Wednesday, July 22, 2009
I feel a little disclaimer is in order before I begin writing this post. After much flip-flopping around since I first began my blog I have come to view it as a place for me to put down markers as I live out my days. Sometimes they are just the daily events that have special significance for me - things I don't want to fade with the passage of time. Sometimes they are things I'm grateful for, and the recording of them somehow makes them all the richer. Often times it is the things the Lord is teaching me through the Word, answers to prayer, books or the people He places in my life. I have made the mistake of thinking I will never forget such important things, but time has a way of stealing even the most precious of memories. So I write...
I don't write to admonish anyone else. I don't write because I think I have all the answers. I certainly don't write to portray myself as someone who has it all together. On the contrary, I have so very far to go, and I am simply trying to record the journey - to gather the precious stones along the way, build a little altar of sorts and remember - the way they did in the Old Testament. Then, as I walk that path again, I will have something to mark the way.
We walked early this morning, before the heat of the day settled in. As I made my way down our little country road I began to pray. All goes well until I come to the part where I confess my sins. Then the guilt and despair set in - guilt over having to confess the same things over and over on a daily basis - those "besetting sins" - and despair over the fact that I seem never to get it right.
As I named them, I realized that they could all easily be put under one heading: SELF. The root of all of them is my own selfishness - my unwillingness to fully surrender, my need to have some degree of control, my seeking after the approval of others. They are not "terrible" sins. In fact, no one else would even guess that they are there. But they are sins nonetheless, and there really is no degree of sin in the Father's eyes.
I thought about how I often struggle with knowing what God would have me do in a certain situation because I no sooner sense Him putting something on my heart than I begin to debate with Him about it. I stepped outside of myself at that moment and looked at who I am and who He is and wondered how I could have such audacity. But there it is...that "self" pushing its way in at all costs.
On the surface I am a very compliant person, wanting to please everyone and avoid conflict at all costs. But underneath that placid surface runs a current of rebellion and selfishness that ripples the surface with those "besetting sins".
The reading in my devotional book this morning was about sanctification:
"There is always a battle royal before sanctification, always something that tugs with resentment against the demands of Jesus Christ. Immediately the Spirit of God begins to show us what sanctification means, the struggle begins. 'If any man come to Me and hate not...his own life, he cannot be My disciple.'...
Am I willing to reduce myself simply to 'me,' determinedly to strip myself of all my friends think of me, of all I think of myself, and to hand that simple naked self over to God? Immediately I am, He will sanctify me wholly, and my life will be free from earnestness in connection with everything but God.
When I pray -'Lord, show me what sanctification means for me,' He will show me. It means being made one with Jesus. Sanctification is not something Jesus Christ puts into me: it is Himself in me(I Cor. 1:30)"
Oswald Chambers - "My Utmost For His Highest"
I never cease to be amazed at the way the Lord reinforces the truths He wants to write on my heart. Today it was a call to die to self. It is Paul writing in Romans 12:1,2:
"And so, dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all He has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice - the kind He will find acceptable...Don't copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God's will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect."
His will is good, pleasing and perfect, and there I stand with arms crossed insisting, however subtly, on my own way. Why would I be willing to give up His very best just so that I can do what I want to do? Having it my way brings very little satisfaction when all is said and done. It leaves me feeling rather empty. It is time to come with open hands to Him and surrender those things which are not His best for me so that He can fill them with what is.
picture:flickr - Aditi Kidambi