Well, it's 2:13 and already a full day of blessings and challenges. Still have to go to Aldi's, too. Do you have an Aldi's near you? what a money saver , I go there first before Redners or Giant... anyways, today has been an "off" day for spawnling #1 , whose been simultaneously bouncing off the walls and giving me the 'attitude from h-e-double-hockeysticks" ( heh) .... is this because of the day it is?? I'm just kidding... today is also a visitation day from 'my friend', so emotions have been tumultous. BUT! My heart has not, thank you God, for my heart is fixed upon The Rock, the Lord of my salvation. When temptations to anxiety creep up, or mr. frustration is here for the day, I know I can say " Lord, have your way" and not have to figure out how to fix the latest spill. That is sooo liberating!! And no, I didn't mean for all that to rhyme ;) .... that was just 'accidental goofiness.' I am so grateful that God always has an answer for the "AAH! What do I DO with THIS?!" moments in my life, and that he always reminds me if I am feeling overwhelmed with the hecticness of it all to take a few minutes, shut off all the noise, and sit at his feet letting him remove the beam from my eye and equipping me to then try to remove the speck from the eye of spawnling #1. But this whole post will not again be all about the challenges in my life , because.... it will now be about .... this great book I am reading!
Remember yesterday I was talking about how the bible says that the way we act and live stems from what is in our heart ? We are squeezed, and then -- a beautiful Christ-like fragrance comes out and permeates the room with our awe-inspiring great patience and love?? I hope that is true for most of us, but alas, sometimes ( usually?!) that takes work on our part, and the work I am talking about is exposing our sinful hearts for what they really are... little idol factories making gods of every form, all kinds of things we love the most, things that take the #1 place God so rightly deserves- and demands.
Let me ask you, what do you love the most?
Is it your kids, your husband, your wife, your ministry, your car?
God should have that #1 spot. Ephesians 5 says that when we love something, we nourish it and care for it. When we embrace more , nourish more , care most about anything more than God , he hates it! Our fears are the other side of what we love- we love success; we fear failure. We love peace; we fear conflict. We love to please people and make them happy; we fear their dissaproval or rejection. Second Kings 17:40-41 ...." even while the people were worshipping the Lord, they were serving their idols.... to this day, their children and grandchildren do as they did." Let's look at our idols, for our own spiritual groth and maturity...and for our children, who are always watching us.
How do people change?
No one thinks that they are loving having a sense of control over their surroundings, or ease and comfort, or self indulgence, more than they love God. I never did, until I heard CJ Mahaney talk about idols of the heart through my church- ( see sovereign grace ministries.org. ) But if we examine our behaviors, they link us right to our hearts, and they expose the decietfullness there. Everyone is at a different place in their spiritual maturity, let's assume your like I was when I first learned about idolotry.
There is a great case study.... his name is Jack. He has a lot of conflict he just can't seemt o resolve with his wife,and a ton of resentment ( bible calls this bitterness) against her. She is sloppy, he is a neat freak. He gets mad and yells at her when he see's her messiness; she gets mad and retreats. After a couple of (christian) counseling sessions, Jack realized that his behavior towards Mary was wrong. He realized that his thoughts about Mary led to his anger with her ( he wasn't taking every thought captive to Christ.) He worked on his thoughts, and this helped him not get so mad sometimes. But, other times he just blew up. He couldn't identify what happened because it came so fast. Jack had acknowledged that his thought about Mary's behavior were making him angry more than Mary's behaviors. But, he still wanted mary to change. He thought she SHOULD change -but just Mary changing would rob Jack of the chance to see himself more clearly, and to change and mature.
Jack wanted mary to change in order to please him and meet his desire for order. When jack didn't get what his heart desired, he became angry. The things he desired were legitimate, but he had allowed those desires to rule his heart.
What's wrong with us? why do we stay stuck in immaturity for so long, even as Christians? The answer is simple: because we have not yet yielded our heart's desires to God's authority, and someone or something other than God is at the helm of our life.
I will continue on this tomorrow, Lord willing...
By the way ALL of this GREAT information came from Leslie Vernick's life-changing book, previously released as The Truth principal and now out as How To Live Right When Your Life Goes Wrong, 2003 by Waterbrook press. I got this book in one of my seminary classes. It is excellent!