Friday, December 12, 2014

The One who lifts my head


But you, O Lord, are a shield around me, 
my glory, and the One who lifts my head high.  Psalm 3:3


Some days are just hard. Anxieties and fears weigh heavy on our hearts.  Discouragement and despair threaten to overcome us.  The questions are many and the answers don't come.  And the more we fight the flood of negative thoughts and emotions, pushing against them, the more they seem to strengthen and push back, attempting to drown us.  We think if we can just become stronger and fight harder, then we can win the battle.  
But the only answer is to run into the arms of God and find refuge in Him, in His strength, and in His ability to save us. We will never defeat our enemies, we will never overcome our own brokenness or our own depravity in our own power.  
When you are drowning in your own defeat, stop swimming and let God save you.
But you, O Lord, are a shield around me, my glory, and the One who lifts my head high.  (Ps 3:3)
This morning, Jesus reminded me that "He is the lifter of my head.".  When I cannot lift my own head, when my thoughts swirl in defeat and negativity, when I can't even take my own thoughts captive, I can trust Him to rescue me.  I can wait in hope, knowing that He will lift me out of the pit of my own despair.  Since He promises to lift my head high, I can stop trying to lift my own head and start trusting Him to do it. Ultimately, we are all powerless to rescue ourselves, to climb out of our own pits.  We try.  We try to apply biblical principals to all of our problems and find solutions that work.  But victory is found in trusting Jesus, not in following principles or twelve step programs or doing another Bible study that claims to have all the answers.
Jesus is our Freedom.  Jesus is our Victory.  Jesus is our Rescuer.
The other day, I was reading Psalm 18 and my attention was drawn to what God does for me.
In a nutshell, God does it all.  He reaches down, He rescues,  He draws me out of deep waters, He delivers me, He upholds me, He leads me to safety, He lights up my darkness, He arms me with strength, He makes my way safe, He makes me surefooted, He prepares me, He supports me, He shows me unfailing love. 
It's ALL Him.  He does it ALL.  I just receive.
So often, I try to do all those things for myself.  It's easy to get the impression that living a victorious Christian life is up to us.  If we're not living victoriously, well, then we just need to try harder.  But that is a lie.  It's not the gospel. And often, trying harder is the very thing that traps me and keeps me living defeated, because it keeps me relying on my own strength and not God's strength. I will never be my own savior.
The gospel is about what God does for us, in us, and through us, not about what we do for God.  Living the Christian life is not about trying harder, doing more, or being better.  It's about trusting and receiving the life of Jesus. It's all a gift.  It's not something that can be conjured up by trying harder.  It comes by laying it all down, embracing our own weakness, and by faith letting the life of Christ fill us and uphold us.   
If your head is bent low, if life weighs heavy, if the answers aren't coming, look to Jesus. Let Him lift your head high today. 

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