"Love is not love which alters when it alteration finds . . ." Wm Shakespeare

Monday, April 9, 2012

A Hard Thing To Admit and Say . . . .

Since December when I heard God say ‘reset’, there have been many changes in my inner being. Some of it has flowed outward, such as in being back in church after a 15 year absence, but mostly it has affected how I think.

It’s a strange and sometimes freaky but awesome thing to open my mouth and have words come out which I did not pre-think and are not things I would have said a few short months ago. I said to a friend, it’s like being born again ~ again. A brand new person, new thoughts, new words, a whole new way of thinking even.

But as awesome as it has been, there has also come an awareness of just how short we have fallen as Christians, myself included. This awareness has brought about a profound sorrow. Yes, some impatience and anger has come with it, but having repented of that and asking God to ‘show me what I need to know’, mostly there is sorrow for the reproach we, who call ourselves followers of Christ, have brought against His name. With that sorrow has come an awareness of the deep need within the church to know that Truth that will set us free of living lives as the same old; same old.

I think of how we have coddled our wounds using them to reason ourselves out of selfish behaviour when what is needed is deep sorrowful repentance and forgiveness and a reliance upon God’s Holy Spirit to heal those wounds and give us the strength, the grace to change our behaviour till we are holy as He is holy. (please know this is not a criticism for those seeking counsel to sort out life traumas and such, the Bible is clear there is need for that). But mostly it's because we are not encouraging, exhorting, praying for, supporting/bearing each other's burdens. We isolate ourselves and do not love/care for each other as we ought. We are such selfish beings.

Do we trust God to show us how, what, where and to provide for us, or figure things out for ourselves, reasoning with our small, futile minds, minds that are created rather than trusting the God who created us?? Trust me, that's how I lived for so many years, the way of the world, but not God's way. I am heartily ashamed to call myself Christian when I see how poorly I really was at following Christ.

I’m sure most of you know the divorce rate among Christians is almost as high as divorce in the world. Wonder why? It’s my opinion there is hardness of heart in one or the other, or both, and a lack of submission to loving the other as we are directed in the Bible. We are not relying on Holy Spirit to heal the wounds that come in such intimate relationships.

In fact, this is all just my opinion, I think we are very poor at loving even though we have Christ as our example and much teaching on loving others in the Bible. Read Larry Crabb's book 66 Love Letters if you want to know more on God's way of love.

When there is conflict, do we prefer the other more than ourselves or are we seeking our own way?

Are we forgiving over and over and refusing to NOT be offended, to live without offense? Or do we place blame and excuse ourselves because 'they' hurt us? When we are legitimately hurt by another, how do we respond? What did Christ say about that? Are we living His way or the world’s way of response?

Are we bearing one another’s burdens or saying it’s not my fault, not my business, I don’t want to interfere or . . . . I can't be bothered, it's not convenient? Are we covering each other’s sins or whispering it’s ‘their’ fault our relationship has broken down.

Women, are we respecting our men? Men, are you loving your wives as Christ loved the church? It is a life of sacrifice on both parts and we are called to that. (I realize some of you are thinking, 'that's rich, she's not even married. You would be right, but it does not mean I have not learned why my own marriage died).

Are we living lives of humility? Are we encouraging one another to do good deeds? Are we such an example of living as Christ lived & taught and loving each other so well the world wants what we have?

There is very little evidence this is who the church is today. We have brought such a reproach against the name of Christ it’s no wonder so many have left the church, are seeking other religions or just are not coming into the body of Christ as they did in earlier times. We, the body of Christ have lost our witness, we've lost our testimony of the goodness of the Lord, of how He is our Healer, our Provider, our Friend and Guide, our Saviour and LORD of our lives. When we take a good hard look at how we are living, who really is lord of our lives??

Repentance and forgiveness, preferring others above ourselves, giving, loving, treating with gentleness and kindness, not judging, accepting, and being devoted to one another, more than our devotion to our own selves; those are the marks of humility, those are the attributes of God we are to live by and exemplify to those around us.

I am not standing on the outside looking in and judging, I am one who struggles with the same things, every day, having to choose whom I will serve, myself or my God. But simply put, it is my conviction which I am sharing with you much as I share the other things in my life.

If you are a Christ follower, ask yourself if you are choosing to live life on your own terms, doing it as it seems right to yourself, or if you are living the self-sacrificing life of Christ, more concerned about His good name rather than living life your way.

Your way or God’s way, we cannot have it both ways. If we are God’s children we need to live as our Father and His Son Jesus Christ live. We no longer have the right to live as we please and each day it’s a constant choice to live His way and sometimes it requires dying to our own selves and making the hard decision.

If you don’t know what God’s way is, or think you do know, read the Bible and stack up your understanding with what is written there. As I said above, I stand convicted. What I read in my Bible is not how I’ve lived my life in the past, but if I want the kind of relationship with God that I do want, then there are some things I will need to choose to give up, some behaviours, some thought patterns, books I read, movies I watch, things I choose to think upon and people I choose to spend time with. It’s not my way anymore. If I claim to be a Christ follower, then I need to follow Christ.

I told a friend lately, I am heartily sick of living the life of 'Brenda'. It has been a dismal failure and I want the overcoming life Christ offers, I want the abundant life He came to give me, but this means I much choose it.

Blessings to you on your own journey . . . .

Girl on a Journey