Thursday, January 12, 2006

Calvin Felt It

I'm glad Calvin said it.

I've been thinking a little bit lately about myself, (like that's unusual...for any of us) and feeling a vague sense of discouragement. I mean you know somewhat what God wants you to be and you know pretty well what you want to be and then you look at yourself and it can be pretty discouraging. I'm not talking so much about discouragement over out and out sins as much as just a lack. The not doing can be a whole lot easier to be good at than the doing.

I want to be so much more, such a better leader, such a better preacher, such a better person. I wish I had more gifts and was more interesting and more helpful and I think I wish all those things at least partially and really more than partially for God's glory. And you know what, if it's not all for God's glory, add that to the list then, I wish it was.

Reading Calvin this afternoon provided some much needed encouragement.

I quote,

"Each of us must, then, be so stung by the consciousness of his own unhappiness as to attain at least some knowledge of God. Thus, from the feeling of our own ignorance, vanity, poverty, infirmity, and - what is more - depravity and corruption, we recognize that the true light of wisdom, sound virtue, full abundance of every good, and purity of righteousness rest in the Lord alone. To this extent we are prompted by our own ills to contemplate the good things of God; and we cannot seriously aspire to him before we begin to become displeased with ourselves. For what man in the world would not gladly remain as he is - what man does not remain as he is - so long as he does not know himself, that is, while content with his own gifts, and either ignorant or unmindful of his own misery."

I love that quote.

For one thing, Calvin felt it. I mean, sometimes we like at gifted individuals like Calvin and think they must be satisfied with their own giftedness, their impact, their usefulness. But even Calvin looked at himself and was left wanting. That helps me. It reminds me that if I'm ever trying to find ultimate satisfaction and joy and my sense of identity in my own works and merits, I'm trying to do something which ultimately is nothing but a dead end.

For another, Calvin reminds me where to turn. When I become discouraged about my own weakness, I don't have to just stay there, I can turn and find joy and encouragement and hope in God Himself and what He has given me in Jesus Christ. My weakness helps me better understand His power. My own lack of worthiness makes His grace and mercy and love for me stand out all the more.

It's o.k. if I'm not the hero.

I'm not supposed to be. And you know what, neither are you!

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