That’s what He said

I found it. I found what i was looking for. Or rather, He gave me this word today (by which I mean three days ago because procrastination. but I tried):

The seventy-two returned with joy and said, “Lord, even the demons submit to us in your name.”

He replied, “I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven. I have given you authority to trample on snakes and scorpions and to overcome all the power of the enemy; nothing will harm you. However, do not rejoice that the spirits submit to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven.”

Lk 10:17‭-‬20 NIV

Context: Jesus was sending out his disciples around the area to different towns. He gave them a bunch of instructions and basically gave them authority over illness and all things spiritually evil and demony. They came back rejoicing because v 17.

But the main point is v 20, which my devo paraphrases as “don’t rejoice in successful service, rejoice in the relationship you have with God,” which for me means to be able to lead this life which He has called me to, in obedience, and intentionally partake in His work.

I think that’s a great attitude, or a better one, at least. It gives back the glory and honor where it’s due, back to God, and it credits the source of my victories. Anything else, to rejoice in successful service, would just tempt that big ass self ego of mine, and that’s dangerous. Like, don’t miss the forest for the trees. The successful service is great but it’s not it. They’re just one of the markers of having a relationship with God, one of the outpourings of grace and favour. To be able to be used by Him and to serve Him at all is an honor. I think in a nutshell, it’s just about acknowledging Him and being grateful. When I win I praise You when I lose I praise You.

And since I procrastinated, I got a few more thoughts along the way the next couple of days.

31 “Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift all of you as wheat. 32 But I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers.”

33 But he replied, “Lord, I am ready to go with you to prison and to death.”

34 Jesus answered, “I tell you, Peter, before the rooster crows today, you will deny three times that you know me.”

35 Then Jesus asked them, “When I sent you without purse, bag or sandals, did you lack anything?”

“Nothing,” they answered.

36 He said to them, “But now if you have a purse, take it, and also a bag; and if you don’t have a sword, sell your cloak and buy one. 37 It is written: ‘And he was numbered with the transgressors’; and I tell you that this must be fulfilled in me. Yes, what is written about me is reaching its fulfillment.”

38 The disciples said, “See, Lord, here are two swords.”

“That’s enough!” he replied.

Luke 22:31-38 NIV

Ok I don’t confess to understand everything that’s in the passage here. Like I don’t know what’s going on with the last verse lel. But this is what I got from it anyways.

Jesus was pretty straight up with Simon Peter. He just tells him that “Satan has asked to sift all of you as wheat”, or in another version (KJV) “Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat”. (and here I’m just guessing that being sifted as wheat involves some kind of tests and trials and tribulations. I’m thinking in the Job context, since Satan pretty much asked to ‘test’ Job too.)

And even though that’s what Satan asked, what did Jesus pray? To stop Satan and get Peter out of it?

Nupe.

He prayed that Peter’s faith mighn’t fail and when he turns back, to strengthen the rest. So what’s that mean? Is that cruel of God, to know that Satan wants a go at Peter and still step back to let him do it?

Eh, number one, for me, is that God is pretty much the big guy who takes care of us. Like, Satan’s got to ask for God’s permission to even touch us. We aren’t beyond God’s care at all. So even if Satan’s trying to wreck havoc in our lives, it’s something that God, in His wisdom of knowing what’s good for us, allows to happen. Nothing that ever happens to us is beyond Him. If God is allowing something to happen, something like Satan to sift us, He probably has a good reason for it, some reason we might not be able to fathom.

Number two, also to do with God’s sovereignty, Jesus knows what we need and prays for that, even if we can’t see/don’t know that we need it. Like, that’s the thing; sometimes you just want to be a better person and you read loads of self-help books and try to improve and everything. But you’ll never be objective enough to know what to do or what you should aim for. And no one else can be that objective POV for you either cos no one knows you enough to know exactly what’s good for you, or be able to give it. They may get bits and pieces for you, where your blindspots are, but they don’t know you like you know you (not that you’ll know you enough to know either). They just wouldn’t be able to tell. But He knows and He’s got your back. He knows exactly what you need and how you need it and He’ll intervene to make us holy. He isn’t as concerned about just keeping us safe and comfortable and happy in little plastic bubbles than He is in wanting us to grow and be made perfect as He had created us to be. And that means trials and hard times and pain  because “we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.” (Rom 5:3-4). Plus all that strengthens faith, which Jesus prayed wouldn’t fail for Peter. 

Number three, Jesus knew Peter wouldn’t be able to keep up to his lofty claims of following him to prison and to death. He knew, even if Peter didn’t, even if Peter felt completely and utterly confident in himself. Jesus knew. But Jesus also knew Peter would turn back after denying and deserting him, and was already instructing him what to do when he did, to strengthen his brothers. Just a reminder that really, God knows everything and He’s got it all worked out.

Also pondered on v35-36. Wondered why Jesus didn’t continue to provide in His supernatural way as He did before, such that the disciples lacked nothing. It wasn’t as though He couldn’t (as He just recently proved). Just thinking that it was because they were entering a different season now. They already knew His power and providence. It was enough. Now, they had to prepare for something else, and that means they gotta pack their own bags for the road. Hwaha.

The point of this devo was about broken heartedness from the pain of self-revelation.

My sacrifice, O God, is a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart you, God, will not despise.

Psalm 51:17 NIV

I’m thinking of self-revelation as knowing how fallen we are and how much we need God. Peter didn’t think like that then. In v33, all he could see was his efforts, his confidence in his flesh. He was going to be the one who followed Jesus all the way even if no one else did. But he, like the others, fell away. And when the rooster crowed, he remembered what Jesus had said and he “broke down and wept.” I think that’s the point of self-revelation for Peter. He didn’t know he was as weak as that, as Jesus said he was. I felt like he honestly thought he would live up to his claims. That kind of revelation is really raw and painful and so so humbling. But it is so necessary for God to reveal Himself. After all, Jesus said “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.”(Mark 2:17) And if you don’t know you’re sick, you’ll never see the worth of the doctor and his cures. After Jesus rose again, he restored Peter and helped him forgive himself and Peter became such a force to be reckoned with afterwards as a leader of the early church.

I’m just reminded of all the times I felt like a crappy person, when I felt low and little and poor. So many times I’ve felt poor, with nothing in me to give and bless others. Always wondering why I couldn’t be as loving or gracious as somebody else, instead of being selfish and self-absorbed and proud etc.etc. And it really doesn’t feel nice to be a poor person. But I’m only poor because I’m broken and I’m a fallen human being, and God wants me to know that so that I can know Him. I think if this is what God means as the seasonal broken heartedness, the revelation that I’m really not all there yet and I need serious help to become a better reflection of God, then I think it’s ok to be poor and broken hearted. Because it doesn’t end there. Revealing my state of brokenness is the first step to mending that brokenness, which is what He wants to do, something only He can do.

It’s not that I’ll be living in self-loathing and feeling awful all the time. That would just be unhealthy. It would just mean that I will be able to see myself through His very objective eyes, from somebody who loves me enough to show me what’s wrong and help me right it, from someone who sees through all that crap and loves me as His child (not based on what I did). He would help me to love myself as He loves me, in the right measure, not too much to spill into overindulgence and condone sin, not too little to be crippled by guilt and stagnate. A healthy love, if you will.

Gahh I still have stuff to talk about but it’s 12. Hurr hopefully I can catch up on devo thoughts soon.

Also, I’ve taken to listening to DesiringGod’s podcast thingys whenever I lunch alone. I used to read physical books but it’s hard to handle a book over a steaming bowl of noodles with the chopsticks and the spoon so. Yea DesiringGod’s been just such a wealth of information for me. Much enlightened. Really excited to share some of the insights I’ve gotten from them. Hopefully hopefully I will be able to share them sooon yay.

 

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