My last several posts have been somewhat light and silly, what with the shoe abundance, necking, stick shifts and fluffy pink hats; so prepare yourselves, this one is serious.
I have to admit to some less than stellar behavior. Several months ago D and I felt the Lord leading us to something, to give of ourselves, to do.
We decided to be obedient and make an offer to do/give, (sorry for the ambiguity, but it is necessary) but we made some caveats. We will do this, but not that, we will give this much and no more, we will go this far and no farther. We had to set up boundaries and protect ourselves, don’tyaknow?
Well, yesterday I was felling overwhelmed. Everything I said I would not do, I am doing. I am giving more than I wanted, I am being pulled farther than I intended to go, and I am getting bitter and angry. This is not what I signed up for. This has extended the limit of my intentions.
After I vomited all my bitterness and anger to my best friend and D, I felt a little better. Vindicated. I am right, it is too much!
Then I did my bible study for the week…Grieving the Spirit. I knew I was in for it as soon as I read the title.
Galations 5:25-26 Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other.
Ephesians 4:29-32 Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.
Oh, my friends, it convicts.
Then there was this quote by C.S. Lewis, in Mere Christianity
“The devil laughs. He is perfectly content to see you becoming chaste and brave and self-controlled provided all the time he is setting up in you the Dictatorship of Pride…For pride is spiritual cancer: it eats up the very possibility of love, or contentment, or even common sense.”
It is an ugly, albeit not new, revelation.
As I began to pray about this situation, I felt the Lord speak to me. I don’t say that lightly or very often. It was certainly not audible. I sorta felt it more than I heard it.
“I have not asked you to get up on the cross. In fact, I did that for you.”
I just sat for a minute and let that sink in.
Who am I to create exceptions to what I am willing to do for the Lord? How dare I say I will do this and not that, I will go this far and no farther…that this, I will not do.
In the Ephesians verse God (through Paul) tells us to ‘get rid of bitterness, rage and anger’ among other things. He does not tell us to examine it. He does not tell us to revel in it if it is justified. He does not tell us to get to the roots of it and deal with it. He simply says…Get. Rid. Of. It.
So that is what I am doing. Daily, hourly, sometimes minutely, I have to give my bitterness, rage and anger to Him, and ask Him to take it from me.
Then I read the account in John 19 and 20 of Jesus getting up on the cross for me. So I wouldn’t have to. So I can remember that what He is asking me to do is really not more than I can handle after-all.