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Posts Tagged with “pride”

When Emptying Means Filling

The closing salutation of Hebrews leaves us with this request:

Now may the God of peace who brought up our Lord Jesus from the dead, that great Shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant, make you complete in every good work to do His will, working in you what is well pleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever.1

Two phrases in particular should be highlighted here: “make you complete… to do his will,” and, “working in you what is well pleasing in His sight.” For clarity, replace the words, “what is” with “whatever is.” The prayer of the writer then is this: That we be made complete to do whatever the will of God is pleased with doing through us.

How are we made complete? Our emptiness of self is directly related to our completion in Jesus Christ. The more we empty us of our self, the more God is able to use us for himself. My goal, and the front lines of a lifelong battle, is to be completely emptied of self. Every work I do should be done for him, directed by his will. It means complete openness to the promptings of the Spirit, surrender of anything self-centered, and confession of sins that would hinder his communion with me. It means being frequently in God’s Word to us and frequently in thoughts and prayers toward God.

This struggle against self would be impossible without the sacrifice of the Lord Jesus Christ, who also emptied himself to the will of the Father. In this great act, he sealed the New Covenant of grace with his own blood, paid the penalty for our sins, clothed us in his righteousness, and sent his Spirit to indwell all who believe in faith. In doing so, he has equipped us to fight this battle. May we be his treasure in earthen vessels, vessels of gold and silver, vessels of honor.

  1. Hebrews 13:20-21 []

Faltering Fellowship

I have experienced a life of rich friendships and sweet fellowships. I have relationships with beloved siblings in Christ all over the United States and in distant countries as well. God has greatly blessed me in this area. But maintaining fellowship can be difficult, and it is not always possible to maintain all fellowships.

I’ve identified three types of “faltering fellowships” in my life. The first is a fellowship damaged due to personality conflict. As sad as it is to admit it, there are some believers I don’t get along with and as long as I’m in the flesh I probably never will. I know I should love them, and maybe I do, but I don’t really like them. There are various reasons but that’s beyond the scope of this post. Needless to say, this is probably the most damaged of the three faltering fellowship but not necessarily the most irreparable.

The second faltering fellowship is due to distance. It’s hard to maintain a strong fellowship over long distances and time. Some of my fellowships that are in this category tend to pick up right where they left off when last we met, but communication between those rare meetings is sparse. I experience this type of faltering fellowship the most, though it is also the least damaged and easiest to repair. It is mainly an issue of determination and discipline in communications.

The third faltering fellowship is due to exclusivity. What I mean by this is that strong relationships with friends of the opposite sex have been diminished in order to respect the exclusivity of my relationship with my wife. I have seen the awful carnage that an inappropriate friendship can wreak on a marriage and I believe with all my heart that exclusivity is needed. This is the most irreparable of the three faltering fellowships because it is necessary, voluntary, and barring some tragedy, permanent.  I hesitate to call this type of relationship damaged. I think that diminished describes it best.

The amazing part of all this is that these pride damaged, long distant, and deliberately dimmed relationships will be fixed one day. There is a brother in [redacted] whose legalism has damaged his relationship with his family, with the body of Christ, and with me. [Redacted], we are both going to be in heaven sometime in the next 60 years or so, and I’m elated with the recognition that our relationship will be not only be repaired, it will be intimate. Praise God!

Those of you my friends, separated by the gulfs of time, space, and propriety, we will soon be in a place where distance, time, and temptation is irrelevant. I can’t tell you how happy I will be to see you there!