Friday, June 29, 2012

Coming Whole and True

I have come to realize that there things I know in my head, yet they aren't real to me.  I used to think that having it in my head was the same thing as actually knowing.  What I now see is that until becomes real in your heart it isn't truly known.

Grace has been on my tongue my entire life.  In my head, the concept has been simple enough.  I cannot save myself.  There it is.  I was saved by God and for no reason apart from it was His pleasure to do so.  And yet, again, grace is becoming more and more clear with age.  It is a process.  I wouldn't say I didn't know it at all, but like a person, I have grown from being an acquaintance to a close friend ( I hope).

God keeps revealing His grace to me.  And this time, He has shown me that I am a liar, and firstly to myself. Whenever I am shown to be a sinner, I have responded by trying my best to cut that sin out, not realizing that the sin is there not as branch, but there is an actual root to it.  I have a sin nature.  It is a part of me.  To obliterate it as I have, is to lie.  For example, I don't just occasionally lust.  I have a lustful heart.  I don't just feel anger, I have an angry heart.  Knowing these to be bad, I never took them to God.  Always have tried to clean up first, for how could God love me if I am not first clean?  So, I would find victory over anger or lust or selfishness and think I had claimed victory once and for all... only to have those come back again and again.   The cycle so exhausting I have sometimes longed for an end.

God is faithful.  He has shown me that I need not lie.  I don't need to clean myself up.  If anything, He yearns for me to come to Him as I am.  It is His good pleasure to take my weakness and use it.  He loves it when I come to Him dirty, and I show Him what I am.  As if He didn't already know?  Is it not like finding out a best friend or family member has dealt with something enormous, and you only find out about it afterwards.  Are you not hurt?  Is it not your great honor to be a part of overcoming, of being there?  Surely it is!

Now I do not lie, to myself or God about who I am.  I have a sin nature, and it will not be obliterated in this life.  It is a part of me.  I need not kill it.  I need only to take it, every day, and subject it in obedience.  Oh how strange it sounds to say that freedom is real.  There really is freedom in being who you are and simply asking for help.

The irony is that when I tried to clean myself up, I sinned all the more.  Unnatural and off, my frustration and anger bore out a constant rebellion.  Now, having actually accepted that I am unclean apart from grace, and come to God with my sin nature, my sin has been so much less.  My ability to obey has increased a hundred fold, as I no longer feel any burden.  Obeying out of love is so much better than out of fear.

Don't lie to yourself, or to God.  We cannot cut out who we are.  Every time I have done so, I die with whatever it is I am trying to cut out.  Though my heart, my liver, my lungs are but parts of my body, and not the whole, take any of them out and I die.  So it is with what we are inside.  We must come whole and honest.  Funny thing is, I have never felt that God delighted in me until now.  I have said it my head, but never felt it true.  Now I see that God delights in me now, dirt and all.

May you and I both be shown this truth and not turn from it.  May the Holy Spirit ever minister to us.  May all things bring us closer to God.  May you feel the delight that God has in you today!  Amen.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

All that satisfies.

God is all that satisfies.  This is something that we Christians sing all the time.  It is found in scripture, and we speak it as wisdom.  It is also something I have struggled to grasp in my heart. 

My heart has been struck by a nagging edge of disappointment since depression struck me some thirteen years ago.  During that time I was emotionally paralyzed, and it was absolute hell.  Like a paraplegic who can look at his legs, know he should be able to walk but cant, so was my heart.  I knew I should be able to feel love, to cherish, to revel, just as I remembered being able to do, but could no longer do so.  All this, and with no reason.  And so, my heart has longed simply to long.  My greatest want has been to want again. 

So it has been my struggle.  When I hear God only satisfies, my heart has rebelled.  For one, I have not felt satisfaction.  I have felt mostly pain in this life.  There has been beauty.  There is hope.  Yet, there has been mostly pain.  And so I balk.  "There is something off about this," I would think, "as I am seeking God and am not satisfied." 

Also, when this is said, I have struggled to feel there to be an underlying message saying, "Nothing else is worth messing with, because only God satisfies," and my heart longs to love others, to revel in creation and beauty.  Never mind the amount of scripture talking about loving others, or spent talking about the beauty found in creation.  Satan threw out the lie, and I swallowed it whole.  In my head I know God wants me to enjoy His creation.  He wants me to love others, to feel, to revel, but I my heart still struggles. 

Over the last two weeks I have come to see that God really is all that satisfies.  That is not a guarantee you'll be satisfied, as your heart and mine are still sinful and messed up.  The promise of satisfaction is still only found in Him.  Everything else, everyone else, can only satisfy inasmuch as they are lenses for Him.  If they are the sum total of what we want, disappointment is guaranteed.  In the short term , people  and creation may disappoint, but through Christ, there is actually the hope of dwelling together with true hearts.  Imagine getting to finally spending eternity with those you love the most, and not only are their hearts made whole, but so is yours.  Have you ever felt that promise?  I have felt it but a couple of times.  When you feel that, you will be changed forever. 

I look forward to it.  Tired of being let down by my own faulty heart and mind, I long for the day when I am true and whole.  But for a season, my heart has been in arrest.  Yet, I have hope.  All in all, I still believe, not just in the goodness of heaven, but in an abundant life here on this Earth, and I will keep that hope until I die.  Moments may make it glow as but an ember, but an ember needs just a little wind to turn to a flame once again. 

I will not give up, and I hope you won't either.  I will mess up, as I keep doing.  Still, I'll keep going.  Even in the muck will I sing hallelujah... for He is... all that satisfies.