Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Believing Christ

It is not easy. I've been listening to Rick Warren's Purpose Driven Life and have been slowly realizing how much of a hinderance I am to myself. If the Pastor's message in his book wasn't enough - I started a new Bible study today by Beth Moore, "Breaking Free: Making Liberty in Christ a Reality in Life". I read the introduction and the words God first gave her really struck me:

"How would I have known that I was lost
Had You not searched and found me?
How would I have known that I was blind
Had you not made me see?
How would I have known my bleeding
'Til You bound Your love around me?
How would I have groaned my slavery
Until You set me free?"

She describes how she used to argue that Christians could not be in bondage, "with all the volume a person can muster with a yoke of slavery strangling her neck." I began to understand - that although I accepted Christ in my most broken moment, even though I surrendered to Him, and even though He led me out of bondage - I allowed myself to slowly backslide back into it. And I never even noticed. I enjoy how The Message states Galatians 5:1 -

"Christ has set us free to live a free life. So take your stand! Never again let anyone put a harness of slavery on you."

I allowed the harness of slavery to come over me. From the legalism I found comforting and a form of security in the LDS church, to mismanaging my thoughts, to pride, and daily routines that do not glorify God or exeplify what it means to live a Christian life. The Word states:

"Have nothing to do with foolish stories old women tell. Keep yourself growing in God-like living. Growing strong in body is all right but growing in God-like living is more important. It will not only help you in this life now but in the next life also." 1 Tim 4:7-8

For today's study, I read about Uzziah - his successes because the Lord was his strength and he knew it; and his fall because he became prideful. I realized, that this is such a reoccuring theme with me - the Lord blesses me and I become prideful - almost thinking I do not need to depend on the Lord as much (subconciously of course - but it's very much spoken loud and clear through my actions).My daily living is to glorify God, not myself, my family, or anyone or thing else. Yet, this can be such a hard task to live each day.

The Psalmist tells us to "hide" God's Word in our hearts so that we might not sin against Him. Throughout the past year, I've done just this, memorizing verses and references. And I became proud because I do this and others I knew, could not. I allowed the praise of people that I "knew" my Bible to override my humilty that I all I know - is been a blessing and gift from the Lord. And in reality, I know very little truth. When I shared with Steve that we are to "hide" God's Word in our heart, he was confused. Why should we "hide" it?

I went to my Strong's concordance and looked up "hide" from this passage. It is a verb - an action. It means to "cherish or store up". We are to be activly storing up and cherishing God's Word in our heart. When we turn ourselves to Him, understanding we are slaves to our flesh, and in humilty seek His will first, we are moved to obediance. However, if we constantly rely upon ouselves and not God - then we are living in the flesh, thus hindering ourselves. Rick Warren gave a beautiful example of a motor boat set on auto-pilot to go East and a person steering the boat by force to go West. Eventually, we grow tired and will let go of the wheel and the boat will go back to it's internal programming - to go East. Paul also describes this in Romans chapter 7:14-25

14 We know that the Law is right and good, but I am a person who does what is wrong and bad. I am not my own boss. Sin is my boss. 15 I do not understand myself. I want to do what is right but I do not do it. Instead, I do the very thing I hate. 16 When I do the thing I do not want to do, it shows me that the Law is right and good. 17 So I am not doing it. Sin living in me is doing it. 18 I know there is nothing good in me, that is, in my flesh. For I want to do good but I do not. 19 I do not do the good I want to do. Instead, I am always doing the sinful things I do not want to do. 20 If I am always doing the very thing I do not want to do, it means I am no longer the one who does it. It is sin that lives in me. This has become my way of life: When I want to do what is right, I always do what is wrong. My mind and heart agree with the Law of God. But there is a different law at work deep inside of me that fights with my mind. This law of sin holds me in its power because sin is still in me. There is no happiness in me! Who can set me free from my sinful old self? God's Law has power over my mind, but sin still has power over my sinful old self. I thank God I can be free through Jesus Christ our Lord!

While my heart and mind want to serve the Lord, be obediant, and walk with Him all of my days - my flesh, my body does not want to. It wants to stay up late watching Studio 60 or LOST so that I'm too tired the next day to wake early and spend my morning quiet time praising the Lord. Even when the Lord wakes me from a deep sleep and almost shouts in my mind, "Get up! Spend time with me!" and I'm even wide awake - I do not obey. I turn over, pull the covers over my head, and force myself to sleep again. My body does not want to minister to my husband when he returns from work, or when I'm sleepy, or have a migriane, or have had a rough day - I want him to take over for me and give me some "me" time. And even when it hits me - the time isn't mine to take, but the Lord's to give and for me to spend with Him, I still do not obey. It's not about me. It's about Jesus Christ - my Lord and my Savior. It's about my daily living sacrirfice to Him, and it's about my exercise of obediance when the Lord comes a-calling at 3:45 am.

King Uzziah had a glorious reign - he fortified the Southern Kingdom when his father, Amaziah had left it vulnerable; he was properous; he served the Lord and recieved instruction by Zecharaih in the ways and fear of the Lord - yet he still sucummbed to pride and aargonantly went into the Holy of Holies to light incense - this was the only authority withheld from him and given to the priests. At the end of his reign, the Bible does not state that he was remembered or spoken of as a visionary, great, or properous - even though he was. But rather, he was only remembered as a leper.

2 Chronicles 26:23 - for people said, "He had leprosy."

Do I want to walk my own way, independent of God and being just another person whom Paul spoke of when he stated:

"having a form of godliness but denying its power." 2 Tim. 3:5

Accepting Christ is one thing. Believing Him and applying it daily, walking it daily - is another. No wonder Jesus told us to take up our crosses and follow Him. When I think of what God allowed His Son to go through - why on Earth should I think I deserve any better AND that I will get through on my own? Even Jesus prayed in the Garden - and so should I.

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