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Thursday, March 31, 2016

When People Become Our Gods

Psalm 146, all of it, "Praise the Lord. Praise the Lord, my soul.  I will praise the Lord all my life; I will sing praise to my God as long as I live.  Do not put your trust in princes, in human beings, who cannot save.  When their spirit departs, they return to the ground; on that very day their plans come to nothing.  Blessed are those whose help is the God of Jacob, whose hope is in the Lord their God.  He is the Maker of heaven and earth, the sea, and everything in them - he remains faithful forever.  He upholds the cause of the oppressed and gives food to the hungry.  The Lord sets prisoners free, the Lord gives sight to the blind, the Lord lifts up those who are bowed down, the Lord loves the righteous.  The Lord watches over the foreigner and sustains the fatherless and the widow, but he frustrates the ways of the wicked.  The Lord reigns forever, your God, O Zion, for all generations.  Praise the Lord" (NIV).

The other day I saw this quote,

I liked it immediately.  I am, certifiably, extraordinarily stubborn, and I like to save myself.  Just yesterday I sat down with one of my friends who has known me the longest, and she went into this long treatise about how I get when anyone tells me that I can't do something.  I just sat there and listened, because I know she's right.  It's awful.  I replayed the quote in my head a couple of times.  It didn't help.

Lately I get way too wrapped up in the need for affirmation from other human beings, and this is a really difficult tension for me to deal with, because I'm not used to it.  Although the people who know me best still see the fire in my eyes every time somebody says, "You can't (fill in the blank)," I have come to this weird place in life where I think twice.  I actually care about what people are saying to me.  Instead of just saying, "Yes I can," and steamrolling through whatever it is that I had planned, there have been more than a few times when I have found that I actually can't do something.  This is rocking my world a little bit.  I don't like it.

So here it comes...

I can't save myself.

I think this occurred to me a long time ago, but I wasn't quite ready to admit it.

Ironically, you can't save me, either.  And by you, I mean you.  And... everybody...

Except Jesus.

Which comes out sounding so incredibly cliché, and I hate clichés.  But I think this one is true.

There is a part of me that doesn't even know what to do with this, which is sort of stupid, since I have been a follower of Jesus for a really long time now.  This is nothing new.  It's just... hard.

This chapter of Psalms struck me, though.  It is so beautifully focused on the things that the Lord has done.  I want to be the kind of person who does things like that, not because I want to be God, but because I want to be like God.  When people see me, I don't want them to see me, at all.         

Exodus 13:8, "I do this because of what the Lord did for me" (NIV).

May these be my words.

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