protection), but He untucks, ruffles the sheets and plain ol' kicks the covers off us sometimes, just to make sure we're still alive (and so we'll keep asking Him to cover us as we go forward in His care and under His will).

Really nice, Kelli!

Justin said...

Dear Kelli,

"There is simply no fencing in the Almighty!" I love this line! It reminds me of the work of another Christian author as respected as Oswald Chambers -- C.S. Lewis.

In the Narnia Chronicles, God is depicted as Aslan, the mighty lion, who is the wild, untame, king of creation! He will not be domesticated under any circumstance.

Lucy asks, "I should be very afraid to meet a lion! Is he... is he safe?"

Mr. Beaver responds, "Safe? Of course he's not safe! But he's good."


Laura said...

I simply adore Mr. Chambers and His Utmost. His utmost makes mine look pathetic, I fear. But we keep striving, do we not? I love the image of the drop of mercury. Great visual for me to wrap my mind around. He is sooo big...

Enjoyed your thoughts today :)


Julie said...

This was beautiful. Thank you for sharing your heart.

I have been ruined for the ordinary by an extraordinary God.

I came from the Internet Cafe where I am one of the devotional writers, to congratulate you on your award.

This is my first visit here. Hope you will come by for a visit as I love meeting new people.

Keep running after Him....