Monday, March 14, 2011

Obadiah: Who Can Bring Me Down?

Perfection Comes from Failures

Edom was enjoying the height of pride, until one day he mused: "Who has the power to bring me down to the ground?"

Success has the tendency to deceive. It's better to face failures upon failures if it makes you meek and wise. Perfection comes from failures. As you fail and learn you become perfect in Christ. Perfection is not how the world views it, as Edom had once viewed it. Perfection is not an achievement (you can never make it happen); it's an endowment of grace that ever-increases in glory. That's genuine perfection. 

Remember, grace is NEVER a license to excuse sin--or even a vehicle to sin less. Grace is power to kick out sin and wickedness from our lives daily [Titus 2.11-12]. The wicked uses grace for a license to sin [Jude verse 4].

Success can easily blur our eyes and make us short-sighted about our life walk. We see only the success at hand, not the subtle attacks of the enemy in the vainglory of success. We are most vulnerable when we celebrate our triumphs, like how Edom was amazed at his seeming infallibility, like how Nebuchadnezzar astounded himself with his Babylon glory, like how Herod marveled at his supposed deity, and like how Peter safeguarded the "success" of the Lord by going against Jesus' death on the cross.

Success can make us covetously cling to it with idolatrous worship. Thus, God would rather have us poor in spirit with our "failures." He is close to the broken-hearted. It is better to be in the house of mourning than in a festive one [Ecc.7]. Victory is good, but what victory God wants is not a victory the world celebrates. When Jesus triumphed on the cross, only heaven was delighted. The world, even now, just gives it a lip-service notice on Holy Week, and even calls it degradingly with a pagan term--"Easter."

Soaring high like eagles because of self-effort success, and keeping them secure in your "nest among the stars" [Obad.1.4] is reason enough for God to "bring you down." A lot of people unknowingly do this in their celebration of ministry successes and achievements. I've seen how they over congratulate themselves and how they tend to build monuments and put crowns on their own heads.

The real danger is that, today, God does things more in the spirit than he does things in the natural. In Obadia's day, the warning was a disaster in the natural. Today, it's a spiritual disaster, something you'd never notice is already taking place right under your nose if you're insensitive in the spirit. And many today do not have spiritual discernment, and even mock this spiritual gift.