The End Of Me

I just recently finished reading Kyle Idleman's most recent book, The End of Me. As always, it was another great read and definitely eye opening. It was actually based on some sermon series that he had preached, so much of it was familiar to me, but it was still a great reminder.

In the first part of the book, Kyle starts out by using four of the beatitudes from the sermon on the mount to show the "upside down" ways of Jesus. If you read through them, you'll see just how counter cultural(and counterintuitive) they are. Check them out if you want-Matthew 5: 3-12.

“this stuff runs counter to the ways people think. It says up is down and trash is treasure. He begins to introduce us to the great kingdom paradox: at the end of me, I find real life in him.”

Lets see, Jesus says, "Blessed are the poor in spirit"...wait, what? The POOR? Didn't he mean the rich? No, the paradox, as Kyle says, is that brokenness is actually the way to WHOLENESS. God loves to make the broken beautiful. Broken people reveal the beauty and power of God.

"Blessed are those who mourn"...really? Aren't we're blessed when we're happy and everything is going right? When all our dreams come true? Nope, not according to Jesus. When life gets hard, when we go through suffering, when we come to the end of ourselves, that is when we are blessed. Because without suffering, Kyle says, we simply can't know the comfort of God. 

"God blesses those who are humble"....Interesting. Most of us would think it's the confident and strong who are the blessed ones, right? Well, Kyle says that it is pride that keeps us from realizing how desperately we need God.  Jesus says that greatness is humility. The way UP is DOWN.

"Blessed are the PURE in heart"...what does THAT even mean?  The ones who put up a front to the world, who seem to have it all together, who live based on outer appearances just to impress people? Nope, He means those who's insides match their outsides- those who are AUTHENTIC. Unlike our culture today, with an obsession with outer appearances, God only cares about the inside. He simply wants us to be who we are. He wants us to stop pretending, to stop living for the praise of others and just be our real, true selves.
"When we close the public theater, drop the curtains, shut off the lights, and play to an audience of one , not caring about the reviews of the critics or anyone else, that's when we come to the end of ourselves and experience God's blessing."
Kyle goes on in the second part of the book to talk about how when we get to the end of ourselves and realize we aren't strong enough, smart enough, or talented enough, we are actually in the best position to be used by God.

Yup, Jesus' ways are pretty much the opposite of how the world tells us to be.
Broken to be whole. 
Mourn to be happy. 
Humbled to be exalted. 
Authentic to be accepted. 
Empty to be filled. 
Helpless to be empowered. 
Disqualified to be chosen.
Weak to be strong.

It's not an easy pill to swallow. We are naturally selfish and prideful-it's human nature. We don't want to admit we need help. There are things we don't want to give up and surrender to God. We don't want to be broken, or go through hard times, or admit that we are helpless and weak. But Jesus wants us to EMPTY ourselves so that we can be filled by HIM and him alone.

I think this is a great read for the new year, when many of us will be making resolutions and setting goals, most of which will be about being "better" in some way, shape, or form. Nothing wrong with that, but so often we rely on ourselves and our own strength to accomplish these things. But it's actually when we come to the END of ourselves,  when we admit that we are helpless, that we are weak, that we are broken, that we have nothing to offer- that we can best be used by God and finally experience real, true, fulfilled life. And that basically sums up the whole book.
"When we get to the end of ourselves and finally realize we aren’t strong enough, smart enough, or talented enough, then ironically we have never been in a better position to be used by God in significant ways. Real life is found at the end of me."

I definitely recommend getting this book, along with his others, Not A Fan, and God's At War.


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