In which it’s impossible – and not

by Craig on May 18, 2011

Linking with Ann Voskamp today for…

And she has me considering resurrection.

And it was easy, week number one – as easy is a poem can be – taking into account that poems. hate. me.

I just considered the story of the Phoenix – rising from difficulty, trial, and ashes – and wrote this poem.

I heart that poem.

Then the second week was easy because Laska the Love kitty lived out for me a little resurrection tale in real life. That was hard, but it made the writing on the subject easy. (Laska’s “resurrecton” story is here)

But this week.

I find…

I got nothin’.

source

Then Monday, Caroline wrote a post on  Under God’s Mighty Hand and it made my head spinny.

She studied Philippians 2:1-4.

Verse 4 was a problem.

Some translations have it that we are to think less of ourselves and more of other people.

And we look at it, and we think, “That’s good, that’s possible.”

But when you dig into the Greek, as Caroline’s post compelled me to do – it actually says, not to think less of ourselves and more of others, but simply, not to think of ourselves, and only. Think. Of. Others.

Well that’s different!

And that’s impossible!

I can see why so many translations have tried to wriggle around this. The demands of love, the demands of God, the demands of righteousness, are impossible.

That’s not fair!

But then, it’s only impossible…

without resurrection.

Resurrection, after this body dies, into a new body, that’s on the way. And when that happens, living out the impossible demands of love will be chocolate cake with chocolate frosting and chocolate chips baked in.

But for now, a constant, and repeated death and resurrection of this life, to a new life, by the power of our Lord, through the Spirit – death and resurrection are needed.

And joy! I have my post.

New direction…

My mom.

My mom hearted this guy.

I mean she hearted him to the point of swoon, fainting, throwing unmentionables on stage…

She wasn’t alone.

and then there’s this song…

and for some reason WordPress is not letting me imbed the video

and I think, “Impossible…

but not.”

You just have to click here to hear the song. Sorry.

I HEART THIS SONG!!!

I found long ago that if you take practically any love song and direct it toward God it becomes a song of worship.

So Elvis, to my mom, he’d be all quivering lips, and gyrating pelvises – and swoonability. To me, he’s singing inspiration.

The problem is, the demands of Love are impossible.

I keep messing them up.

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And then the effort has to be resurrected. So I, again, die to myself, and live for others – a resurrected effort, a resurrected me.

But then the effort dies – and a new resurrection of it needs to take place.

The impossible is made possible – for a while. But in this broken world this is the best we can do…

a constant and repeated cycle of death to sin, resurrection of new efforts…

and then…

inevitable death of those new efforts, and resurrection of sin…

and then…

death of sin and resurrection of the new efforts..

rinse and repeat.

One day – a final death – and a final resurrection – and perfection. For now we have this:

An impossible quest for perfection – but Grace for the quest.

In a broken universe…

I’ll take this, please and thank you very much.

Do I think God is surprised that I can’t be perfect now?

No, he knows it’s impossible – so he made a way.

God is nice.
God is Love.
God is Grace.

It’s impossible to be perfect, but we are perfect even in our imperfection – that’s a nifty piece of magic.

Is it impossible?

Yes…

and not yes…

I heart God.

 

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{ 24 comments… read them below or add one }

Dawn May 18, 2011 at 9:38 am

Dear Craig,

I never heard “God is nice”. I think this is THE difference between the story of your step-dad and your journey with your heavenly Father. Your step-dad asked the impossible just like God asks the impossible, but each handled your inabilities so differently. You are the same person. God made you a princely child of the King. Your step-dad stole your childhood shaking the foundation upon which you have to build the rest of your life.

This is true to varying degrees for all of us. What/who we choose to believe has everything to do with who we are/become. This Walk with Him Wednesday I choose to believe God is nice so I know I am His and that makes me “without blemish and free from accusation” Col. 1:22. Thanks for the reminder.

In His perfection,
Dawn

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Craig May 18, 2011 at 12:14 pm

really? You never heard “God is nice”. I say it all the time – I guess I just haven’t written it. And thank you for what you said about the same recognition, but different way of handling, my inabilities – the difference between the earthly, and the heavenly. I get it. Thank you. I read so many blogs of moms who are giving it such a good try – to lay a solid and loving foundation – I heart that. Foundations are important. And here’s another one you might not have heard, “God likes you”! You are perfect in his eyes – and God bless you – and thank you as always.

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Christina May 18, 2011 at 10:27 am

“perfect in our imperfection” love it! So hard to remember when I get stuck trying to do it my own way. Thanks for this great post!

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Craig May 18, 2011 at 12:17 pm

this perfection in our imperfection – I heart it too – it’s confused me at times, but the fact that our Father looks at us,and sees perfection through all of our flaws – I still find that a little bit astounding. Thank you Christina, and God bless and keep you this day.

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Grace Walker May 18, 2011 at 10:41 am

Yes, yes and yes!

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Craig May 18, 2011 at 12:34 pm

Thank you, thank you, and thank you! Oh, and God bless and keep you.

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Lynda May 18, 2011 at 10:43 am

My thoughts exactly, but put so much more beautifully to words. Blessings Craig!

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Craig May 18, 2011 at 12:35 pm

Lynda,it’s kind of nice to know that we think alike. Thank you for your kind words – and they are always nothing but kind – I heart that! So thank you, and blessings to you too!

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Kris May 18, 2011 at 11:49 am

“An impossible quest for perfection – but Grace for the quest.”
Yes. We have this. Praying you are blessed as you bless others with the message of Christ, of grace, of salvation… this post was a gift to me this day. Bless you, brother.

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Craig May 21, 2011 at 8:21 am

Kris, my spam catcher absolutely hearts you like nobody’s business. I had to rescue you again :-) sooner or later it will learn how much I truly value your comments – I heart your comments. I heart them way more than the spam catcher!! I will be victorious over it! :-)

Thank you for this Kris, and thank you for praying, I’m still getting used to people praying for me. Before this year named “connect” I never really gave people the opportunity to do so. I’m still learning about connecting. And one of the nicest things is when people like you pray for me. So thank you, THANK YOU, always alleluia, and bless you too, sister.

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tinuviel May 18, 2011 at 12:02 pm

Craig,

Your words remind me of two mentors’ sayings:
*Impossible but Himpossible
*The Christian life isn’t difficult; it’s impossible! (By which the prof meant that the only way we can live like Christ is His Spirit working that out in us.)

God bless you and yours today.

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Craig May 18, 2011 at 12:38 pm

“impossible but Himpossible” – I heart that!! Thank you, I really and truly heart this part of blogging – the part where I get to say what I want to say and then we get to chat about it. I learned so much from my comments – thank you for leaving one – and God bless you and each and every one of yours today!

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Cora May 18, 2011 at 1:07 pm

I don’t think I ever heard that God is “nice” either! At least my HEART never heard it before. I remember as a teenager memorizing Romans 4,5,6,7, and 8 for a contest. I went to Bible School, one whose theme was “the crucified life.” I heard it over and over and over. . . . but never “hearted” it, I guess. How could I when I’ve been so busy protecting my comfort zones? I’ve been one of those withe the “only” in the wrong place. If the scale balanced ok with “others” on the heavier side and “me” on the lighter side, I thought it was ok. But that’s not a “dead” me, is it?
Impossible!!!! WOW! Suddenly grace looks beyond beautiful, and God looks nicer than I ever thought was possible! (And I couldn’t help but laugh at that sign. I just really “hearted” that one! Most days, that belongs on MY blog!)

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Craig May 18, 2011 at 1:18 pm

seriously, I say God is nice all the time – because he is. I went through that phase like a lot of us go through when I didn’t look upon God is a person – but as some big – I don’t know – thing – holy and all that – but not a person. But he is a person, and he is nice, bless his heart.

And Cora, I’ve been right there with you on that scale balancing the same way. The demands of the law – even the law of love – are impossible… But not.( by the way – I really hearted that sign too!) God bless you and keep you – and thank you.

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Jackie Sill May 18, 2011 at 2:13 pm

Great post. I don’t heart the guy, but I do heart the Guy. And I love turning songs toward him. He is love, so it always works. :)

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Craig May 18, 2011 at 2:51 pm

thank you Jackie. First of all I heart your doing heart about the guy and the Guy– exquisite. And I’m 100% with you, God is love, our relationship with him is based on love, so I wouldn’t love songs work :-) thank you again Jackie – and God bless and keep you and all of yours.

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Patti May 18, 2011 at 4:43 pm

This reminds me of the words of Paul, “In Christ Jesus, I die daily.” It is a daily choice to die to self. Did I say daily? More like moment to moment. But it is only in the dying to self, that his resurrection power starts to work through us. More of him and less of me!

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Craig May 18, 2011 at 5:22 pm

Patti, me too! Those words were running through my mind as I was writing. I guess it’s not a bad thing to have Scripture running around in your head as you’re writing something:-)

And a double Amen to two things you wrote here that I always say – favorites of mine – “moment by moment” and “more of him and less of me”. Great minds…

Thank you Patti, and God bless and keep you and each and every one of yours today!

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Caroline May 18, 2011 at 5:22 pm

Craig – I love how you took it to grace. That we are accepted, welcomed, and loved AT ALL is grace! And, you’re so right that this walk is impossible. That’s why we need Him. If it was possible, we wouldn’t need to lean on Him as much or at all.

(And thank you for linking to my site. You are incredibly kind for doing so! And even more kind for helping out with the translations!! Thank you!)

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Craig May 18, 2011 at 5:26 pm

first, Caroline, I had to link to your site, your post inspired this one. so first things first – thank you for that. The story in the parable, and my story, and your story, it all means nothing without grace – but everything with Grace. So again, thank you Caroline – and God bless and keep you and all of yours.

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Debbie May 19, 2011 at 1:30 am

This means so much to me . . the trying and the dying to self and the resurrection and doing it all again and again. :) And that being okay with Him, that we are perfectly imperfect. God IS nice. :) It all gives me so much hope tonight, that I can keep doing this as impossible as it seems. And I loved the Himpossible too! :)
God bless you and your writing that touches us all!

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Craig May 19, 2011 at 12:29 pm

Amen – that himpossible thing was good. It’s that whole quest thing. My life, our lives,need to be aimed and moving toward the good – but God does not expect perfection – he knows how we are – he wants our heart and our best efforts. God IS nice! God bless you Deb

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A. May 19, 2011 at 9:06 pm

This perfection thing…it is one of those that I just have to leave alone-it boggles my mind. I wonder what that statement about being perfect meant in that time-the time in which it was written? What i hearted about this post was how you found good in Elvis’ song! (And I am not an Elvis fan or anything.)

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Craig May 20, 2011 at 2:16 pm

A. I really don’t think you have to leave this one alone. You don’t even have to let it boggle your mind. It just is what it is – imperfect as I am – as imperfect as we all are – he sees us as perfect. It’s a mystery – I say just enjoy the fact.

And boy how my mom hearted Elvis – and that song – perfect (but I did a little research – did you know that the song was originally written by a Mexican guy – then translated to English and stolen by Perry Como and later by Elvis. The poor guy got royalties for a little while – but then the court made him give it all back – sad) :(

God bless you A.

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