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

Monday, July 2, 2012

Live by the Spirit or Wallow in the Flesh

Another Choice. Life is all about choices and some of them are darn hard to make, especially when the flesh is screaming out for relief. 

How do you spell relief?
  • R - running, as fast as you can into denial
  • E - escape from the present pain
  • L - living a lie that keeps us wallowing
  • I - interpreting life according to our circumstances
  • E - embellishing, whatever works to keep us wallowing
  • F - fantasizing, the rescue of a knight in shining armour perhaps?

Yikers, that is so not a pretty picture. And here's the thing, when we're living in our flesh, that is not living the abundant life Jesus suffered to give us. In fact, it's not living at all, I'm coming to believe it's a form of death and certainly, it's bondage and who wants that?

For Christians, there is no excuse for living in the flesh when God has so abundantly given us all we need to live by His Spirit, to live out of our spirit.

Romans 8:5: Those who live according to the sinful nature (our flesh) have their minds set on what that nature desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires.

I've just regrettably spend the past 5 days wallowing. I know, you're totally shocked right? NOT!! 

My flesh has been screaming for relief from a particular situation and the deadline is coming close with no resolution that I can see. So, this is when I have to make a choice, to live in the Spirit and believe, trust that God's got my back, trust that His plan is to prosper me, not harm me, plans that give me a future and a hope. (Jer. 29:11) 

My choice is to continue listening to the flesh which is thinking negative thoughts, a quick spiral downward, or taking every thought captive, as in . . . . "That's it!!! You're outta here!!" (2 Cor. 10:5)

Wallowing and being negative is a hateful part of my life that I cannot even pretend isn't there. I'm one of those people who shut down and my face reflects what's going on inside. I check out of engaging with other people, I hibernate in my little home, I don't answer the phone nor am I present for others. The only thing I truly enjoy is task-oriented things which I can do by myself so I can still feel like I'm of value in some small way. Totally it is truly one of the most selfish parts of my life. 

Here's the thing, my life as a Christ follower is meant to bring Glory to God and to reveal Him to others by the way I live. When I'm wallowing I am a reproach to His name and no one, as in NO ONE is impressed. After all He has done for me, how sad for me to respond to His glorious goodness in such a way. Words defy description of how I'm feeling about that right now, but there is hope for change because God is oh so faithful.

Things to ask when wallowing: 
  • Father, show me what I need to know
  • What thoughts need to be taken captive?
  • How can I bring glory to God in this?
  • Teach me your way through this
  • Help me be faithful to you
  • Father, HELP ME!

I will acknowledge this is not easy. It's dying to self (a.k.a. not having my own way) which is what we are called to as Christ followers. Take up our cross and follow Jesus. He never said it would be easy, but He, in His great love, compassion and kindness has PROVIDED absolutely every thing we need to do it. That's the thing I forget at times . . . . He does not ever ask me to do something, He never invites me into a process He already hasn't provided what I need to get through it, hasn't already prepared for every contingency possible.

Why oh why do I resist Him? Foolish person that I am!

A wise friend once told me he has a plan for when life has him in a place where he just wants to pull the covers over his head and check out. If I remember rightly, it's a three step plan which works well simply because he is disciplined enough to recognize the oncoming funk and follow the plan. Perhaps I also need to ask Abba for a plan that He knows will work for me. The issue then becomes . . . will I discipline myself enough to follow through . . . . *sigh*

How do you spell relief God's way?
  • R - rely on Him, for every little thing, as in EVERYthing
  • E - escape into Him, He is my Strong Tower in times of trouble (Prov. 18:10)
  • L - live in His presence, His Spirit, His provision, His promises
  • I - invite Him into the process, into the struggle with me, He is always available
  • E - endure by the promise I will get through this and be stronger for it
  • F - fully live loved by Father, knowing He's for me and not against me

God bless you as you walk through the valley of struggle and lived loved by Father.
Psalm 23: 1-6
The Lord is my Shepherd, I have all that I need.
He lets me rest in green meadows, He leads me beside peaceful streams.
He renews my strength, He guides me along right paths, bring honour to His name.
Even when I walk through the darkest valley, I will not be afraid, for You are close beside me. Your rod and Your staff protect and comfort me.
You prepare a feast for me in the presence of my enemies. You honour me by anointing my head with oil. My cup overflows with blessings (see Ps. 68:19 'who daily loads us with blessings)
Surely Your goodness and unfailing love will pursue me all the days of my life, and I will live in the house of the Lord forever. Amen

Girl on a Journey