Friday, November 25, 2011

The Blessings Of The Wilderness

Today the Lord tweaked my brain to think about The Wilderness. Trips into The Wilderness are of His doing and for His purposes. Wilderness is an essential part of the life of a believer because of what it accomplishes in a person’s life. It is very similar to the vitality of tree growth being linked to storms. The swaying of the tree loosens the dirt so that roots can grow into the newly opened spaces. Wilderness is like that for the believer—it facilitates growth.

Now look at Jesus in the temple—a kid. Maybe, maybe not had his Bar Mitzvah? Not dry behind the ears and teaching the rabbis. He was no slouch. He went to school. He knew His Torah... (Torah consists of the first five books of the Bible, the books of Moses. This along with the writings of the prophets were the scriptures of Jesus day.They constitute our "Old Testament.") And He had the audacity to think it meant what it said!  God wants and blesses that kind of diligence and excellence. I don’t think all Jesus was saying to the rabbis was a result of a heavenly download—some of it was because He studied and applied Himself to Torah study. He committed it to memory and ruminated on it while while building a wagon or sanding a yoke!

He went home with Mary and Jo and was obedient. Don’t hear anything of Him until He bursts on the scene with John the Baptist. So He was learning and doing/running the family business—He did what his “father” did, the way His father did. And in His ministry, He only did what He saw the Father do the way the Father did.

Humble—He didn’t set himself up to be something He was not. He submitted to baptism. If we do not fight The Wilderness by trying to get out of it, will humble ourselves and submit to the rigors, the disciplines and lessons of The Wilderness, it will strip away all the dressing we wrap ourselves in--it will help us see who we are and who we are not. It will help us see clearly so we can come to repentance.

Dependent—Each of us He takes to hard places. When we make the godly choice in our hard places we can only do it in His strength. We come to know that it is in His strength that we do anything, and especially it is His strength in us that helps us make godly choices. Each time and every time we make godly choices in hard places, when it would be so much easier to not, God credits that to us as Holiness! When we are wrestling, all hot and sweaty, dirty and grimy and make that call—perhaps even saying it through gritted teeth, “I choose God’s ways. I refuse to curse God, murmur and complain. God is good! I may not understand but I choose to say God is good, His mercies are new every morning, and His loving kindness endures forever! He is my God. He will lead, guide, protect and provide!” To declare that in the face of overwhelming circumstances—God sees that as holiness. We can’t do it without His strength. He is our life. We are dependent upon Him for our breath.

Authority and power—Our hard places become transformed into places of power and authority. When you have faced off what you feared and what devastated you at one time. In the face of fear and devastation you choose to follow Jesus and do life His way, that choice, that stance is what connects you with Godly power. You have earned authority in this area. No one can say to you, “but you don’t understand” because you do understand. You know that God gives strength to the weak. You know that through His strength you conquered and that it is possible to conquor! You can speak with authority because you have been there and you know. God can trust you with His power; He knows you are a safe person because The Wilderness has stripped away the dead flesh that would use power to aggrandize self or build a little fiefdom. He knows you will use power and authority to build His Kingdom.

Intimate--Then when we come out of The Wilderness we come leaning on the arm of our Beloved. There will be a new and wonderful intimacy with Jesus—who also went into and through The Wilderness. He came out in power and authority. When we have been stripped down and are naked before our God and experience His full acceptance and love with no condemnation, we experience and know love and grace. The knowing of our salvation and belonging drop from our head into our heart. We come to that emotional knowing that, “I am my Beloved’s and He is mine!”

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