Get down and dirty

Down and dirty aren’t usually things people like to be. As humans, we tend to want to place ourselves on high ground. That didn’t turn out to well for the inhabitants of Babel. Most of us appreciate cleanliness. After all, we’ve been told it’s next to godliness. But what if I told you that our aim should be the opposite of up and clean? What if you’re more useful down and dirty?

When you bow down before the Lord and admit your dependence on him, he will lift you up and give you honor.

James 4:10 (NLT)

In this verse, the act of bowing down is not meant to be when we feel like it. The original text indicates that bowing down before the Lord is a conclusive decision. It is not a daily choice, but an eternal one.

Like the roots of a tree, we must first go downward where we will find our sustenance before we can be brought up. No one sees the roots or the struggles they encounter as they wend their way through hard soil, yet we all enjoy the fruits of the tree that has a strong foundation.

Our foundation must begin where no one else can see it. Our roots gain more strength the deeper they go. The deeper the roots, the higher the heights a tree can reach. Trouble only comes when a tree grows up faster than it grows down.

When we try to exalt ourselves and show everyone the glory of our foliage before the time is right, we run the risk of toppling over at the slightest breeze because our roots are not strong or deep enough to support the weight of our own ideas about ourselves.

But when we dig deep, even if the struggle is unseen from the surface, we put ourselves in a position for God to use us and bring us honour. The deeper we root ourselves in Him—the more we can get down and humble ourselves all the while lifting Him up, the greater our potential for reward.

Leaves are not so nearly as important as roots. For without roots, nothing can grow at all. So let’s not be afraid to get down and dirty. God can work with dirt.

Daily Bible reading: Ezekiel 27-28, James 4

Whiner

Let’s face it, at some point we will all go through a time in our lives when we’re disappointed. When life doesn’t live up to what it was supposed to be. A time when we feel let down, left out, or left behind. Many would have you believe that you can’t go to God with these feelings. That God won’t listen to your complaints. Well, guess what? He will.

God doesn’t only want to be your God in the good times. He wants to be your God all the time. And that includes the crappy times.

Read through Job 10. The man has gone from praising God for all his blessings and wealth to pretty much collapsing in the floor in a tantrum. He’s lowered himself to whining to God about his situation. But here’s the thing—he’s still talking to God. Though he feels like God has completely abandoned him, he’s still talking to God and hasn’t turned from God.

It’s okay to feel down. We all do sometimes. And it’s even okay—more than okay—to let God know about it. He already knows how you feel, after all, and is probably overjoyed when we come to Him in our low times. It means that He still means something to us. It means that we still have a measure of faith that He can do something about our situation.

Not only did Job not turn from God, he still listened to the wisdom of his friends. Many of us have a tendency to push away the people who are most able to help us. The last thing you want to hear when you’re in a bad situation is someone who isn’t in that same situation. But, Job still allowed his friends to try to talk some sense into him. They corrected him. They encouraged him. And, amazingly enough, he still listened. How do I know this? It’s all written down. The entire book is a conversation between Job and his buddies.

The moral of the story is this: it’s okay to be a whiner to God sometimes. He can handle it. But it’s not okay to be a whiner all the time. As difficult as it may be, you still have to allow yourself to be encouraged and corrected.

Daily Bible reading: Job 10-12, Acts 8:1-25