The Cedar Chest [Noval]

cedar_chestYou are good, Lord ,and You surround me with your faithful love.  Bless You for this season of life.  Teach me Your ways. 

I see a sturdy cedar chest.  It’s polished and gleaming.  I can almost smell the clean cedar aroma.  The chest is closed, but I have a sense that there are things of great and lasting value inside.  What do You want to say about this vision? 

The chest is your own life-your history, your character, your gifts, strengths, weaknesses, even flaws: the sum total of who you are; who I’ve made you, how I’ve led you, the things I’ve done in your life, who you are becoming.   You can’t see what’s inside, although you have a sense, even a hope that what’s in there is of great value to Me and to others.  That’s because introspection, self-examination and self-evaluation will only get you so far.  True, I exhort you in Romans 12 not to think more highly than you ought of yourself but to think with sober, sound and godly judgement about your gifts and abilities, but there’s a sense in which I “hide”, keep the lid closed on the value, quality and extent of your impact and influence.  That’s because paying too much attention to self is a trap- you wind up focusing on the wrong things.  

The real joy in living is to focus on Me and My goodness and to invest yourself in the blessing, prosperity and flourishing of your neighbor.  But I give you this vision by way of encouragement-even though you can’t in and of yourself see the extent of the impact of your own life on others, be aware that there’s more going on than you yourself can see.  Sometimes I’m using you in ways you’re not even aware of.  So don’t pay attention to that accusing, condemning voice of your enemy that tries to tell you that there;s nothing in the chest, that you’re living a self-absorbed, powerless, ineffective life.  It’s hogwash and you shouldn’t buy it.  It distorts your focus and tends to pull you into the flesh-life: that old way of living that’s motivated by guilt or shame or pride or fear and leaves you desperately trying to make things happen in your own power. 

Keep your eyes focused on My goodness, holiness, provision and power and I’ll see to it that the fruit is there: the treasure in the chest that others can find blessing and life in.  That was my servant Paul’s point in Romans 12:2:

Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.

 

  As you allow My love and goodness to renew your mind, the character gets transformed.  You need to receive that part by faith.  Spend too much time examining your own character and you lose focus. 

If there’s stuff in your heart and life that needs correcting and purifying I’m well able to get that across to you.  I don’t need you to help Me with intense introspection.  I search the heart. 

Well, that helps, Father.  That’s actually pretty encouraging! 

Well, good.  I want you to be encouraged.  Remember, this faith-walk is not really about what you can or should do for Me or others-that’s law.  It’s about what I can and will do in you and through you.  That’s grace, and it operates by faith.  You don’t need to keep lifting the lid to check what’s inside the chest.  Keep your eyes on Jesus.

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