It’s late (or early) and I’m awake. I tossed and turned for as long as possible. I thought it was close to waking up time, but it wasn’t. And so for the first time in many months I sit here in the stillness of night and I think about Kate’s word this week.
The word “embrace.” I’ll admit it. I’ve often struggled to embrace the trials that God has allowed in our lives. Recent struggles and struggles in our past. I have to remind myself often hat it is not for me to make someone do what I think they should. It’s for me to love them, to pray for them and even to embrace them (if they’ll let me) and for God’s will to be done in their life and mine.
I have to remember that God could make do them do the right thing but he won’t because he IS.
The sin of others has caused great pain in our life recently. But I know under the facade their pain is greater. They hold too tightly to their law. Unfortunately, they won’t let go much like a child holding their little critter. If they squeeze too tightly for too long the little critter suffocates and the child doesn’t understand why it died. The law is much like this. When we use it to control us and others it suffocates but breathe brings freedom.
I don’t want to embrace the struggle. Really I don’t. I could whine and cry and kick and scream but I won’t because I want to grow! I want to be more like Jesus every day. Even if it takes the struggle to do it because I’d rather live my life through the struggles and live for Jesus than to live my life for myself and live in the world. BTDT, no thanks!
As I heal, I find a different pain. Not my own pain but pain for the others. Pain because they have blind eyes and cannot see. Pain because their fruit is bearing and it’s not pretty. Pain because I fear they’ve walked to the mirror, turned away and forgotten what they look like.
I’m healing but they’re still wounded. Instead of growing, these kind of people stand on their holy hill pronouncing judgement where God gives no judgment. They condemn others so they can puff themselves up. They blame shift so they can feel better about themselves but most often they are only more miserable and their desire to look perfect keeps them from admitting their pain. It keeps them from falling on their face in humility. It keeps them from falling on their face in worship to their Creator. It keeps them locked in a prison of their own making when they could be free!
The pain of consequence is real. The threat of bitterness is real. I’ve seen first hand what the fruit of bitterness can reap and I want no part of it! I’ve been asking God to help me to forgive. To help me love when I want to hate and to see these people through his eyes.
We’re all unacceptable. There is nothing good within us without Jesus Christ and yet we often make our own rules. We often attempt to define what is and what isn’t acceptable. We make judgements and we become the jury. We pronounce the sentence when it isn’t our job. Or we embrace universalism where God’s love is defined by the absence of consequences. The absence of eternal damnation and all are acceptable to Him; but my friends that is a false and dangerous theology.
We cannot live for Jesus and determine to make Scripture fit our belief system. Christ in us compels us to desire that our lifestyle fit the Word of God. We cannot claim to live for him when we only look for proof texts to justify our choices. We must let the Holy Spirit work in our lives to conform us to the image of Jesus!
Lord Jesus help us to lovingly confronting those living in opposition to the Word. Holy Spirit prick our hearts and show us our failures so we can humble ourselves and repent. Lord Jesus you showed us how to forgive when you walked this earth. I pray that we will follow your example when people hurt us. I pray that we will show them your love in spite of their actions. I pray that you’ll keep us humble before your throne. I pray that we’ll stand firm for your truth but that we will also show grace to those around you that are blind. Open eyes to see Lord Jesus! Draw us closer to you in the pain. Heal us Father. Love us Father with your perfect love. Forgive us Father for our sin. Thank you Jesus! Thank you for suffering in our place. Thank you for being the perfect spotless lamb and the only acceptable sacrifice once for all. Thank you for embracing us in our sin so we too can be spotless before our Father. In Jesus name. Amen!
Have a wonderful Friday friends!