A high school friend and fellow Christian blogger, Brian Eshleman (http://brianesh73.blogspot.com/), proposed two verses and questions in a text message tonight:

You are of your father the devil,
and the desires of your father you
want to do. He was a murderer
from the beginning, and does not
stand in the truth, because there
is no truth in him. When he
speaks a lie, he speaks from his
own resources, for he is a liar and
the father of it. John 8:44 , New King James Version

(1 ) When have you believed and
told a lie because you spoke from
your own resources, because you
didn’t pause to seek God’s
perspectives?

Wail, shepherds, and cry!
Roll about in the ashes,
You leaders of the flock!
For the days of your slaughter and
your dispersions are fulfilledi
You shall fall like a precious
vessel.

(2) When has God’s declaration of
your likeness to a precious vessel
been convicting rather than
encouraging?

My answers:

1) The greatest lie may be when I seek validation for what I’ve done by my own resources — when I’m expecting honor from men and glory from my giftedness, or acknowledgement for personally overcoming my shortcomings. Instead of building an altar from rocks untouched by a man’s tooling for God to be glorified alone, I sometimes find myself eager to polish and stack beautiful stones so that men might admire my work — rather than God get all the glory. It is a horrible lie when I half-heartedly play at glorifying God while expecting to be seen, heard, recognized, and honored. Lord, help me, because I don’t even realize it too often how imperfect my “worship” can be. And when I hide behind my fig leaf, saying, “But it wasn’t intentional, it wasn’t premeditated, it wasn’t intending evil” — it proves ever more clearly that the only good in me comes from God — and that it had been my disconnect, my not abiding in Him, my not communing with Him, my not dying to myself daily that had opened me up to such a sad state of the union.

2) It convicts me about the times where my focus is “to be cherished in this world” rather than “to be of great use eternally for the glory of God”. And who would reach forward extending a finger to touch the hand of God like in the Creation of Adam, thinking of oneself to be “greatly used for the glory of God” but either the most insane of proud, shortsighted men — or the most humbly sane that view eternity clearly? But has my faith recently had me at the ragged edge of radical faith eagerly awaiting His return? Or fat and comfortable and sleeping, unaware of any thieves that might come in the night?

He Pressed me further with question 3:

3) Can you think of a particular instance when you have been convicted of either of the fallacies above, or, even better, when you realize that by the grace of God you are making progress?

My response:

3) I recorded an especially heartfelt and personally moving worship that I shared on Smule App for others to join for their part of worship. It got such an large turnout of different people joining me etc., that I later thought to myself — I ought to sing/record that particular song more often. Making the horribly self centered assumption that people enjoyed my singing of the song and wanted to join me — rather than the genuine worship being what drew others to join in worshipping God, and I tried to sing it again later and share again for others to join — not realizing the double insult, of my second “Amos 6 level counterfeit worship”, and my almost tainting the original genuine worship by how I perceived it might be leveraged for my own glory.

Even so, years ago, I wouldn’t have been giving God any glory at all.

“Bingo”, he replied, and I continued:

If it was all up to me to get better at all of this under my own power, I would be utterly doomed. Now, I not only see the foolishness in my old ways, but even the foolishness in so much of my current ways — even though I can see measurable improvement in some areas. But making it from step 1 to step 4 on a scale of infinity isn’t the time to gloat.

My brother, Brian, replied in text — both of us on other sides of technology during this pandemic, confessing our sins together, and encouraging one another, and genuinely glorifying God in the process:

“Can totally relate. When the blogs don’t generate the looks, likes, or questions I would like, my reaction is not grief that his glory isn’t extended and that people aren’t fed. Too often, it’s for my vastly underappreciated talent. :-)”

That quote “my reaction is not grief that his glory isn’t extended and that people aren’t fed. Too often, it’s for my vastly underappreciated talent. 🙂” will preach.

Lord, I’m so grateful that this molding and making all things new is in your hands, and not just mine. I’m so grateful that You who are in me is so much greater and wiser and more purposeful and perfect in your plan and timing. However you might use me, and even in my foolish wanderings, and even in my numerous weaknesses, and even in my own selfish yearnings that you are sifting and filtering and refining, may you be glorified. Please don’t let us speak, act, or work from our own resources, but from the Holy Spirit as our source, guide, comforter, protector, and teacher. We rejoice that the Lamb of God is worthy to open the scroll and its seven seals, hallelujah! Amen.

Please check out Brian Eshleman’s blog: http://brianesh73.blogspot.com/?m=1 And if you would be interested in receiving similar questions via text message regularly, let us know. Brian is one of my wisest advisors and mentors, and is far beyond me in his knowledge, wisdom, and deep insight into the Word of God. Where I am a novice blogger “keeping a journal” along my Christian journey, he is a writer and a poet preacher whose thoughts and musings are meat that will truly have you chewing and considering the awe and wonder of God.