The Subtle Self

Steve —  4.7.2010 — 1 Comment

Boy do I love me. I’m brilliant, funny, charming, creative and spontaneous. I’m a leader, a deep thinker and a profound problem-solver. I’m a decent dad and a wonderful husband – just ask my family. I care about my church and its effectiveness and desire to be used to impact my world. What’s not to love, right?

Well…while those things are mostly true, there’s a subtle shift in what drives that perception – it’s about me…more specifically, it IS me that I give credit to the list. I’m learning that subtle shift is quite profound as God removes the mud from my eyes.

You see, for the longest time, I’ve been proud of me – perfectly willing to see the goodness that has been in my life as a product of my own devices. For those that need it simple – this is pride and if you want to get your bell rocked, do a Bible word search on pride and see what God has to say about it. Let me assure you, it ain’t pretty.

But not any more. Not for me.

Don’t misunderstand, I still believe all of those things I said above, but I’m now giving the credit to the one who made me and has been at work in my life for a long time. God is directly responsible and deserves all of the credit for any good thing that is in and of me and any good thing in my life. See the shift?

I’ll even go one step further and say that even the tough stuff is God’s doing. I’ve been listening to Andy Stanley lately via his podcast and in his message series “The Legend of Joe Jacobson” he talks about Joseph, son of Jacob.

Here’s a synopsis of the story:

  • Joseph was Jacob’s favorite son (probably because he was the youngest)
  • He was sold into slavery by his BROTHERS
  • Purchased by a big dog Egyptian
  • Given authority over this guys estate
  • Framed for adultery
  • Thrown into prison
  • Given a special position in the prison by the warden
  • Asked to interpret Pharaoh’s dreams
  • Given authority over the entire Egyptian nation, which was the largest and most powerful at the time
  • And is finally reconciled to his family through a wild turn of events

It’s a fascinating story and what stands out in the story if you go and read it is that over and over we are reminded that God was with Joseph at every turn. From the depths of despair at the bottom of a well to the heights of his power and authority as the 2nd in command of all Egypt – God was with Joseph and Joseph understood that truth so much that it affected every decision he made. The best illustration of this is when he was asked if he could interpret Pharaoh’s dream:

14 Then Pharaoh sent and called Joseph, and they quickly brought him out of the pit. And when he had shaved himself and changed his clothes, he came in before Pharaoh. 15 And Pharaoh said to Joseph, I have had a dream, and there is no one who can interpret it. I have heard it said of you that when you hear a dream you can interpret it. 16 Joseph answered Pharaoh, It is not in me; God will give Pharaoh a favorable answer.

If ever there was a time to ascribe brilliance to one’s self, it was then. His very neck was on the line, but Joseph chose differently because he knew that God was with him – especially in the tense momemts. Wow!

So, I submit myself to God and ascribe all that is in me, of me and because of me to Him who made me – my Father. May His Grace and Mercy continue to fall on me…as I surely need it.

Father, thank you for the divine gift of how you made me. My desire is to not squander these gifts, talents and abilities on meaningless things and may you change my heart so that my default reaction is to ascribe all things, both the valley and mountaintop, to you. I don’t understand all this means, but I know you love me, have a plan for me and, most importantly, are with me for all time.

One response to The Subtle Self

  1. You definitely ARE all those things! Praise be to God! Thanks for making me think with this post.

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