Saturday, May 15, 2010

The Crux

Unlike the vast, unparalleled majority of unnoticed sea creatures that have ever lived, my recently acquired Betta Fish, dubbed Jean-Jacques Rousseau (AKA Raisin) is unique in that he has a name. It makes me wonder at what the odds must be against a fish receiving a name. With over 31,500 species of fish filling the, over two thirds of our planet, comprised of water, I can't help but wonder if it ever seems a bit remarkable that this fish in particular now finds himself on a shelf in a third story apartment in Canada and not in a shallow rice paddy in Vietnam, from where his ancestry is traced. The interesting thing about Betta's is that they are bottom dwellers, or rather, they inhabit shallow waters and can survive in cramped conditions in which other fish cannot.

I finally got around to cleaning Rousseau's tank this afternoon. It was certainly in need of it, particularly the dangerously low water level, which made it very difficult for me to remove Rousseau from the tank without causing him a great deal of stress. There is no question that the move was for his own good. But how do you really communicate that to a fish? It descends into its filthy, shallow water like it was heaven... he is, after all, simply a fish. A creature of astonishing frailty, no understanding, and limited memory.

Later on this evening, Rousseau and I were listening to a John Piper sermon that reiterated that crucial question of whether we find our joy in God making much of us, or in God, through the life and death of his son, freeing us to be able to find our joy in glorifying him.

I don't suppose it's much good denying that I have been seriously struggling with that as of late. Life is so full of loud, beautiful, exciting things. It is so easy to view God as a means to making much of my life rather than the other way around. The crux is however, that's not just something I can do mentally. There are so many times like right now, when submission and delight for God seem as favourable as a fishnet. It's so subtle, but over time, the more I immerse myself in the love of Jake, the less I want to let God in.

This is the difference between me and Rousseau, for I can consciously understand that JESUS is BETTER; the GOSPEL is BETTER; and HOLINESS is BETTER, but I am not in the slightest any further ahead than he when it comes to perfect control over my desires. I can think of ways to get myself more into the word, more time in prayer, and more time journaling or blogging, but none of that IS the POWER to refine my desires. I see enslavement where I want to see freedom.

How precious are the words of Christ in John 15, that He is leaving us the Holy Spirit to accomplish whatever we ask! For this is the crux upon which everything rests! If my savior has NOT the power to transform the most foundational hungers in my being, so that everything in my being cries out YES to his glorification ahead of my own, than He saves nothing!

Unlike Rousseau, I probably need this cleansing far more frequently. And that being in the understanding that it will continue as long as I draw breath. But know this, oh my soul. Know these words of Christ: "If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish and it will be given to you. This is to my Father's glory that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples. (John 15:8-9)

The one who speaks these words is faithful and true. He is the savior of the bottom dwellers. He grants a deeper, holier hunger to the fixated and frustrated. Like Rousseau, today I have been rocked by routine transformation.



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