Wednesday, June 28, 2017

A Question of Lodging

Today’s meditation centers around the word “lodging”. Take up residence. Inhabiting. Dwelling within. Becoming one with. Being recognized as. Enclosed within. Situated. Within. Abiding in. A habitation. Contained within. Oh … the list could go on and on.

The question I find myself asking today is simple:  What/Who is lodging within me? And, what does it mean?

Just to set my thinking straight, I am first reminded of 1 John 4:4 which declares, “Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world.”

Who is John addressing in this verse? He’s speaking to the “Beloved”, the believer, the child of God. Ultimately, he is explaining the difference between a false teacher and one who teaches the Truth.

So, what does this have to do with the word “lodging”? Just about everything to those who find themselves occasionally taking inventory of their lives, setting things in order, and examining what or who lodges or dwells within them. I would venture to guess that, if you were honest with yourself, there are days you have to do a self-examination to be sure your faith is genuine, your motives are pure and Godly, and that which is “lodging” within you is leading you to live a life of Godliness and faith.

Our faith can be easily challenged when we submit to the Potter’s wheel. We find ourselves being pushed and pulled and prodded into shape by the Master Potter in order that we become the vessel which He has purposed for us to be — the vessel He has in mind, one most useful for Him in the circumstances in which He places us. Whether we are a pitcher to hold water, a vase to adorn the shelf inviting those nearby to behold and desire its beauty, or a container created to store food. Whatever the purpose of your “vessel”, you are being formed to be uniquely purposeful in God’s Kingdom which, when completed, brings Him the ultimate glory and joy.

The Word of God is very explicit about those who are truly His. He describes them in such a variety of ways that it is difficult to miss whether or not He dwells within you. But, does this mean you are perfect? Does this mean that you never miss the mark? Does His inner-dwelling mean that you are faultless? Hardly!

As long as we live on this earth, we remain subject to the frailty of the flesh. Not an excuse, mind you, just a fact. The good news, however, is that the same blood that was shed for the rankest of sinners (that would be me) was also shed for those who never seem to fall or err. Our overcoming of the world/flesh depends on the Sacrifice of the Spotless Lamb to cleanse us of our sins, not on our ability to live a holier or perfect life (if anyone is even able to do that!). That’s not to say we should’t strive to crucify our flesh, to put to death our earthly desires, or discipline our lives to walk worthy of the calling to which we are called. These things we ought always to do, and more!

The One who dwells with me … the God of all Creation, the Magnificent, the King, the Eternal, the Immortal, the Invisible, the Great I Am … continues to form me, to make me, to mold me, to fashion me after His will. It is because of Him I live. Not to please anyone else. Not to prove anything to anyone. Not to hold a position or bear a title. But to bring Him glory as He continues to prepare me as a vessel of honor for which He receives the ultimate glory.

In reading this morning’s devotional, C. H. Spurgeon wrote something that really spoke to me in this regard:  “See that creeping worm, how contemptible its appearance! It is the beginning of a thing. Mark that insect with gorgeous wings, playing in the sunbeams, sipping at the flower bells, full of happiness and life; that is the end thereof. That caterpillar is yourself, until you are wrapped up in the chrysalis of death; but when Christ shall appear you shall be like him, for you shall see him as he is. Be content to be like him, a worm and no man, that like him you may be satisfied when you wake up in his likeness.

Isaiah describes Christ as such: “…he hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him. He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief…” In other words, we must be content to be like Him — undesirable, despised, rejected. We must bear the cross or we shall never wear the crown. As Spurgeon says, “you must wade through the mire, or you shall never walk the golden pavement.”

I’m on the Potter’s wheel. God isn’t done with me yet. There are seasons when He makes major adjustments to the flaws that tend to form; this may be one of them. But, ultimately, it is He who does the work of perfecting His own. It is He who continues to wash and cleanse, restore and renew, inhabit and dwell within this worm who, like all who love Him and choose to serve Him, is in the process of being transformed into His likeness.

Not for my sake. Only for His.

____
(c) 2014 Jan Ross
All Rights Reserved

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