Friday, September 26, 2014

two paths//choosing the hard way

Psalms 141:5
"Let the righteous smite me; it shall be a kindness: and let him reprove me; it shall be an excellent oil, which shall not break my head..."

How much easier would it be to simply follow the path of the wicked? It would seem to be so much more simple - no rules or boundaries, really. Yet there isn't peace in chaos. That's what life is in the midst of the wicked: chaos. Simply put, there is nothing to be desired there except for having our own way. But that's not worth being desired either. It doesn't satisfy. No matter how appealing the path of destruction is, it can never give you what you need most: Life.

Having life is a choice we all make. Every decision is an opportunity to choose it, and with it comes peace. Joy. Love. Yes, the way of the wayward may seem "less restictive", in a sense, but it restricts you from having what you need most. So instead of longingly looking over your shoulder to the path others are perishing on, turn your gaze to look squarely in the face of Jesus. Then you will find all you need for life and godliness. In Him, that is. He alone can give true life. Nothing else can stand like that ... it all fades away. Though the way of the wicked seems easy, the hard way is what brings sarisfacion.

In Psalms 141:5 David speaks of how being smitten by the righteous is a kindness, and reproof by the same is as an excellent oil. These things are not easy, yet they are part of the process to form His life in us. I recently had to make a decision that had been set before me by the Holy Spirit. One choice seemed easy: I could continue on in what I was doing and live according to my Flesh (because if I continued on doing what I knew was wrong I would be sinning... willfully). The second choice I knew was the path I ought to take. It was hard. I could stop what I was doing, possibly looking strange and crazy.

Knowing what is right is not enough. I could've so easily slipped onto the path that does not lead to life, because I was listening to my Flesh and my feelings. Yet I am a Christian. That is not how a Christian lives. So knowing what the right thing to do is not enough, because if you don't have Christ's life manifested in you it would be the same as knowing water exists yet never drinking it. You have to be yielded to the Holy Spirit to live out his life. He's the life in the new creation.

So, I looked at one option, I looked at the other. I could so easily hide in my sin and enjoy it-- for a short time, if even that. But I can't do that. That's not part of who I am now. I will never find satisfaction in my sin. Still scared of what the outcome could be, I stepped out in faith, because even when the way seems hard it leads to life. And I have a peace in my heart about it all. The reproof of the righteous is becoming a kindness to me, because it makes me look more like Jesus. Even when it seems hard -is hard- rest assured that this is the way to life.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

being conformed and putting up a fight.

A lot has been going on lately. A lot of stuff in regards to the heart and soul... being tested, tempted, and tried. It hasn't been easy, honestly. I don't know that anyone goes through things without some degree of hurt, or it being hard. Its just the way things are. The Lord is whispering sweet affirmation and gentle correction into my heart just as the enemy shouts condemnation and defeat and lies at my life. I often times fall for the noisy trickery of the enemy. I believe that I am to be condemned when the Lord brings correction. I'm trying to figure this whole thing out, and it oftentimes ends in a mess.

Because I don't listen to the One that brings truth.

I was talking with my mom a couple days back about some things the Lord has been doing in my life, and- funny how this happens- I began to get revelation about what I was walking through. I began to speak about how we need so much from the Lord, yet we already have it. We were given a new heart upon becoming a new creation... it's our minds that haven't been renewed. The control center is still off course, but He has given us His heart. I wanted to blame God for not giving me His heart for the lost and the broken, then I realized I was the one to blame. He's given me His heart; I am simply not of renewed mind. We are called to be co-labourers with Christ, and He has already done what needs to be done on His part. We merely twiddle our thumbs, oftentimes, and say we don't think like Him because He didn't give us His heart. Wrong. Wrong. Wrong. We are the ones with blame. We've been putting this off on Him, when we haven't been doing our assigned job. We are called to renew our minds, and we are to do it through His strength. We have what we need. But we say (or at least I do) that we're still figuring out how it works. Does that give me lisence to sin? To disobey? When I am supposed to drink, do I throw out the water and say it's His fault? Or that where sin is grace abounds much more? Friends, I think we've been tricked into believing a lie. This is about becoming like Him, not making excuses to stay in the mire.

So I'm sitting there getting this revelation as I'm talking, and then my brilliant, wise mother throws out an analogy.  We are a piece of furniture. The wood is beautiful, how it is meant to be. Then we begin to paint our colors over it. We ruin what the Creator built for His purpose with what we think is better. And slowly He has to strip the furniture to get it back to its created value. I'm a piece of furniture. So are you. I don't want to tarnish what the Lord is doing with my ideas, selfishness, and sin. I want as little paint as possible on me. The less paint, the less work on His part. Less correction. It's living holy as He is holy. Clothed in His righteousness alone. The past few months or so the Lord has been doing a stripping in my life. Testing me, showing me where I'm weak and where I fall. Then offering to build me back into what I'm meant to be. Oh, how I long to be what He made me to be! But I fall so often. He picks me up and dusts me off. I run the race, slowly sometimes, but am reassured of me getting closer to the finish line. I want to look like Him when I'm all done.

Let's not settle for a lie, okay? Let's dive in and pursue Him, allow Him to strip and perfect us, and rest in the knowledge that we are His. I'll end with a bit of truth that a good friend recently spoke into my life:

"There is no condemnation for those in Christ. Consequences? Yes, but no condemnation. Condemnation is directly from Satan and Hell which Jesus died to defeat and to give you His Spirit so that we can live in freedom from this moment on."

And a favorite verse that sums it all up:

"Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I  do,  forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus."
{{Philippians 3:13-14}}

Thursday, September 11, 2014

when life changes and i make mistakes.

Life is changing. I don't know if this is because that's the way it is or because I'm growing up, but I do know that its not the same life I was living a couple months ago. Every day brings a new opportunity to forgive, learn, adapt, smile, and become like Him. Which I never seem to feel like I'm doing. I can't quite seem to get a grip on this life thing, because it is constantly changing. I feel a lot like I'm on shifting sand. I get comfortable – whoops! Who pulled the rug out from under me?

This isn't about me being perfect. It's about me maturing, learning, leaning. It's about trusting. I may not know the way I'm going. Oh, do I want to know my Guide! He is the reason for life. He is my beginning, my story, my ending. I want it all to be Him. Is there really a reason to call me a Christian? Is there any possible evidence for Christ in me? Can it be seen? So the point is, even if I can't feel like I'm getting anywhere, I know that I am. I am in hot pursuit of my Maker. The One who has ravished my heart with His beauty. Who has purchased my life with His. What love! Why would I get tripped up over the fact that I am making slow progress, when He has provided a way for me to even be on this journey? The fact that I'm making mistakes is proof that I'm trying.

When I beat myself up over the fact that I'm not there yet, when I look at my life... I know that I am looking at me. I'm not looking at His face.  Yet I long to sit here forever, doing just that! I long to see that my life is becoming like His, that my words are mimicking His, and that my actions are as He would act. I long for it! But how can I ever get somewhere sitting still, not moving? Why am I not taking any steps? When I am afraid of taking a step because I fear I may err in some way, I am not trusting. He uses our mistakes to teach us, and with each step, and each correction, and each time I heed His voice, I will continue on, surely and steadily, the path of Life.   Hallelujah, and thank the Lord for such goodness!