Wednesday, September 25

Confessions: I'm enticed by the law

Driving home last night following a lecture at a rather liberal institution I discovered, or rather God revealed, that a part of me still desires to live by the law, and is actually enticed by works. Growing up in the Church I know living under and following the law is impossible and leads to death. I know Christ has covered us with grace and given us life. This does not imply there is no law but that through the grace of Christ and the empowerment of the Spirit we are now able to fulfill the law of Christ. We are empowered to manifest the fruits of the Spirit, to love God and love our neighbor.

I know all of this. Nevertheless,  I find that as I read complex books on theology, watch scholarly debates between various views online, and sit in lectures at various places, I feel drawn into the cerebral, drawn into the form, into the idea that knowing is enough. The flesh within is wrestling against the Spirit. I know (to a degree) how my mind works. I am logical in my though process, asking the question of where each thought/belief leads to and the out workings along the way, deciding if I agree with the end result/conclusions and working out any kinks I find along the way. I unconsciously develop a strange loyalty to what I know to be true. However, my desire is to know Christ, not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. This does not negate the mind, but rather I must remember that my mind is not the filter, rather the Holy Spirit of Christ living inside of me is the filter.

Driving home I found myself repenting. Repenting for the part of my flesh that desires the 'form of Godliness' knowing the form is without power. Repenting for desiring the law, works, and natural understanding over the freedom offered through Christ. My prayer is once again that I would intimately know(with a knowing that goes further than mental understanding and ascent) Christ, the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death, so that I may attain to the resurrection from the dead (phil. 3:10). My prayer is that Jesus would not simply be in my heart (from a western understanding) but through His grace I would submit my life to Him and allow the very life of Christ to be made manifest through my life, so that it is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. Christ guiding my mind, my thoughts, my emotions, and the out working of those thoughts/emotions into action, no longer enticed by the law but led by the very Spirit of God. 

Friday, September 6

Confessions (Whatever is not of Faith is sin)

Confessions 9/6/2013

The other day I asked some friends for prayer regarding our housing situation. WE BOUGHT A HOUSE IN THE COUNTRY! But the 60-day closing has turned into 90+ due to a back-log of applications at the main office… blah blah blah. In my request for prayer, I stated I was not worried just in need of wisdom. Later that day however, God revealed my heart- worry and fear were very present. I was not feeling sick-to-my-stomach-what-is-going-to-happen to us fear, oh no, I am far to refined for that, it was more of the logical reasoning type of fear. The reality hit me that we have to sign a document terminating our rental lease before we actually legally have the house and if anything fell through we would be without  a place to live (temporarily). Anyone who has bought a home before has realized this and possibility felt the “uneasiness” as well… at least they seem to on HGTV reality shows.  Nevertheless, God, in His great love for me, used even this realization of fear to bring change to my heart. God reminded me of Proverbs 3:5-7. This passage is somewhat hard for me to forget considering, not to long ago, our church spent almost a year on this passage alone.

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths”

I began to wonder if the last line was contingent on the prior encouragements. Meaning, if instead of trusting in the Lord I choose fear and lean on my own understanding and fail to acknowledge Him and His ways in a given situation, would that prohibit God from making my path straight? I realized, yet again, how my fear keeps me from understanding God, trusting God, knowing God, and seeing His direction in my life. This Proverb is closely connected to Paul’s words in 2 Cor. 10: 3-5 in my mind.  Paul tells us to destroy every argument and lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ. The reality is that my thoughts were not in obedience to Christ but were focused on the ‘what-if’s’ of the now. In doing so, I was raising up some very false opinions of God. As I prayed I asked God to show me what my “arguments” and “lofty opinions” were in this situation and God in His grace revealed them. The list was humbling. My fear of displacement revealed that on some levels I do not believe in Gods care for me, in His faithfulness, His goodness.

My old man is still alive and well and popping up to say hello during the routine experiences of life!

 However, this time, instead of chalking it up to the normal “home-buying-fears-everyone-has” God called me toward repentance. He reminded me that staying in fear is like raising up a barricade to the knowledge of God that He is desiring to reveal to me. By staying in fear, I rely on my natural faulty understanding to make decisions instead of allowing God to enlighten and straighten my path. So, as I have had to do so many times before and will most likely have to do many times more I repented for fear.

One of the hardest verses for me in scripture is Romans 14:23 “For whatever is not of faith is sin”. We can easily become bogged down by this verse as so much of our humanity is wrapped up in doubt. Or, we can allow the Holy Spirit the rightful place to reveal both our sin and our righteousness (Jn. 16:8-10) and repent when the darkness in us is revealed, and then thank God for the revealing because in doing so we allow His light to shine in the darkness. He brings freedom from the fear and our faith is strengthened. In repentance, fear looses its grip, the knowledge of God can enter; we will be changed!