Monday, September 24, 2012

not perfect but increasing

I am continuing to feel overwhelmed by all that I am learning about who God is and how wretched of a sinner I am. God is so gracious to be revealing things to me in my life slowly but surely, rather than just turning a barrel upside down and drowning me in my sinfulness and ugliness. He shows me bits and pieces here and there, and as soon as I feel like I have grown in that area, I realize I have a long way to go. But Christ has not given up on me, and I know he will not ever. As my mom likes to quote Pastor James MacDonald, I am "not perfect but increasing." Well, I certainly hope I am increasing! :) And we will never attain perfection this side of heaven. So long as we are growing...

In the midst of so much uncertainty in life, I am amazed right now to feel washed over in a great peace. I know none of us knows what tomorrow holds, and it seems like the world gets to be a scarier place each day, but I can feel the Lord again gently leading me to peace in him. He has continued to reveal to me where I find my security, and if it's not in him, then it is sin. And although life was never promised to be easy and we all certainly are going to experience trials and grief, our peace in life and in these struggles comes from knowing who God is, what he can do, and that all things are for his glory. So while I do struggle and confess these things to the Lord, he is showing me continually that my security in this life is to be in him, not in anything else. And when I am really trusting in God, I feel peace in these times. Of course I am a sinner and struggle with this daily, so unfortunately, this peace is not always constant. "Not perfect but increasing"

And the topic of predestination has been on the forefront of my mind lately too, in thanks partly to the study of Ephesians. Kevin was chatting about it the other day, too. And it reminds me of middle school where I seriously cried over it. My parents only received three phone calls at home from teachers in my 13 years of school before college, and one was from Mr. Dirkse in 7th grade. I was quite distraught over several things in Bible class, and I left in tears. Anyway, one thing I really wrestled with was the idea of predestination and how God could choose some and not others. And how can I have free will to choose if I was already chosen? How can God be sovereign and I still have a choice? Why didn't he choose everybody? I thought he didn't want any to perish! Oh, the agony I went through in trying to make sense of it all, and now, almost 20 years later, I still don't understand it. :) What I do know is that God does predestine us, that he chose us before the creation of the world from his own will and pleasure, not based on anything human. I also know that we have a choice to love God with all of our heart or to reject him. How those two work together, well, I just don't know. And at some point in time, I decided that somehow it works and that I just don't understand how. Then I left it at that. I felt like it was my cop out answer, but I really couldn't get my mind to wrap around this idea.

Skip ahead to a few months ago listening to several John MacArthur sermons on Ephesians:

"The doctrine of election is a doctrine that is hard to be understood. And we must remember Deuteronomy 29:29 - 'The secret things belong to the Lord.' And Isaiah says - 'That His ways are higher than our ways.' We have to rest in that. Because we're not going to be able to understand this."

Oh, so much more on this topic of course, but we are not meant to be able to understand this. So maybe my answer of not being able to understand is not a cop out! Anyway, I still cannot explain it, and I still don't know how to explain it to others, especially those who are not believers. But this is where I have to rest in God's sovereignty and in knowing that he knows. His ways are higher than mine. And his ways are perfect.

My ways are certainly not perfect, nor is my understanding. And my life is far from perfect. "Not perfect but increasing." :) To God be all glory for any growth and for everything!

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