|Posted on May 11, 2019 at 5:35 PM|
For the LORD sees clearly what a man does, examining every path he takes. An evil man is held captive by his own sins; they are ropes that catch and hold him. He will die for lack of self-control; he will be lost because of his great foolishness. Proverbs 5:21-23
Looking back on the days I refer to as B.C. (Before Christ) as Job rightly put it in 17:7 “I am a shell of my former self.” But it didn’t happen overnight, it changed one pain staking day at a time. I wish I could tell you that when you receive Christ your life will be easier, but that would be a lie. Following Christ is not for the weak or faint of heart. It is a daily dying of the former in order to become more like him 2 Corinthians 3:18 If there is anything these past few days have shown it’s that He set the bar pretty high.
As I type this I have 4 minutes left on my tea that steeps for 15 minutes. As odd as it sounds, that’s something I never made B.C., hot tea. The time it took to steep and prep was not fast enough for me. If I so much thought I wanted a cup of tea, it’s because I wanted it now, I didn’t have the self-control to exercise patience. But now I don’t mind the wait for the reward. I don’t mind the wait for the benefits tea gives to me even after I have drank it. It’s not just a cup of tea, it is a warm comfort for my soul in a cup. It’s cleansing. It’s an antioxidant. It smells like a simpler time if that time had a scent.
Today is Saturday and when I lived in this world without the Spirit of Christ in me I couldn’t wait for my weekends I looked forward to and treasured them like pure gold. Now it is just another day in the life of me and one day less on the earth. A day unlike the days before that will have joy in it regardless if it falls on a certain day of the week. I do mostly the same thing every day so that one day isn’t that distinguishable from another. You would think I would be bored but it’s kind of exciting unknowing what the day will bring to me.
Each day begins with peace and in that peace I share devotional time with H. Afterwards I listen to some praise and worship while I pick up the room from the day before all so that I can make room to work out this meat puppet and practice gratitude. While this salt of the earth is still pliable I stretch while watching a teaching to slow down my heart rate and make use of those additional brain chemicals. Then listen and sing aloud to more praise and worship music while I get ready for the day ahead. I complete chores or run errands all the while going through the day with song. When the day is done usually before noon, for lunch I get to spend my afternoon here with you. Sharing about my favorite topic, His Word, after all I have spent the morning filling up on it. The afternoon allows time for reflection on what was taught. I sit in awe and wonder filled with His unfailing love. God is good, He is kind to me, gentle in all His power and faithfully beside me. If He can have the self-control not to destroy me surely there has to be some control in me.
I gave my son a ride earlier to grab his lunch and sat in the car with God while I waited. I noticed how He painted the clouds to look like fluffy cotton balls that had fallen across his blue canvas sky. I felt the cool breeze from the warmth of the sun shining brightly in my sunroof. I heard the trees clapping their leaves, thanking Him for the faithfulness of Spring showers the day before. They were nourished and it allowed them to flourish in the warmth of the sun. I heard the birds singing their song of praise. Just another day in the life of His creation another day to praise the LORD.
Without self-control I didn’t take notice of these things before. I looked at my watch, I looked at my phone. I looked everywhere but up. Who had time to look up? Who had time to listen? There was always something that needed to be done. No time to wait I need what I want now. This flesh it ached. I wanted relief I wanted to keep going for fear if I slowed down, what? The hurt would find me, the pain wouldn’t cease. “Be still and know that I am” were the first words He spoke to me. He said them because in my pain to survive, in my struggle to hold on to this miserable life I had no idea who He was. He was the one I cried to, turned to when I was at a complete loss and when I was found, when things were alright I returned to not needing Him I had life figured out. But this time was different. This time I really wanted to know. I didn’t want to go back to my former self. I wanted something new, something divine.
I wasn’t afraid to not know what that life was going to look like. I just knew it had to be better than this, this life that I created that I planned out that I worked for all my life. I was willing to let it all go if just to find out what He intended for me even if it wasn’t my own. It would be what He wanted for me and I had heard that was a good life. I would stop and wait for as long as it took to receive the kind of life I had only heard of that “rich and satisfying life” Jesus talked about in John 10:10.
I was rich in the worldly sense but I wasn’t satisfied. I had everything I wanted and yet I still wasn’t the least bit satisfied with it. I thought if I had more I would be happier but I didn’t know what that more was. The truth was I needed more self-control. I didn’t have to settle for the way I felt every morning. Entertain every thought that came into my head. God had given me control to tell this meat puppet what to feel and what to think it was just a matter of my choosing what it was I wanted to feel and what it was to think on.
I am human but I don’t wage war as humans do. I use God’s mighty weapons, not worldly weapons, to knock down the strongholds of my human reasoning and to destroy false arguments. I destroy every proud obstacle that keeps me from knowing God. I capture my rebellious thoughts and teach them to obey Christ in me. 2 Corinthians 10:3-5 Personal
Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure and lovely and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.Philippians 4:8
The average Word has about 1,200 pages and I heard the Harry Potter books have over 3,300 pages that I didn’t read but saw all the movies so I figured if I can sit through those movies I can certainly sift through each page of the book of “life” instructions if I was ever going to figure out what life was about. I needed the Word like I needed food and water to live and it would take a huge dose of self-control on my part to seek out this rich and satisfying life my brother died to give me.
I learned that peace wasn’t just sitting in silence. Love was more than something pleasing to me. If being filled with joy was the same as being happy than why can I be unhappy but not unjoyful? These were things I wanted to get to the bottom of. That patience was more than the wait. That being good, kind and gentle were things I was capable of doing without expecting anything in return but because He had been these things to me. That being faithful was more about my relationship with God not about religion. And that the power that all these fruits combined when I possess them apart from God they were absolutely useless to me. But with God, they became a compass through which I could build my life on. He gave me eyes to see these fruits in all their glory in the world and it was like looking through a kaleidoscope, full of color, full of life, each changing daily and what’s more is they were even more brilliant in the light.
Then God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. And God saw that the light was good. Then He separated the light from the darkness. Genesis 1:3-4
We now have this light shining in our hearts, but we ourselves are like fragile clay jars containing this great treasure.* (In Greek we now have this treasure in clay jars.) This makes it clear that our great power is from God, not from ourselves. 2 Corinthians 4:7
For once you were full of darkness, but now you have light from the Lord. So live as people of light! For this light within you produces only what is good and right and true. Ephesians 5:8-9