Contradictory, oxymoronic, counterintuitive. These are all words that carry connotations of the same principle...something seems out of whack.
The Holy Spirit has been nudging me for awhile now to examine two Biblical concepts, fear of God and humility. And any possible connections therein. I figure I'll pay attention during the nudging phase and not wait until the Spirit hits me upside my head with His motivating 2"x4". For a change.
One of my biggest desires is for God to use me in some way to reach people. Whether to help edify His Church or to reach the unsaved. The adjunct to that is, of course, the disheartening angst that He never will.
THERE ARE NO SMALL ROLES...
It is really, 100% absolutely true that size doesn't matter in God's Kingdom. To God it doesn't matter if one has shared His Word with over 2,000,000,000 as is estimated for Rev. Billy Graham or Fred talking to three people sitting on a park bench. The point is sharing His Word with the world. Ten thousand angels will still rejoice for that single person who comes to Christ. That's what my mind knows. That's what my soul knows. That's what my flesh...can sometimes have a problem with.
ONE SMALL VOICE
[Caution 1970s sitcom reference ahead] Sometimes I feel like Arnold Horshak with my arm in the air yelling "Mr. Kotter, pick me!" I so badly want God to use me. No, I NEED God to use me.
The problem is my insecurity. I have a desire to know I'm making an impact. That someone, somewhere gets what I'm trying to say. Oddly enough, and maybe it's a sign of a damaged psyche, I actually look forward to constructive criticism much more than an attaboy.
I guess it's akin to the ages old philosophical question about the proverbial tree falling in the equally proverbial forest. I really do not want to be the tree falling in an empty forest. Although I am excruciatingly self-conscious about what people think of me, I also want to know what they think of me. Refer back to the damaged psyche comment.
GO TO THE SOURCE
I am obviously a "work in progress" regarding this subject. Still searching and trying to find a way to graft the solution into my personality matrix. So I turn to the source of all Truth, the Holy Bible. For the record, if one is searching for Truth about oneself or the world the Bible is where it will be found. Not in "I Ching." Not in the works of Plato. Not with an Ouija board. Only in the Bible. Period. So what have I found?
Matthew 20:26-28 New King James Version (NKJV)
Yet it shall not be so among you; but whoever desires to become great among you, let him be your servant. And whoever desires to be first among you, let him be your slave — [emphasis added] just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.” [see also Mark 10:43-45]
1 Corinthians 1:26-27 New King James Version (NKJV)
Glory Only in the Lord
For you see your calling, brethren, that not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called. But God has chosen the foolish things of the world to put to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to put to shame the things which are mighty;
Here's where my mind got the idea of things being twisted and inverted. I got to thinking about some of the heroes in the Bible. The ones epic movies are made about; the ones Pastors use to develop their sermons and Bible studies; the ones many have used as the sources of entire tomes of Theology. In short the ones who are used as role models on how our Christian Faith should be based. Heroes in the manner of Superman, Spiderman and Underdog. Weak? Fearful? Insecure? No way, not a chance! Right? Well,about that...
Moses was God's anointed tool to free His people, Israel, from their state of slavery under the heel of Pharaoh. How many haven't seen the epic The Ten Commandments that is shown on TV every Easter season? Moses is portrayed as this larger that life man who nearly single-handedly (we know it was God's single strong right arm that was working) destroyed Pharaoh and Egypt; he was the man who led an entire nation out of bondage and across the Red Sea. He was never afraid of anything or anyone! However...
- Who? Me? That was the first thing out of Moses' mouth when God told him what he was going to do. [Exodus 3:11]
- They won't believe me! Moses told God that he wouldn't be able to convince Israel that he would be the one to free them from Pharaoh. [Exodus 3:13]
- I'm not an orator. Moses had some kind of speech impediment, possibly stuttering, and was afraid he would make a hash of God's Word [Exodus 4:10]. He even asked God to send someone, anyone, in his stead. [Exodus 4:13]
- I said go! God was getting a bit perturb with Moses at this point [Exodus 4:14a] and after upbraiding Moses a bit God decided to send Aaron along as a spokesman for Moses. [Exodus 4:14b-16]
- The weakest of the weak. When God chose Moses for this task some 40 years earlier, Moses was a very young infant in a basket floating down the Nile. It's hard to imagine anybody weaker or more vulnerable than that! [Exodus 2:1-8]
In Chapter 6 of the Book of Judges we are introduced to Gideon. Israel was (again!) in a period of disobedience to God and were being oppressed by the Midianites. God was using Midian as His tool for dual purposes. First, as a chastisement against Israel for turning their collective backs on Him. Second, as a way to show His strength and how He uses it on behalf of His People. God could have used the biggest, baddest warriors to be found among the Israelites. But that's not how God does things.
- Hail valiant hero! To paraphrase, that is how the Angel of the Lord greeted Gideon from the get go. He was not at all shy about stating His position right up front. [Judges 6:12-14]
- Another Biblical "Three-Pete." That's a phrase I made up, go read about Peter and all the things he went through in multiples of three (the sheet full of "unclean animals;" denying Jesus; professing his love for Jesus). On to Gideon...In the initial encounter with the Angel Gideon asked for a sign that this was truly from the Lord. So he prepared an offering which the Angel took with Heavenly fire. [Judges 6:17-21]. Later, Gideon asked God not once, but twice, for signs this was really from Him. Once to make wet a piece of fleece while the ground stayed dry. Then the reverse, dry fleece but dew covered ground. [Judges 6:36-37, 39]
- That's too much! A large army came against Gideon and the army of Israel [Judges 6:33]. Gideon was ready to battle but God didn't want Israel to get too full of itself [Judges 7:2] so He had Gideon pare down his forces. Starting with an army of 32,000 soldiers [Judges 7:3] God knocked it down to 300!! [Judges 7:7] So, Gideon led 300 men into a battle against a hugely superior enemy.
King David is possibly the most venerated hero of the Old Testament. We know David as the apple of God's eye. [Psalm 17:6] We also know David as a beloved servant of God and as the one chosen to forever have a descendant on the throne of Israel. [2 Samuel 7:12-17]. But before David became a mighty warrior his life was a bit different.
- Whippersnapper! David was the youngest of the sons of Jesse the Bethlehemite [1 Samuel 16:11]. And it seems, as the youngest, his family may have been a bit contemptuous of him as evidenced by the facts that they did not bring him when Samuel invited Jesse and his sons to his sacrifice feast [1 Samuel 16:3-12] and by his brothers' attitude towards him [1 Samuel 17:28-29].
- You big bully! Goliath was described as being six cubits tall (~ 9-feet) with a coat of mail weighing 5,000 shekels (~ 125-lbs) and a huge spear with a spearhead weighing in at 600 shekels (~ 15-lbs) [1 Samuel 17:4-7] And how did David gear-up? With a shepherd's sling and five smooth stones [1 Samuel 17:40]. And, oh yeah, David won.
- Fearing the Lord. David had at least two chances to kill King Saul. The first when Saul took a bathroom break in the cave in which David was hiding [1 Samuel 24:3-12] and again while Saul was sleeping outdoors while encamped with his army [1 Samuel 26:5-7]. However, David spared Saul on both occasions and forbade those with him from harming Saul. Why did David do this? Fear of the Lord for striking down His anointed (though now, after the fact, we know God revoked Saul's anointing). [1 Samuel 24:5-6; 1 Samuel 26:9-11]
There are many more examples of God using the weak or those in precarious positions in life to bring down the strong. Consider Joseph, or Jacob or many of the Prophets. Dare I even suggest it? Jesus. He is the Christ seated at the right hand of the Father. He is in no way weak, humble or fearful! True...now. Two millennia ago when He came to Earth in the flesh, He most certainly was. To give us an example to follow.
All this has given my mind some of the needed tools to start molding the flesh to be in line with God. I'll keep working on it. As I said before I am a work in progress and it's going to take a lot of work!
Go with God.