Monday, December 8, 2008

Life Is Messy

There are so many out there that have the view of Christians as perfect, got it all together people. Maybe to some degree, we have given the world that view. We sit upright in our pews looking all prim and proper in our best Sunday outfits. Trying as best we can to at least look like we have it all together. We have gotten pretty good at it. Smile; don't forget to smile when you shake hands. But do you really know what’s happening in that person’s life you are shaking hands with? Do you even want to know? I would safely say the answer is no for the majority of us. I will be truthful with you, unfortunately, the answer has been no for me. I am ashamed to admit it but it's true, I do not reach out and find out enough about my brothers and sisters in Christ. Some sit in front and back of me in the pews every Sunday morning and I don't really know much about them. I am very friendly and know many people but do I know more than surface things? For the majority of them, probably not. I know I could do much better and I believe that God requires more from me.

I believe that we, the people of God, have bought into a pack of lies in regard to what God expects of His "church". We have bought into the lie that once you accept Christ, things should be easy. Being a Christian is not the easy life, we don't convert and then sit back and relax. Yes, salvation is free and there are no works needed to gain it. But the life of Christ was a sacrificial life. That is the kind of life we are called to and it's not easy. Sacrifice isn't supposed to be easy, that’s why it’s called sacrifice. We are called to do the hard things which cause us to give up our "self" attitudes. We are to sacrifice "self" and give to others.

I must tell you as I sit here this morning and this truth rolls around in my head, my flesh seems to scream against it. The truth is, my flesh is selfish and wants only to do what pleases it. I don't want to give up my ways. I don't want to do for others when they don’t appreciate it. I don't want to forgive those that do things to hurt me. I don't want to give up my spare time or hard earned cash. I don’t want to help someone that doesn’t even like me or care that I’m doing it. I am, in my flesh, weak and selfish. I can not do these things. But God in me can. When I surrender and live through the spirit I can die to self and live sacrificially. It is only in God's power that I can.

Sometimes though I seem to hold onto my selfishness. I know that I should go to my prayer closet and surrender the selfish thoughts and feelings that so often invade my mind. Instead, I want to keep them for a while. Especially when my feelings have been hurt. I feel justified in keeping those thoughts alive in me. After all, I have been hurt. When I do this though, they seem to grow and crazy thoughts come. Thoughts that include actions to take. Satan has a field day with feeding our thoughts so they grow. He wants us to act upon them, but once we do, his condemnation begins. "See, look what you did, you’re not worthy enough to be a Christian. You should just give up this Christianity thing". Once again I am at the foot of the cross asking for mercy and forgiveness.

This is the true life of a Christian, each day, battling the thought life. Struggling to live in the spirit. Dieing to self, crucifying the flesh and picking up our cross each day. We all struggle but while we struggle we have a peace and hope to cling to. I don't know about you but my struggles with the internal battle are daily even hourly at times. Some days it easier than others to let go and let God. Other days, well, let’s just say I'm glad God is merciful. Thankfully, His mercy and forgiveness are abundant and always available to us. I don't know about you but I praise Him for that.

It is when I find myself in these times of struggle, that I most need revival in my soul. I know though, from the prophet Joel, that repentance must precede revival and this is the scripture that comes to me. I must rend my heart. It's all about the heart and that is where repentance must take place.

Joel 2:13 - So rend your heart, and not your garments; Return to the Lord your God, For He is gracious and merciful, Slow to anger, and of great kindness; And He relents from doing harm.


—Avis Ward said...

Sherri, I couldn't agree with you more about what has been taught and bought about what God expects from His church. Logic should have us know that if Jesus Christ Himself endured so much suffering for us (the lost) that we will not live on flowery beds of ease. What we know is no matter what we encounter as true Christians, He's fought and won our battles. Also on selfishness, daily we press toward the mark. This is an excellent message filled with transparency. It blesses others. Thank you!

mom2six said...

Beautifully written! My life lately has felt messy!! I hate the trap that says God is unfaithful because things are difficult or not going the way I believe they should be. I hate the thoughts that say I should give up because I fail so often. I love when the Spirit gently comes and washes my soul reminding me not to grow weary in well doing and to confess and He is faithful to forgive. Thank you for the encouagement from Joel - It has blessed me today!!