Graham Cooke: pgs.26-30
WHAT YOU ARE AND WHAT YOU AREN’T
Everything we do is both an act of worship and an act of
war. A good day’s work is an act of worship because it demonstrates
something about the Kingdom of God. It’s also an act
GOD LOVES YOU,
RIGHT NOW, JUST
AS YOU ARE.
of war because the enemy hates employment. Spending time
with God is a powerful act of worship, and a terrifying act of
war: our intimacy with the Lord intimidates the demonic. Every
word of praise, every word of thanksgiving, and every thought
of adoration is a salvo in the battle against evil.
The enemy hates thankful people and enjoys misery. He
loves grief, sadness, unhappiness, low self-esteem, and anything
that keeps a human from connecting with God. The spirit
of Christ is put into humans to ward those feelings off—God
wants us to know how He feels about us. In that knowledge He
then wants us to reach out and take the grave clothes from off
the people around us. Everything positive and good is a spirit
contribution that attacks death and decay, bringing light, hope
and warmth into someone’s heart.
My personality has never lent itself well to the stage. I’m
very much an introvert, so what you see in my preaching is
completely fueled by God’s anointing. I love the way God made
me. Andreas Hermann, a German friend of mine, once said that
“introverts have a very colorful inner life.” He was absolutely
correct. I do have a colorful inner life.
The downside of being introverted is that I get overwhelmed
by myself some days. Waves of thoughts about what I am not
crash over me, leaving me overwhelmed. Those thoughts are
easily overcome, however. I need only think of how God feels
about me—His love and adoration and kindness for me—and
those worried thoughts dissipate. I’m not fooled by myself. I
know what I’m like without Jesus, but I also know what my
potential in Him is.
“And He said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for My
strength is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore most gladly I will
rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest
upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in
needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ’s sake. For when I
am weak, then I am strong,” Paul wrote in 2 Corinthians 12:9-10.
Christians can look at God and thank Him for our deficiencies.
He covers all of those weaknesses.
It’s okay to come to God and say, “I don’t deserve to be
here. I’m only here by Your grace, Your goodness, Your mercy,
and Your overwhelming kindness.” I often tell the Lord that I
don’t know why He chose me, except that He must be looking
for someone slow and degenerate. I fit that bill! Every Christian
lives their life by the grace of God. Our deficiencies are more
than made up for by the Holy Spirit. God can and will make up
the shortfall in our life. God stands in our credibility gap and
smiles. He stands in our hypocrisy and gives us legitimacy. And
He does it gladly!
God calls each of us as a Jacob and makes us an Israel. This
is the transition that each of us will
work through all the days of our life.
In that space between Jacob and
Israel stands Jesus Himself, loving
us and offering us His credibility. This love is why Christians
should be the most grateful people on the face of the Earth.
We need to return to the right spiritual disciplines because
our prime goal must be to remain in the presence of God. We
need to believe in the power and ministry of the Holy Spirit
to sustain a devotional lifestyle. These disciplines—blessing,
prayer, meditation, peace, rest, worship, thanksgiving, and
praise—are God’s language of promise.
The Holy Spirit is committed to seeing you connect with
God no matter what state your life is in. His job is to help you
find and enjoy the grace of God. The Lord loved you when He
saw the worst you had ever been. In fact, what you are not
endears you to Him. God came and chose and loved you in the
midst of all your sin, hypocrisy, inadequacy, and inability. And
as He works in your life, your ability to experience that nonnegotiable
love is increasing. His love never changes, but the
way we receive it does. It is we that grow, not Him.
To our minds, it seems like God loves us more now than
He did before. This is untrue. What has changed is that we
believed His love, say, ten percent back then, and we believe it
twenty-three percent now. Next year, we might believe fortyfive
percent of His love. Eventually, one day, we’re going to
believe all of the love God has for us. At that moment, nothing
on Earth will be able to stop us from becoming the person God
has called us to be. Through the leading of the Holy Spirit, our
confidence and faith in the nature of God can reach the same
level and dimension of His love for us.