Acorns From Oakes

Seeing With Our Father's Eyes

THE FLASH

  I am a jogger. It’s true. Although I am not really sure that what I do can properly be termed “jogging.” I often refer to it as “slogging.” That’s a combination of the terms “slow” and “jogging.” One winter, my wife and I began “slogging” indoors at an ice hockey arena in order to escape the cold weather. There were several others from the community who had the same idea. Most of them were “seniors” (I refer to them with great respect, because I am dangerously close to being “senior” myself). Now, even though what I do is slogging, it was still somewhat faster than what most of the seniors did (they were smart enough to walk). But a couple of these new friends began to refer to me as “The Flash.” (I have to admit, I sort of liked the nickname.) They accused me of speeding even though that was not possible. My pace was merely somewhat quicker than a person walking. However, I was able to enjoy the illusion of speed compared to the walkers. Occasionally some of the high school runners would show up and give me a lesson in humility. As they would effortlessly blaze past me, I felt as though I was running in quicksand.

  Then I got to thinking about that illusion. I remembered what Paul told the Corinthian Christians: “For we are not bold to number or compare ourselves with certain of them that commend themselves: but they themselves, measuring themselves by themselves and comparing themselves with themselves, are without understanding.” (2 Corinthians 2:2) So much depends on our point of view, doesn’t it? If I have it in mind to see myself in a good light spiritually, I can certainly do so. All I have to do is find someone who has a few more obvious problems than I do. Maybe he is a new Christian or one who has had a lot of disadvantages. But what good have I done when I compare myself with a weaker Christian? None, whatsoever! I am only creating an illusion for my own enjoyment…a way of looking at things that allows me to become satisfied with where I am. Paul goes on in 2 Corinthians 10 to tell us that we should not glory in ourselves, but in the Lord. He also explains that it is not self-commendation that counts, but the commendation of the Lord (verses 17-18). Do you want an accurate look at where you are spiritually? Then focus on Jesus, not on others. Focusing on others will either falsely inflate you or needlessly discourage you. Focusing on Jesus will inspire you to do better and comfort you when you fail. Take it from “The Flash!” Get the real picture. Look ever to Jesus!

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8 thoughts on “THE FLASH

  1. I can relate Doug. I had my own “Flash” moment. When I first started racing dirt bikes there weren’t very many women. Because of the low numbers, they would run our heat with the children. I think they were 4 years old to 8. They were tiny. Amazingly I still felt good when I passed one of them. It was a nice ego booster. That is until I started looking back at the pictures. It’s pretty hilarious to have someone ask, “Were you racing that little boy?”

    I have been known to run in crowds where I felt somewhat superior. After all, who would hang out with people that made you feel inferior? There would be no payoff … and I would move on.

    In my “Christian” life I have rarely been around anyone that I felt “superior” to. I tend to compare myself in ways that allow me to feel less than. Does anyone else find comfort in that “less than” feeling? For me, there aren’t many expectations down there and it’s easier to feel “okay”. The problem with staying in that state of mind is that I never try to do much better. I constantly have to remember to see myself through His eyes. Psalm 139 is a good reminder that I was not created “less than” and that God does not ever see me that way. Training my eyes to see from His point of view is difficult, but He gives me plenty of chances in His word to see how He feels about me.

    Is it The Robe that says when they looked at Jesus they saw a reflection of who they were intended to be?

    • oakesclan on said:

      Paige,
      Do you have any idea how old it makes me feel to read about your racing of dirt bikes? Then again, when I think about it, age wasn’t really the deal for me. I think it would have been more a matter of “cowardice!”
      I can only imagine your chagrin when someone would ask if you were racing a little boy. That’s funny!
      As I read the rest of your comment, it really made me think. When I was a teenager, during the last ice age, I actually did feel superior to some of my peers in church. I think I looked at my spiritual interest at that early age as an indicator that I was spiritually advanced among my friends at church. I mean, I always was present for every service and every program at church. I filled out the Bible workbooks for our classes. I even read my Bible. I even attended the men’s business meetings when I was a seventh grader. As I look back on those days, I realize now, that even though I really did want to know God, I was also desperate for acceptance…acceptance from people who I thought were living out the right kind of priorities. If I was praised for my song-leading or for giving a “sermonette” I lapped up the attention like a puppy with a bowl of milk. As my “reputation” for being spiritually minded grew, I was able to hide my lack of discipline, my love of being free of restraints and my often losing struggle against sin. I was hungry for one arena in which I could feel, as you said, “okay.” For me, that was church…the well-meaning adults who tried to encourage me with their compliments, but who didn’t know, because I couldn’t let them know, what was going on inside me.
      I really like and was helped by what you said concerning Psalm 139. Thanks for sharing that. And thanks for having the kind of heart for God that grows and shows interest in His purposes and His people.

  2. Geniece Chidester on said:

    Okay, wow! Between Doug’s message and cemotosnack reply I am seeing things about myself that I never seen before. Comparing myself to “pillars” of the Church and seeing my own shortcomings has always been a comfort, I never really noticed that I was doing that until now. As cemotosnack put it that “less than” feeling has been comforting, at least as the “less than” I am not expected to step-up, I can feel good about myself for doing so well as a “less than”. I see how strong some people are and I think that it’s okay to not do what they do because I am not that strong, I reason that other people understand that. Here I am, going on 25 years of being a Christian and I am still thinking it’s okay to not be a “pillar” for others.

    It is time to look at myself through His eyes and own up to my weakness and to now strive to be more like Him. This has always intimidated me since I know I cannot be as good as He was and is but looking to His word I see that He will give me what it takes to do His will.

    Hebrews 13:20-21 (New International Version)
    20May the God of peace, who through the blood of the eternal covenant brought back from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great Shepherd of the sheep, 21equip you with everything good for doing His will, and may He work in us what is pleasing to Him, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.

    • oakesclan on said:

      Geniece,
      I love the honesty that comes through in your words and the insights you have shared here. This is one of the reasons I love being with sisters and brothers in the informal ways that give us a chance to speak without a script and share what’s really going on in our hearts and lives. I am helped by such honesty and insights. It was a good reminder that you offered…for us to rely on God’s strength to equip us for His will. We are not in this alone. Thank God!

  3. “Dangerously close to being a senior?” If you can get a senior drink at any fast food place, you’re a senior! Just think of the advantages and enjoy them before getting a break is more dangerous than a drink. Of course, all that “slogging” might break something anyway.

    • oakesclan on said:

      I can get a “senior” drink at any fast food place? You’re kidding me? Really? Are you talking about coffee? Or Miralax? George, I’ll lay back and let you lead the way into all the “senior” advantages you obviously are much more familiar with than I. Just pace yourself, old-timer. Don’t get too far from your lift chair.
      Take care, brother.

  4. The “Flash” sounds like something out of the comic books you always read Doug.
    We would play superman with the towel hanging from our back and run fast as we could to portray superman. The little children in our family looked upon that as really fun and they did it to.

    I do size myself up sometimes as pleasing to God and as not pleasing to God. I just told an older man in our neighborhood to “Shut Up” the other day. He was joking about something that ticked me off. He is always jabbering and thinks he knows everything. He has no teeth and when he laughs he looks like a little munchkin (evil one) from the Wizard of Oz. I really don’t like him very much.

    I just heard a lesson from a preacher Sunday morning that taught us how God looks on the inner person and not on the outer person. But there are some people that bug me. So how do I compare to other Christians who would not dare do what I did in judging him for one and telling him to be quiet for another? Or do other
    Christians have the same problems I have? But Doug says look Ever to Jesus.

    But I know Jesus gave people chances and would handle things different than me.
    He gives me plenty of chances and loves me regardless. I know that.

    I will never give up on myself but I know like Doug said that we should always focus on Jesus. Jesus will encourage and forgive our human ways and help us up when we fail.
    I know we need to look Ever to Jesus and not others. Others can encourage but they
    can also discourage us, and I can discourage myself. But I know Jesus loves everyone
    and if I act like that to people will they never get to know Jesus.

    • oakesclan on said:

      I have so many stories of my own that show how I failed to respond in a way that might open doors for the gospel and instead slammed them shut. It’s embarrassing and depressing, I know. So, I can identify with you, sister of mine.
      But there are other stories too…times in your life when God did good thru you. There are many of those stories. So…since we know He won’t give up on us, let’s not give out on Him. He may yet use us to bring Him honor and glory.

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