In many ways it seems that our walk of faith is a journey of paradox. In the garden of Eden, we sought to be like God but found ourselves separated from Him. Jacob sought Esau's blessing but found himself running for his life. Joseph was sold into slavery by his own brothers but found himself in charge of the world. Paradox after paradox the stories continue. The gospel of Matthew records the Sermon on the Mount with the famous beatitudes. The kingdom of heaven belongs to the poor in spirit.
Now there's a prize worth seeking--the kingdom of heaven! But how do we receive it? Did Christ say it goes to the poor in spirit? Yes, that is exactly what He said.
Morley's devotion focuses on this paradox again. His quest was to find the next step to becoming a truly great teacher in his church. As hard as he tried, though, he never felt that he measured up to being truly great. Something was missing, but he couldn't identify it. So he asked a close friend for suggestions. After pushing for brutal honesty, the friend touched on the secret of true success. It is the Holy Spirit that gives us the capacity for greatness. There is nothing that we can do by ourselves to be truly great. We need God working in us and through us before we can achieve anything great. But the greatness that we achieve isn't our own greatness. It is God's greatness.
When we become less in our own eyes, we are able get out of the way for God to do His mighty works through us. When we surrender to the work of the Holy Spirit in our lives, our surrender becomes God's victory. To those around us who still look on our accomplishments through worldly eyes, they see our success. In a community of faith that looks for eternal truth, our success is seen for what it truly is--it is God's success.
True excellence lies only in complete submission to God. May we be truly excellent. May we be truly submissive.
Dear Lord, I want to be excellent. I confess that in my weak, frail, human existence, I often associate excellence with my own weak, frail, human efforts. True excellence cannot come from such a weak existence. True excellence is eternal and can only come from the eternal. It can only come from you. Give me the wisdom and courage to step outside of my human nature, the vision to capture a glimpse of your eternity, and the blessing of being a part of your excellence through me today. Amen.
Grace and peace--