It’s easy to recognize the faults in others yet remain blind to our own shortcomings…
WEEK 2 – Celebrating 100 Years of Oswald Chambers
VERSE: “When they were alone, He expounded all things to His disciples.” Mark 4:34
OSWALD: “It is slow work, so slow that it takes God all time and eternity to make a man and woman after His own purpose. The only way we can be of use to God is to let Him take us through the crooks and crannies of our own characters. It is astounding how ignorant we are about ourselves! We do not know envy when we see it, or laziness, or pride. Jesus reveals to us all that this body has been harbouring before His grace began to work. How many of us have learned to look in with courage?” (My Utmost for His Highest – January 12th)
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How It Spoke to Me…
How many of us have learned to look inside with courage?
I’ve been thinking a lot about that question this past week. It’s the new year, and as I do each January, I’ve been asking the Lord to change me, to make me more like Him.
A chance comment by my husband made me realize that while I want to change, I don’t necessarily want to face the hard questions transformation usually requires. I’d rather pray a blanket prayer stating my vague, yet passionate desire to be different than have to deal in any specifics.
Unfortunately, when we do that, we rarely see the things we need to see.
“We do not know envy when we see it, or laziness, or pride…” – Oswald Chambers
There are spiritual blind spots in us all.
Especially when we refuse to allow God to “take us through the crooks and crannies of our own characters.” Crooks and crannies we’d prefer to remain hidden and unexplored.
As a result, we never ask the hard questions of ourselves:
- “Why did I overreact to that situation?”
- “Where is my anger really coming from?”
- “What is the lie behind this fear?”
When I shared Oswald’s statement about “crooks and crannies” with my friend and then-assistant, Angela Howard, she had an interesting response. Without looking up from the devotional project we were working on, she immediately responded: “We’re like English muffins.” She stated it like it was a fact.
At first, I didn’t get the correlation. But then I remembered how perfect English muffins appear to be on the outside. Lightly toasted brown, they are smooth except for a cornmeal dusting. Until you open up one, that is. Then you see how imperfect they are.
Filled with bubble-shaped holes perfect for holding melted butter and raspberry jam, the marred muffin is made up of more air than bread.
All of which might be okay in a muffin, but we certainly don’t want such inconsistency in our lives.
Which brings me back to my husband’s chance comment…
After noticing the strange eating habits of some people at a local restaurant, John asked if he had any annoying tendencies when he ate. Gratefully, he doesn’t, and I told him so. But rather than continuing the conversation by saying, “Do I?”, I chose to let the moment pass for fear he might take the opportunity to point out a few.It takes courage to look within. Click To Tweet
My reluctance to be open to criticism opened my eyes to how often my pride keeps me from asking other people for honest feedback. Third-person perspective that might help me work on my first-person blind spots.
- “That came out harsh…How could I have said that differently?”
- “I tried to do my best, but where can I improve?”
- “How can I love you better?”
If I refuse vulnerability and healthy introspection, I live short-sighted and half-blind to the weak places in my soul. As a result, I never change.
Not really. For if I want to know God completely and be made wholly complete, I’m going to have to be open to constructive criticism from those who know me best and love me most. I’m going to have to give the Holy Spirit access to every corner of my heart so that He can shine the spotlight of heaven on every hidden crook. On every heavily-guarded cranny.
For only then will God be able to fill the holes in my soul with the complete fullness of Himself.
…Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God. (Ephesians 3:19 NLT)
That’s the transformation that can be mine – and yours! If we’ll only have the courage to look deeply within.
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I’d love to hear from you…What stood out most in your Bible and devotional reading this week?