Monday, October 11, 2010

I’m a Smart Guy - Sometimes

In many ways humility evades me a little too frequently. I probably need to apologize to a ton of people, and of course God for that. So, let me start with this: I know I am actually a pretty stupid guy. And I am also fairly certain those last two words, "stupid guy" are over redundant.

Now, with that said, I am actually a pretty smart person (or at least I think so). I search for logic in everything. I read almost constantly to widen my knowledge in way too many areas. I also find myself thinking about where and how I can improve things in this world. And that brings me to the stupid me in need of MUCH humility. Whenever I start to think I know how to solve a problem, make something better for people, expand God's kingdom, I then need to remember that HONESTLY, I am stupid in these things.

See, my plans and my ways are not God's ways. This simple fact is one of the most difficult things for me. I really like to run with ideas and get things moving. This type of quick, almost reactive thinking does not seem to go well with God's desires for me. As I was reading through the gospel of Mark I saw a perfect example of this, and it was more than humbling on this point. In Mark 8:31-33 I am sure Jesus himself is talking straight to me as well as Peter.

In this Mark 8 text, Peter had just finished telling Jesus, "You are the Christ." Then, almost in the next breath Peter goes off on Jesus. See, Peter didn't see the logic or benefit in Jesus telling people his death was imminent. Peter had a better plan than Jesus, and Peter was more than happy to yell at Jesus about it. Something I would never do of course (with complete sarcasm). I kind of like this being in the Bible though; it certainly allows me to better relate with the struggles those who walked physically with Jesus had. But, the statement from Jesus makes me wish I couldn't relate to this at all. Recognizing what I assume is Peter's pride and ambition getting in the way of God's will, Jesus yells back at Peter, "Get behind me Satan!" Gut shot! Low blow! Jesus clears up for me any possible confusion stating specifically that Peter only has in mind "things of men," not things of God.

Like Peter, I have my own ideas about how best to expand God's kingdom on Earth. I have grand plans for how my local church can better reach out to my community. Sadly though, I tend to think on those things not in God's view, but in my own logic. My logic is limited; God is not limited to logic. My thoughts, as huge as I may think they them are tiny compared to God's plans. When I see the ferocious rebuke of Peter by Jesus I can see just how damaging this type of prideful thinking can be for me and for God's plans. That small, 3 verse portion of Marks gospel is enough to turn a smart guy stupid for sure.

This is not an easy thing for me to get past though. I don't think it was easy for Peter either. He still kept this up even to the point of cutting off someone's ear. I think, like Peter, my difficulty may be due to not praying as I should. I think it might also be that I do not acknowledge the presence of the Spirit within me. Peter didn't seem to get a handle on this until Pentecost. We simply don't see this side of Peter again after he receives the power of the Holy Spirit. That then is my project for myself. Start praying for God to keep me stupid (not hard I am sure), to slow me down when my mind starts flying, and to let the Spirit take control of me. I wonder what kind of person I will be if I allow God to do that for me. I hope it is someone no longer limited by logical conclusions with limited results, but a person who simply works with God to bring about a transformed world.