"One Bit At A Time"
41 I do not receive glory from people. 42 But I know that you do not have the love of God within you. 43 I have come in my Father's name, and you do not receive me. If another comes in his own name, you will receive him. 44 How can you believe, when you receive glory from one another and do not seek the glory that comes from the only God?
“Hello, my name is Keith Grant and I am a recovering co-dependent.” I often imagine myself standing in front of an audience sharing a brutally honest moment much in the same way someone who admits any number of life controlling issues would. This one had controlled me pretty much my whole life. As Christians, we often talk about bondage to sin. This seemed like a bondage too albeit one that most often flies under the radar. This was bondage in how others think about and see you. Always looking to please others or to get others to like you. In my quest to be well liked by others, I found myself not liking very much the person I was. I recently read an article by David Powlison called Think Globally, Act Locally. In it, he speaks about one of the most basic things we can do when counseling and ministering to others; take “one bit” of someone’s life and apply “one bit” of the Word to it. In essence, you can’t address all of a person’s problems at one time. Take one problem and choose one piece of scripture to address it. That’s what John 5:41-44 did for me. When I read the words of Jesus to the religious leaders, I realized that He was speaking to me. My whole life had been about trying to receive glory from others (v.41). Why? Verse 42 gives the answer. Because I did not have the love of God in me. Could it be this simple? Yes. Because I did not know and live with the love of God, I was trying to find it from others. That’s what co-dependents do. They don’t say the hard things for fear of others’ responses. They don’t rock the boat for fear of others’ disapproval. It’s always about looking good and being liked by others (v.44) more than it is about the glory that comes from God. Ultimately, it’s about me and always trying to look good. So how do you begin the change? You pray. I asked God to help me love Him and seek the glory that only comes from Him. I asked that He help me face the possibility of not being liked and accepted by everyone because I know I’m accepted by Him. I asked Him for His Son to live His life in me every moment of every day so that I can love others because I am already loved. As Paul Miller would say, I started from helplessness. It’s when we see God’s Word applied to our lives that we experience change. When we see this, it changes us. It reorients us and it gives us hope. This was the “one bit” I needed to hear. And this is just “one bit” of many in my life that needs to be addressed. It only takes “one bit” at a time though.