It’s been far too long since I posted one of these. Not that anyone reads blogs anymore in general. Maybe I should just type everything in facebook notes…meh, writing out my thoughts here saves paper, at least.
It’s amazing how quickly one can lose sight of their goals if no action is taken toward making them a reality. It’s so easy to get sidetracked, distrac-“SQUIRREL!!”-ted, and otherwise apathetic (Couldn’t think of another “track” word. Whatever.). These are common, natural dangers, but they are the worst progress-killers ever, and if we hope to honor the Lord and better ourselves and those around us, they have no place in our lives.
This past weekend at Acquire the Fire was AWESOME! Aside from a few…interesting situations which branched off from me driving one of the vans and not knowing the area around the center AT ALL, that is. God really rocked the house (as He always does), and His presence was so tangible, I could almost physically feel His embrace. It was such an enriching, freeing experience to just be able to sit back and worship without having to worry about hitting the right notes on a guitar or the right harmonies in the mic. Many experienced love, refreshment, deliverance, and healing. Some met Dad for the first time. In my case, it re-centered my focus and carried over into the church service on Sunday. I even picked up some great new songs to use in my own personal worship and in my leadership at church. I made a few commitments. I abandoned a few skeletons. I finally turned away from my vomit for one brief and shining moment.
Come Monday, however, I was already back into a few of the things I swore to leave behind. Call it addiction, call it unfaithfulness, call it what you will, but the reality is I need to just lay them down once and for all. They’re just not worth pursuing, but they are “comfortable” (until the guilt sets in). They are “familiar.” And I’m sick of it. I’m sick of crumbling at the first hint of temptation; I’m sick of allowing my life to be ruled by these petty gods. I’m wholly disgusted with the unholy desires of my heart. I’m totally dissatisfied with my poor self-image, paltry commitments, and pitiable disposition toward sin.
I need more. I CRAVE more. More of the Word. More ministry. More time spent worshiping. More of GOD. So many people are content to allow Him to clean up their mess like a butler, then to ignore Him like He doesn’t exist when things are going well. So many treat the Author and Sustainer of the UNIVERSE like some kind of cosmic Genie who is bound to granting us every selfish impulse of our hearts. I’m tired of being one of those people. I’m tired of grieving the Spirit. I’m tired of living for temporary things. I need an eternal mindset.
God, far be it from me that I should push You to the back burner!! I BEG You, don’t allow me to live another day consumed by such meaningless things! Don’t allow me to fall back into the normal “routine.” Take what’s left of my life. Use me how You see fit. I’m tired of living for my own pursuits. I’m tired of rehashing old and worn out posts like this one. You are SO much better than ANY of this. I pray the passion I have now would continue to flood my soul and banish my internal darkness. You removed all the filth from me once and for all on the cross, yet I treat Your sacrifice as a trifling thing. It’s despicable. Yet, You forgive. You love. You hold me close when I’m broken. You lift me up above my curse. Even when I spit in Your face, You just wipe it off and extend Your hand once again. Please forgive me. Please strengthen this feeble heart. Please refresh my life, remove me from the exalted place that belongs to You, and empower me to exhaust my life for Your cause.
To You, and You alone, be every OUNCE of glory.
This blog is kind of close to my heart, because it’s something I’ve been dealing with lately. I don’t know how many times I’ve lied to people since I’ve returned from Brasil. I don’t know how many times I’ve failed to keep up with my devotionals and Bible reading lately. I’m not sure how many times I’ve given into temptation the past few weeks (No, this isn’t a beat-myself-up session). I do know this though: (1) I’m NOT perfect, and (2) I’m not alone. Keep in mind this blog is as much for me as for anyone else reading it.
“Honesty is the best policy.” I know this phrase has been used so much, it has become quite cliché, but it still rings true. I know that we all have a pretty good idea of what honesty is, but for clarification purposes, according to dictionary.com, honesty is: (1) the quality or fact of being honest; uprightness and fairness. (2) truthfulness, sincerity, or frankness. (3) freedom from deceit or fraud. I think we’ve all got it.
Honesty is one of the most important things to have in our life. Not only did Christ command us to be honest in several places, but being honest also saves us huge amounts of trouble. I mean, think about it. How many times have lies we’ve told come back to bite us? Sure lying may get us out of immediate trouble, but we have to keep lying to cover up the first lie. It’s a never-ending maelstrom. Once we start lying, it’s hard to stop.
One of the chief reasons people lie is that they are concerned about the consequences they know will follow for telling the truth. It goes all the way back to the Garden of Eden. God asked if they ate from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, and immediately, they passed the buck. “The woman You gave me handed me the fruit.” See it? Let’s try again. “The serpent told me it was OK.” Again, Eve passed the buck. They didn’t want to fess up to their sin because they knew the consequences, yet in God’s Word, He tells us “if we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” Why wouldn’t we want that?
Fear cripples us. I wrote a blog that dealt with that topic a little while ago. Anyway, it keeps us from being honest not only with God, but with one another as well. “Well, if this person knew I struggled with porn, they’d look at me differently.” “Oh, I can’t let people know I have a problem with lust. They won’t feel comfortable around me anymore.” “Oh man, if I told them I have a drug problem, they’ll call me a hypocrite.” How many times have we felt this way or had thoughts like these? What will it take to be honest with each other?
We seem to get comfortable behind our little masks. We put on the “tough guy/big girl act,” or the “nothing’s wrong show.” How many times when people ask us how we’re doing and we say “I’m doing fine, and you?” “I’m good.””OK. Have a nice day.” I don’t know about you , but personally, I’m sick of hearing that. We think “Oh, no one wants to know about this,” or “No one cares that I’m struggling with that,” or “People already have enough problems without having to add mine to their list.” Those are nothing but bold-faced lies!! The first step to healing is confession, if not to another person, at least to God. The Bible also tells us to “Bear one another’s burdens,” and how are we supposed to do that if we don’t know what they are?
Now while these things are true, when a friend confesses something to you that they’ve been dealing with, that doesn’t give you the right to judge them, nor does it give you the right to think “I’ve never done anything that bad.” CONFESSION SHOULD NOT TURN INTO COMPARISON!! That means call sin sin, but don’t elevate yourself by grinding them into the dirt. Do your best to help them through it. Pray with them, offer to call them up and check on them, meet with them if possible, but don’t look down on them, call them a horrible sinner, and turn your back. Someone is the most vulnerable when they confess their deepest, darkest, ugliest junk to you. Keep that in mind. Also, before you even think about judging them, be sure to “get the log out of your own eye so you can see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s.”
I’m sick of all the lies. I’m sick of all the fake smiles. I long for honesty in the body of Christ. How are we supposed to stand effectively if we try to muddle along in our own strength, keeping all our problems to ourselves? I’m not saying that every Christian in the world should stand up in front of national television or their peers and scream every dirty little secret that they ever had (though I’m not sure it would hurt). I’m just saying I long for a generation who will stand up among their brothers and sisters in Christ, without fear of rejection, without pretense, and say, “This is what’s going on, and can you help me through it?” How often do we prefer to go to Alcoholics Anonymous than to confessing to a fellow believer or to God? Something’s wrong here. There’s nothing wrong with those groups, because they do a lot to help those people in need, but shouldn’t the body of Christ be the key “support group” for believers? We’re all in this together, after all, and “No temptation has seized us except that which is common to man.” We’re all members of one body, let’s start acting like it.
I know I promised journal entries from Brasil. They’re coming, don’t worry, I’m just not sure when. God bless and see ya later!!
Currently listening: Simply Nothing by Shawn McDonald