Monday, October 23, 2017

In Whom Does My Hope Lie, Really?

Hey Friend,

First, I have to apologize for not responding to the wonderful comments y'all posted on my previous blog post.  They really touched my heart!!  Also, to my blogging friends, I'm sorry I haven't been around lately to visit your blogs.  With all that has been going on in my life, I just needed to go "off the grid" for awhile.  Thank you for your understanding, love, and support.

With that being said, I have been reading through the book of Zechariah in the Bible.  This is not an easy book since it is filled with prophetic writing on the visions that Zechariah had.

One vision, in the fifth chapter, is about a flying scroll.  After some research, I discovered that the flying scroll represents the Torah, the first five books of the Old Testament.  The scroll represents the Mosaic Law.

"I will send it [the scroll] out' - this is the declaration of the Lord of Armies - 'and it will enter the house of the thief and the house of the one who swears falsely by my name.  It will stay inside his house and destroy it along with its timbers and stones."  (Zechariah 5:4)

This is not a very warm and fuzzy verse.  In other words the Torah, or the Law (including the ten commandments) comes not to save, but to judge, condemn, and destroy.  

For this girl, who grew up in a staunch Presbyterian church, where we knew the ten commandments by heart, this might be hard to read.  I think as a young girl, I took on a very legalistic view of the Bible - kind of a "you follow the rules or else" philosophy.  

I've since learned, later in life, that God gives us commands not to squelch our fun and hem us in, but to set us free.  He knows what is best for us - what leads to abundant life.  If we decide to "color inside the lines" of His boundaries (his commands), the sweet spot in life can be found.

But way before I reached this conclusion, I looked at the Bible as a book of rules to be followed (impossible rules at that, I might add).  Many of them seemed set upon squelching my fun or pointing out my flaws. I viewed God as keeping tick marks on a giant score card for every time I screwed up.

This view further led me into very legalistic thinking.  And so, what does legalism do?  It goads you into trying to be follow all the rules to a tee.  Hi, I'm Bev and I am a recovering perfectionist.  I tried for many years to do so many things perfectly.  I was an expert at striving, having unrealistically high expectations of myself, trying to earn God's approval.  

The Bible talks a lot about having a humble and contrite heart.  Next to love, humility is the most touched upon topic in the Bible.  I realized that trying to be perfect and having a legalistic view of the Bible was not being was being prideful.  PRIDE - ouch!  What an ugly word.  

By trying to be perfect, I was in essence saying I could follow all these rules....somehow...on my own.  I could do it myself and therefore, I really didn't need a Savior.  

Denise Hughes says it so well in her commentary on this scripture:

"When God gave the Law to Moses who then gave it to the Israelites, the Law wasn't meant to save them. THE LAW CANNOT SAVE ANYONE (emphasis mine).  The Law serves to point out the fact that we cannot fulfill the Law on our own.  We cannot save ourselves.  So the Law points to our need for a Savior.

The Law judges us, and we are found guilty.  But Jesus paid the full penalty of every sin we've ever committed or will commit.  Because of Jesus' blood, we are now found innocent."

The flying scroll that symbolizes the judgment that will fall on every Israelite, will fall on us as well.

Part of me wants to say, so God sort of set us up for failure?  I don't pretend to know how the mind of God works.  I do know that He is mindful of our frame and knows we are but dust.  He knows that most lessons we learn, we have to learn the hard way.  He knows we don't listen well (remember Adam and Eve)?.  He is perfect.  His law is perfect.  He gave us free will and we chose to be sinners.  

Hmmm.....if I were God I suppose I would wonder, how do I allow my beloved children to see their own wretchedness? They are a prideful bunch.  

Perhaps when they see, through trial and error, that they can't possibly follow all my Laws perfectly, they will come to their own conclusion that they NEED saving.  They NEED a Savior??  It will be their choice??  Of course God knew all this in advance.  That's why He's God and I'm not.

That's kind of how it worked for too??  Or are you still on the perfectionist pathway of strive, earn, try in your own might to be "enough"??
Are you still trying to do it on your own?  

When will you ditch the pride and take on the cloak of humility that says, "God I can't possibly do this on my own.  I need the perfecting blood of your Son Jesus to make this right."

I have found as I lower my expectations on myself to be perfect, I lower expectations on those around me.  Phew....what a relief that is.  Humility builds and restores relationships.  Pride blows up bridges.  

Just like a blockbuster movie that will be coming to theaters near you soon.  The flying scroll will be coming to your house soon.  Will you fear its coming because you are trying on your own to fulfill the law, or will you have no fear because you rest in the assurance that your perfection can only come from knowing the Savior of your soul?

Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for knowing, full well, that we are miserable sinners, yet loving us so much that you gave us your precious Son to be the fulfillment of the Law that we cannot possibly fulfill on our own.  You know what we need before we do.  Thank you for your lovingkindness and gentle patience that leads us to your heart of love for us.  Help us to see you, not as a scorekeeper, but as our Abba, Daddy who loves us enough to let us come to our own conclusions.  Help me to rely, depend upon, and keep choosing you as the Author and Perfecter of my faith.  I can't do life without you.  In Jesus name I pray, Amen.

Be blessed.....