Blog, Living in the Abundance of Christ

Blind Spots and Daily Bread

I’ve noticed the more I tell myself “No” the easier it gets. It’s like exercising a muscle. No. No. No. When I set clear perimeters for what I will or won’t do, it’s easier to do this. This is most evident when I’m doing a fast involving food. If I have not set clear limits for myself, I am more likely to do whatever I feel like doing. My feelings are not good indicators of what I should and should not be doing. So, I set boundaries for myself. Sometimes, these boundaries are not enough to combat my feelings. There are times when pressure, stress, or strain work within my boundaries in order to conform me to what I should do. Certain foods make me feel terrible, if not immediately, eventually, and that physical pain helps me do what I need to do. I’ve used the example of food, but God uses this method with us too. It’s called suffering.

While this word may make you want to recoil, it is a useful tool in the hands of our merciful God. He uses it to mold us, and make us into what he wills. He also uses suffering to expose weakness and sin. Blind spots. Things we would not otherwise know were there. Maybe, sin we thought we had overcome, we experience a further refinement. Or things we thought were good, turn out to be an area of sin for us.

The reality and process of exposing blind spots, through suffering, is painful. You have the pain of suffering, and the pain of realizing areas of unrepentant sin. We aren’t the only ones to experience this. David talks about it here:

Search me, O God, and know my heart!
Try me and know my thoughts!
And see if there be any grievous way in me,
and lead me in the way everlasting! Psalm 139:23-24

We need to be asking God to expose hidden areas of sin within us. Asking this requires maturity, humility, and a desire to know the truth, even about ourselves. God sets perimeters through his Word, through the indwelling work of the Holy Spirit, and the people he places in our lives. And still, there are times, when he uses outside pressures and stress to close in on us, causing suffering, in order to expose things that wouldn’t otherwise be exposed. Usually things we didn’t care to see.

But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us. We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our bodies. For we who live are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh. So death is at work in us, but life in you. 2 Corinthians 4:7-12

Sometimes, I feel I’m ready to throw off all fear and jump into an unknown future. Almost every time I feel this way, something happens to remind me of that fear. Physical pain or ailments, anxieties that build up, relationships gone awry, something that seems to reign me back in to this place.  I don’t understand this place of fear and it doesn’t seem to be doing any good. It seems to do the opposite of good, holding me back from the full life I should be living, fearlessly.

Only, I know that God is sovereign. I know that he knows every hair on my head (Luke 12:7), and that he has numbered my days (Job 14:5, Psalm 139:16). I know that this light and momentary affliction (as painful as it seems right now) is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison. 2 Corinthians 4:17 (parenthesis mine). I feel powerless to fight against this: the daily reminder of my frailty and weakness. The reminder that every exertion, whether physical or emotional, depletes me in some way. And yet, this is what I’m called to do, deplete myself doing what God has called me to. This does not currently include a life of freedom from pain, or freedom to come and go as I please, but does include pouring out whatever I can as a drink offering to my God. He does not need me to do it, but asks me to. So with fear, feebleness, and weakness, I do my best to be obedient to him. And he gives me what I need. Not what I want, but what I need. I trust him. I commit my life to him. I love him, and pray that I will love him more.

Our daily bread is about more than God supplying our daily physical needs. It is seeking him as the source of all our needs, physical, emotional, and spiritual. We are to seek him daily so he can give us what we need for each day. Namely, himself. God, himself, is of more necessity than even our physical needs of food, shelter and clothing (Matt. 4:4) Himself; his strength made perfect in our weakness, but only for today. Tomorrow, we seek him again for all our needs. Yesterdays seeking doesn’t last until today, although we might recall his provision for that time and it can encourage us, it doesn’t fill us up today. Today is the day to seek the Lord (2 Corinthians 6:2).

That is why I am suffering as I am. Yet this is no cause for shame, because I know whom I have believed, and am convinced that he is able to guard what I have entrusted to him until that day. 2 Timothy 1:12

Because God supplies for my daily needs, all of them. I can, in fear, feeble and weak, be obedient to him.

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