and all that it contains
and all who live in it (Psalm 24:1 NET)
If I really believed this verse, then like Mother Teresa, I would say, “I do not refuse him anything.” For Teresa, there could be no slight refusal to do his will. She was captivated and controlled by the words of Jesus, “Not my will but your will be done.” She would write,
Why must we give ourselves fully to God? Because God has given Himself to us. If God who owes nothing to us is ready to impart to us no less than Himself, shall we answer with just a fraction of ourselves? To give ourselves fully to God is a means of receiving God Himself. I for God and God for me. I live for God and give up my own self, and in this way induce God to live for me.
I disagree that I have to induce God to live for me but her other words are powerful in the above quote. In words foreign to most of us, she would write, “to possess God we must allow Him to possess our soul.” Indeed her life’s labors in the streets of Calcutta would demonstrate that God fully possessed her.
How could she do this? Brian Kolodiejchuk, co-author together with Mother Teresa in Mother Teresa: Come Be My Light wrote,
Only this certainty that she was loved unconditionally could have given her enough confidence to abandon herself to God so completely and without reserve.
It was in giving Jesus whatever He asked that she found her deepest and lasting joy; in giving Him joy she found her own joy.
What is even more impressive about Teresa’s giving of all to God was the absence of any personal consolations from God for most of her life. More about this to follow as I move my way through the book. Clearly, for Teresa, it was not about her, not about feeling good or fulfilled. I have a lot to learn from this beloved saint.
It is no coincidence I am sure that my other passage I read yesterday was in 1 Cor 9:15-23 where Paul concludes in v19, “For though I am free from all, I have made myself a servant to all, that I might win more of them.”
Somehow I get the impression that the guy in the picture to the left is NOT thinking about failure. The words of Paul come to mind, “we do not lose heart . . . we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. . .” 2 Cor 4:16-18 and “so we are always of good courage . . . we make it our aim to please him.” 2 Cor 5:6,9
I don’t know how I missed this but I did. Perhaps my understanding came this morning out of my reading in Psalm 105, seeing that God “brought his people out of Egypt with joy, his chosen ones with rejoicing” v43 and in v45 the Psalmist wrote, “All this happened so they would follow his principles and his laws.”
“Maybe it came out of reading in Deut 7:6 that Israel was a “holy people who belong to the LORD your God. Of all the people on earth, the LORD your God has chosen you to be his own special treasure.” Moses goes on to say that they were not chosen to receive his lavish love because of their greatness. “It was simply because the LORD loves you” 7:8 And then, in v11 a command to “obey all these commands, laws, and regulations.”
I know God does not love me any more or less because of my obedience. I am not chosen because of my obedience. I cannot earn his favor because of my obedience. But, this morning, I am aware that my obedience brings him pleasure. Maybe I understood this before but this morning it is like a new light has come. Just as my children’s obedience brings me pleasure, so my obedience brings pleasure to my God. Dare I say intense pleasure? Why? Lots of reasons! He receives joy from my free will choice to obey him–an obedience that is energized and made possible by the superabundant grace of the Spirit. He receives joy because my obedience to his will is the best thing possible for me and He likes that. Somehow, my obedience brings Him glory and I think God has deep pleasure and contentment when He gains more glory–sort of like–that is the true nature of the way life and his creation should be–giving glory to him.
My obedience brings God pleasure–imagine that!!