The “Rot is Already in the Wood”


“Until now you have asked nothing in My name.  Ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be full.”  John 16:24Image

“Until now…”  I found out something interesting about that statement.  Not that Google has all the answers but I wanted to see what would come up if I did an internet search on “until now.”  I was led to the Free Dictionary by Farlex and found this entry- “until now – used in negative statement to describe a situation that has existed up to this point or up to the present time; ‘So far he hasn’t called’; ‘the sun isn’t up yet’.”  And Jesus, You are reiterating what You’ve just tried to make clear in the last two sentences.  That’s how important it is that we understand this whole idea, no, this whole way of asking.

We are no different then the disciples.  There is a point in every one of our lives when we could say “until now…”  Some of us are still stuck in the “until now…”  There’s a point where we read and hear Your Word and it comes in as words.  And we are trying to put it all together.  And we try to piece it together like a puzzle according to the world around us.  And that’s really hard to do because Your pieces just don’t match the world’s standards.  They don’t match the way the world reacts.  They don’t match the values of the world.  They don’t match the expectations of the world.

This is usually our first response.  Ask questions and then filter them through our ideas and belief system.  We evaluate if Your ideas are right or wrong.  We evaluate if Your ideas are better or worse than our own.  That’s why the disciples were arguing over who would sit in the seat of honor in the kingdom.  They were evaluating what was in this for them.  They were missing the whole point.  Because, really, the whole point is just totally foreign to us.

It’s so foreign that many disciples said, “This is a hard saying; who can hear it?”  God’s Word translation puts it this way, “What he says is hard to accept.  Who wants to listen to him anymore?”  They were actually complaining, murmuring about what You said.  And ever since the Old Testament, murmuring against God never goes well for anyone.  Murmuring against God is always a precursor to destruction.  So what was Your response?

“Does this offend you?”  Imagine, the God of the universe asking if what He just said had offended me?  If I realized who was speaking to me that would be the most embarassing and shameful moment of my life.  But if I didn’t realize, well, it would just continue to offend.  “Does this cause a problem for you, am I tripping you up?”

“Well, yeah!  I mean, here my whole world makes sense (well, not really!), but at least it’s what I know and what I’m familiar with and then You throw everything for a loop and it’s so foreign, so hard, so difficult to even comprehend being able to do it because it’s not natural, and You expect me to want to do that when every part of the natural me says, ‘No way!  You have rights!  Uphold them.  Your way is good enough.  Everybody else is doing it.'”  

We say a lot of things we don’t really mean.  We ask questions without really wanting to understand.  “I will follow you wherever you go.”  When I found out I may be homeless and sleeping on the ground, do I still follow?  Do I really understand what it means to follow you?  “Let me go and bury my father first.”  What, or rather, who, should come first?  Are you and my father on equal status terms so I can serve the one and then hop over to the other?  It all boils down to this.  We have not because we ask not and when we ask we ask “amiss.”

“Amiss” is from the Greek word “kakos.”  It’s a strong word.  According to HELPS Word Studies it means “inwardly foul, rotten (poisoned)”.  It goes on to say, “inner malice flowing out of a morally-rotten character (= the ‘rot is already in the wood’).”  And who were You saying this to, Lord?  You were saying this to Your disciples and to all who would listen.  This is from James and he was speaking to believers!  Because it’s so easy to fall back to our old ways.

We want to ask superficially.  We really despise change because it hurts to admit I’m wrong.  Well, until I realize there is something so much better than being right.  When I start to realize Who You really Are.  When I start to capitalize every “Y” that is in You.  When I start to see You as the One Who needs to be first in my life.  When I start to see that being homeless with You is better than having everything.  When I start to realize that YOU ARE GOD and YOU KNOW BEST.  When I stop asking questions and start seeking YOU.  When I stop asking questions to put them into my perspective and I start letting YOU change my perspective and give me YOURS.  When YOU BECOME EVERYTHING and I become nothing and it’s o.k., then I’m ready for YOU to make something of me in YOU.  

“Up to this point, unfortunately, you have not been living in Me.  You haven’t even known Me.  You don’t understand My Character.  You don’t understand Who I Am and what I am capable of.  You aren’t seeking Me yet.  You haven’t craved Me.  You don’t need Me.  Until that point, that point that you understand, and seek, and crave, and need Me as though your life depended on it (which it does), you won’t be able to get hold of Me, you won’t experience Me.  And without Me, there is no true joy, because I am Joy.  I am your Delight.  And I am just waiting to cram you so full of Me and all that is inherent in Me.  But you don’t even want it yet.  You want other stuff more. “

Well, how sad is that?  You stand at the door and knock.  Just like Joseph knocked on the door of the inn and there was no room to birth the Christ child.  You knock and say, “I want to come dwell in you.  I want to share all of Me with you.  I want to change your life and make if full of glory, grace, truth, and love like you have never known until you know Me.  If You let Me in to every part of your life, every part of your being, into every thing that you own or do, I’ll let you into every part of Me.  What could you ever lose in comparison?  I mean, if you really knew Who I Was and what belongs to Me.”

“Lord, teach me how to ask, in Jesus’ name.”  No, don’t do that.  You never intended me to tag on “in Jesus’ name.”  You want me to ask believing in every one of Your words and in every one of Your promises and in every action of Yours that You ever shared.  You want me to ask, trusting in Who You have shown Yourself to be.  You want me to call out to You in utter dependence because I know that You are the air I breathe.  I need You to change my thinking and make it like Yours.  Mine is amiss, it’s all wrong.  I need You to change my attitudes.  Without You, the reasons I do things, even the good, is really all bad.  I need You to not just change my heart, but give me a new heart, because mine is wicked without Your intervention.  I need You to take all my possessions, all of me, and make them for Your glory because it’s not about mine.  I have no glory outside of You.  I am nothing outside of You.  My life is meaningless unless it is Yours.  

I want to always delight in You.  I want to always crave You.  And I will require You to be You and to make Your promises true in my life.  I will depend on it.  And I guess it’s not that I require it of You, but that I require it for my own ability to live.  I can’t live without You.  I can’t live without You walking with me, indwelling in me, bringing Your Word to pass in me, without You being God in me.  I will live every moment in expectation because I need You that much.  I’m desperate, I’m needy, and it’s all for You.  You are my Everything.  Let my life, and not just my words, demonstrate that by all the power, love, and grace that is You.  That You have chosen to dwell in me is beyond imagination but I could not live without You.  May I always be filled to overflowing with You because there’s nothing I desire more.






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