Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Direct me in the Path of Your Commands for There I find Delight

Romans 13:14 (ESV) But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires.

Luke 18:8 (ESV)8 I tell you, he will give justice to them speedily. Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?”

Unfortunately, I had enough time and baggage when I started walking with the Lord to already have a good history of sin. The only thing was I did a lot of things in pure ignorance. The moral conscience in me knew certain things were right or wrong but lived with the fear of man and not the fear of God. After 14 years of doing life with the Lord day in and out I really can't claim like Morgan so often does, "I didn't know better." Some sins that I have committed I would have so much godly sorrow over but be so broken and sick because the fact was...I knew better. All of that is to say that I humbly come and write from the heart of someone who knows what it is like to have a heart fully committed to Him and on the flip side have one that is divided and unstable because of the choice to feed or make provision for the flesh. I can't say it enough, but I do not know where I would be were it not for His word. I have to stay in it or I will lose my ever loving head to this world. The other day I sat in my driveway and the only thing I could articulate in the few moments that I had alone was that my soul was downcast. I had such a cloak of heaviness weighing on me and for so many reasons. The question popped up in my spirit (I know it was the Lord because I had not even read this verse in so long and the Lord brought it up from the storehouses in my soul is all I can say) "when the Son of Man comes will He find faith on the earth?" I had been rolling over the verses all week:
Hebrews 3:7 (NIV) So, as the Holy Spirit says: “Today, if you hear his voice, 8 do not harden your hearts as you did in the rebellion, during the time of testing in the desert,
The Lord gave those to me over and over. So, what to do with all of this? Just when I think I have heard it all I hear a story of someone else that is struggling in life and my heart is awash with grief over what a fallen world we live in. I am not jaded but we do live in the domain of the prince of this world as the devil is referred to in the book of John. What baffles me the most is how certain things like immorality, or p*rnography addictions, and s*xual sin are so rampant in the church and how many people claiming to be believers are falling prey to the grips of the evil one and are not being held accountable yet they are pining away in their sin and trading the inheritance that Christ has for them here on earth like Esau did for a bowl of stew. A big fat NASTY bowl of stew. Yet while they think they are keeping it at bay or a secret all of our sin affects each other and we are not operating as a healthy Bride in the Body of Christ with all of her parts to make herself ready for His return, which He will return and He will not delay.
So, I ask myself...why trade what is expensive for what is cheap, dirty, and destructive and a mirage at best? Why? I don't have all of the answers but I am ticked off and here I am to write:
Don't you want it to be said of you that when the Son of Man comes He WILL find faith on the earth with you?!? I just ask you that like I ask myself. I told Him in the car the other day that no matter what has been in my past I want to devote my life to Him and His word because He is so worthy and I know that there is NO freedom apart from truth.
So, we have made so many "provisions for the flesh" that we become color blind to the lines in between what should be black or white. We have allowed an attitude of tolerance into the church where we become all grace or we lack grace and become brash truth when we need grace + truth. When we walk in the light we have fellowship with others. Yes in this age of media we are missing out on true fellowship with so many surface relationships even though I do love me some social media. If we follow the first apostles they met together, broke bread, and had them some fellowship! We have got to have fellowship and do life with others in order to grow and be free. When we live and walk in the dark there is no light to expose the darkness and we are indeed called to be salt (a preservative, or tenderizer for the heart that may be hard) to the world and yet some of us are missing the boat on what church should be if it is not indeed another sorority or fraternity. For those of you who are reading this and thing I am chalking it up that no one is faithful I am not saying that at all. It is just discouraging when you hear story after story of believers in moral failure. So, I ask myself why is this the norm? Why is it such a casual thing? All I can come up with is a few answers: 1. Someone comes out of the world and comes to know Christ and looks around and sees all of these people that he/she thinks has it together and they sort of get in pretend or masquerade mode and maybe don't deal with long standing areas of bondage so they sort of go along faking it and maybe not on purpose but they continue in areas of filth that they had long standing before and never fully get to the point of tasting and seeing that the Lord is good because it is impossible to be in fellowship with the Lord and walk in the ways of darkness. So maybe he or she gets married and thinks that it will solve a purity problem only it doesn't. The desire for licentious behavior increases since their appetite has only been filled with that type of behavior and as people who were innately created with a desire to be filled he/she turns to something that will feed this desire and instead of the beast going away it grows and grows as it is fed and then has a continual lust for more. Then, the progression of sin grows and what started out as just a little doesn't do it for them anymore, thus hardening their heart and becoming calloused they don't know how to operate and have healthy relationships with others when they have traded what is sacred for what is cheap. If we don't spend time in the word (discipline has to happen before desire for the Lord and a hunger for His presence comes) we harden our hearts because we gravitate naturally to the things of the flesh. When I think of the words "make no provision for the flesh" I get a mental picture of the Israelites leaving their tents to gather manna that the Lord had rained down. They were not to gather too much or too little but only what was according to their need. Just like them we need to get up and gather the manna of His word and feed our spirits or I am so afraid and based on experience that we will default to living for self. Our choices really do matter, a day adds up to a week, a week then a month, a month then a year...and depending on our choices we can either be close and walk with God and have a heart committed to Him or we can get away and become calloused and I hope that the latter part scares you to death because I know we are capable of destroying ourselves and others if we choose the latter one. So, we are told don't make provision for the flesh...quit feeding your flesh! You know what it is for you. If your eye causes you to sin, gouge it out. You can't wait until you feel like being obedient to obey. Depending on how long you've been feeding your flesh can mean the difference in how long it takes you to get free. I know some people get delivered over night from stuff but that has not been the case for me. I remember having such bad co-dependency issues and going on being stubborn and rebellious (choose to sin, choose to suffer-James MacDonald) that it took a year of cooperation with the Lord to have that false god pried from the grips of my hands. The Lord didn't need to know I could be OK without a man in my life, I needed to know. I am so thankful He was relentless with me in that pursuit of freedom and it was painful but so worth it. The bottom line is that if you are not healthy in your own heart you will not attract what is healthy. You don't think clearly. Your mind becomes polluted. We have got to make even the smallest steps to just flat out denying our flesh and yes scream out to the Lord that your flesh is starving but I promise freedom is a much better place than the land of slavery.
As far as the Lord telling us in the New Testament TODAY, (not tomorrow I'll start then it turns to another tomorrow and such a vicious cycle) if you hear His voice do not harden your hearts as you did in the time of testing in the wilderness. We will all have times in the wilderness of life. Depending on how far removed you are from maybe your own personal land of slavery referred to as your like me and like the Israelites may look back when times get hard and be tempted to believe the lie that Egypt was better. NO EGYPT WAS NOT BETTER...YOU WERE IN SLAVERY DON'T YOU REMEMBER! As if we are watching a movie wanting to scream at the actors about what idiots they are at the decisions they are making....yet it isn't so obvious to us when we compromise a little here and a little there. Sin will always block our ability to have ears to hear and eyes to see. Oh but if we really saw Him as He was...if we really chose faith over wavering in unbelief the reward would be so rich.
Next, I would say that satan is having a field day with the shame game. That is his game and one he has been playing since the garden of Eden. He wants the believer in Christ to live in shame. To clothe themselves and try to hide because of shame. Yet the cross beckons you and me to come and because of the shed blood we have access to the Holy of Holies. We can come to the mercy seat and find grace and help and MERCY in time of need. But will we waver here? Will we waste away in the wilderness and never make it to the promise land because we chose self and sin over God? Will it be that we were more scared of coming clean than we were of missing our callings?
Or will we taste and see that the Lord is good and drink from the richest of fare? I'm saying from both sides of the fence that you have to draw a line and either get all in or don't. You have to decide are you going to live for the Lord and trade the temporal for what is eternal or just settle for the here and now?
So, are we becoming so desensitized that we are clouded to the word of God? Is the Word of God our standard for true life or are we still following after the patterns of this world that is 's perishing? That's one thing that scares me when churches are so big. I always wonder is that pastor rightly dividing the word of truth or are people flocking to surround themselves with people who will tickle their ears...that will say what their itching ears want to hear? Because more than ever satan is pulling out all the stops to ensnare believers. The truth is beautifully liberating to the hearer who knows that he/she would die without that living water. When you have been set free by the Word of God and obedience you know where you'd be without it and how you can't afford to live without it.

Morgan just asked me if I am writing a book so I guess I should put it down for now...but if I could speak face to face with anyone who is reading this, whether you have taken a fall morally or you have been pushed into a pit by someone elses fall...PLEASE make the word your abode. Camp out in it. Live in it. Yet what good is any of it if we do not obey it? It is sin to know what we ought to do and not do it. This time here on earth is so brief...we can live this thing out and cross the finish line full of faith. We can turn and repent and keep running the race...but we don't have long. Today if you hear His voice...

Lord, be our life and the length of our days. Consume us with a Holy Passion for You because yes we live in a fallen and tainted world but we can stand apart but it won't be on accident and it will be by Your word of truth. Thank you for Your Word. You are the Pearl of Great Price and may we not cast our Pearls before what is Swine.

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AllisonB said...

Well said, sister. Since becoming a mom, I have a whole new appreciation for how much the Lord loves me and how it must grieve him when I turn from him in sin. It would KILL me if my son ever turned away from me - to think that the Lord loves me even more than I love my baby boy has made me desire the Lord and love him more and more...yet I still sin. Staying in the Word is the ONLY way for me to stay out of the pit. Thanks for your words - you bring such clarity and truth!!!

Jennifer said...

"Think with yourself that this life is the time of trial for heaven....What a vast disproportion is there between your trials and the future glory? Your most humbling circumstances, how light are they in comparison to the weight of it! The longest continuance of them is but for a moment, compared with that eternal weight. Alas, there is much unbelief at the root of all our uneasiness under humbling circumstances. Had we a clearer view of the other world, we should not make so much of either the smiles or frowns of this." (Thomas Boston, I think...)

"We now watch in faith his hand, as the wheels of His unerring guidance move on, accomplishing the great and glorious work. What mercy to know that He alone has called us, will keep that which we have committed to Him against that day, and that, all these events which seem confusion to us are, even now, accomplishing His own eternal plans and purposes of love. Oh to trust Him fully, and watch His providence in all that is transpiring." ~Mary Winslow (Heaven Opened)