Monday, July 18, 2011

When It's Time to Call the Professional

"If thou lift up thy tool upon it, thou hast polluted it."—Exodus 20:25. 

This morning’s “Spurgeon” pointed out that while this verse originally made reference to the Temple of the Old Testament, it clearly speaks to us today, of the Temple of the New Testament and the sacrifice of the cross.  Spurgeon says that as human beings, we desire to add or take away from Christ’s sufficiency by focusing on good works or penance as a part of salvation; this focus elevates us as authors, designers, and craftsmen, bringing the glory to us rather than the Deserving One.  As God expressly forbade the use of human tools on the physical structure of the Temple, a foothold for repentance and salvation to the nation of Israel, we, His chosen of today, are no more permitted to defile by our touch the redemption He has provided us in the very being and offering of His Only Son, Christ Jesus.

I love puzzles, math problems, and can't resist a challenge.  Discovering the unknown gives me great personal satisfaction.  It’s that satisfaction that can get me into trouble.  Personal satisfaction is just a polite way of saying pride.  Doing it myself, experiencing a sense of accomplishment is fine, provided I am ever mindful of “from whence cometh my help.” (Ps. 121:1, 2) “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” (Phil. 4:13)  Conversely, without Jesus, I am nothing; "without Him was not anything made that was made." (John 1:3, 4).  Christians are not self-deprecating; we are self-aware.  I know what I am capable of, with and without Jesus.

Without Jesus, I am a do-it-yourselfer.  The diy network has a show called "Renovation Realities," which shows you what really happens when folks try to do it themselves.  Blown budgets, fights, injuries, tears.  As a do-it-yourselfer, I've had my share -- and not just during home renovations!  I can't even deal with people some days without losing my temper.  Without Jesus, I am a liar, a thief, a gossip, a bungler, no kind of friend, wife or mother.

But with Jesus,  I am forgiven, redeemed, perfect, patient, honest and kind.  Some days, obviously, I lean on Him more than others.  Some days I encounter people I just cannot tolerate.  That's when I need to give it over to Him.  No sense "laying it on thick," as my mother always said.  No sense trying to run the other way; you can't pretty up a pig.  She doesn't like me, and I don't like her, but Jesus loves us both.  He can take care of it, and He deserves the honor.  And, so long as I can keep my grubby little paws off of it, that's just what He'll get.  The minute I try to take it back and fix it, I am serving no one but myself, seeking the pride of doing it all on my own, and setting myself up for miserable failure.  Sure, God may give me the victory for a time, but without humble obedience to Him my "temple" to self is destined to come crashing down.  

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