Monday, April 28, 2008

The Pruning Power of Grace

So yesterday Kristal and I were on our way home from church and we had the following conversation:

Me: Kristal I feel like I have been a bubbling fool for the past 3 months. So often I presume to know more than what I do. Over the past few months I feel like I have taken the body of Christ for granted; I haven't realized the worth in the people God has put in my life; I feel like I have been too picky; that I have overemphasized everyone's faults; I have been consumed by myself and my own agendas. Kristal I have not been right with the Lord in these things. I want to value the people of God and their ideas; I want to not be nit-picky; I want to only speak when it will be beneficial.

Kristal: Wow. I think we all struggle with those things.

Me: Yeah, I know. But I feel like I have been extra careless lately. I honestly am ashamed of myself. This is a part of myself that I don't want anyone else to see.
Ok, we have to take a break in the narrative. So, I was in the middle of confessing the blackness of my heart, and then out of no where I start to laugh. Ok, back to the narrative:
Kristal: Why are you laughing?

Jimmy: I love this!

Kristal: What? What do you love?

Jimmy: Kristal, the Lord isn't through with me! He is still pruning me; He is still purifying me; He is not leaving me in my sin. I AM HIS!
Yesterday I experienced first hand the purifying power of the grace of God. These are the strangest moments in the world--one second you feel like a run-over, bloated toad in the middle of the road on a hot day, and then, out of nowhere, you feel like a Child of the Most High. Then you wonder how such great joy could fill your heart in the midst of such inner chaos. Then you see the grace of God and the power of His Spirit and you just don't care anymore how awful it feels to be pruned by him--your only desire is to be like Christ. Your joy becomes bound up in the cross. You know you are a failure and you are just happy that God's love for you does not depend upon your performance but upon the perfect and completed work of Christ.


Jessy said...

How applicable to me today!
I also am overcome with a giddiness unexplainable in those moments of realization. If only I sat down and had them more often!

Good post, Snow.

Kevin said...

So true Jimmy! When will we ever learn that when our focus remains upon others & ourselves, chaos and frustration will rear its ugly head? True joy, satisfaction, and worth are found only in the work and person of Jesus Christ.

Tom 1st said...

There was an instance a few months ago where I, just out of instantaneous relenting to the flesh, acting in an unChristian manner toward another brother. After calming down and apologizing to him, I went home and took a shower weeping in bitterness and frustration. My heart was completely heavy and contrite.

It was right in the midst of this mourning that I realized that God's grace was showering over me in much the same way as the water coming from my shower head. The mourning is a blessing, God reminded me, it means "I'm not finished with you yet."

What a wonderful God we have - He who does not let us squander his glory and kindness simply because we mess up, but brings about more glory through these things. Good word, Jimmy, it is encouraging and insightful. Thanks for the realness.

Katie said...

What I love about what you shared is that it stems from a heart that is drenched in the Gospel. I love that McChene (sorry, I can't spell!) quote, "For every one look at your sin, take ten looks at the cross." It's true, when we just dwell on our own wickedness, we're missing the point. But, when we see our wickedness and then flee to the cross where we see that our sorrow for sin exists only because Jesus has purchased us with His blood, we can rejoice!

Thank you for sharing!