Tuesday, January 26, 2016

I'm holding a funeral...The things I don't want to do... but do anyways...

Recently I sat down with someone whom I greatly trust and that person pointed out a few... let's say flaws... or maybe weaknesses in me. While these conversations are always hard, nothing he said was a surprise to me. I know the things that this person mentioned are things I do. Things I don't want to do, but do anyways. I can be so stubborn and hard headed... and well... this tends to lead me to respond in ways that are very not loving or Christ-like... or maybe you would never even know, but in my heart a bitterness is growing.

Sometimes I tend to just ignore what I know is right and push forward with my own agenda. This can cause problems in my marriage... in my work... in my relationships... and in just the opinion others have of me. I can't stand that I get so stuck in my ways about things. And honestly, I've posted about it before, it's my heart. It gets in the way... it gets attached to an idea... and to change that is like ripping my heart out. And then, other times, it's my heart again, not being attached to something, but being so concerned about causing another person pain, or a problem or just not being able to please everyone. So when I get so insistent on an idea, I may be giving one person everything they want, but not someone else, and I struggle with that!

So, again, nothing in this conversation I had was false, and nothing was new to me. The question in my mind, was how do I fix it? How do I change a part of me that has been a part of me for a long time.... I have to say, I have gotten better. There are things about me that I knew were a weakness that I have improved on. My hard head has softened just a little, but I tend to still forge ahead doing my thing many times without thinking. Sometimes I question if that is a bad thing, I mean some people may even call it initiative... my husband may disagree with that description though. I guess when it really comes down to it, my stubbornness and attitude that comes into play through that is a sin. And while I often will brush it aside, it is a sin that really has to be dealt with, and I am not sure how to fix it.

Romans 7: 15 - 24 says, "I can anticipate the response that is coming: “I know that all God’s commands are spiritual, but I’m not. Isn’t this also your experience?” Yes. I’m full of myself—after all, I’ve spent a long time in sin’s prison. What I don’t understand about myself is that I decide one way, but then I act another, doing things I absolutely despise. So if I can’t be trusted to figure out what is best for myself and then do it, it becomes obvious that God’s command is necessary.
But I need something more! For if I know the law but still can’t keep it, and if the power of sin within me keeps sabotaging my best intentions, I obviously need help! I realize that I don’t have what it takes. I can will it, but I can’t do it. I decide to do good, but I don’t really do it; I decide not to do bad, but then I do it anyway. My decisions, such as they are, don’t result in actions. Something has gone wrong deep within me and gets the better of me every time.
 It happens so regularly that it’s predictable. The moment I decide to do good, sin is there to trip me up. I truly delight in God’s commands, but it’s pretty obvious that not all of me joins in that delight. Parts of me covertly rebel, and just when I least expect it, they take charge.
I’ve tried everything and nothing helps. I’m at the end of my rope. Is there no one who can do anything for me? Isn’t that the real question?" 

I read this passage and man it really hit me. This is exactly how I feel. "What I don't understand about myself is that I decide one way, but then I act another, doing things I absolutely despise!" YES!!! This is so true! I don't want to act in a way that leads someone I trust to have to sit down and point out my flaws, but I do! And what is so bad is I knew what they were going to say, I wasn't surprised! SO then why do I act that way??? And yes, it is true, I know the law, I know what God's command says, but yet I keep sabotaging my best intentions! Why??? So I feel very much like the end of this passage states, "I've tried everything and nothing helps. I'm at the end of my rope." Where do I go from here? Where do I go from the place of I know what to do, but yet I do what I don't want to do. 

Well, thankfully verse 24 is not the last verse, there is a verse 25. Romans 7:25, "The answer, thank God, is that Jesus Christ can and does. He acted to set things right in this life of contradictions where I want to serve God with all my heart and mind, but am pulled by the influence of sin to do something totally different." 

Jesus, Jesus knows the answer, Jesus is the answer. When I feel at the end of my rope, and question who can help me... the answer is Jesus can. 
1. He paid the price for my sin. So while I get so frustrated and hate myself for my sin, because of what Jesus did in dying for my sin, I can know that God does not hate me. And I can still spend eternity in heaven with Him. (This doesn't mean I should ignore the fact that I sin however, I should still try to improve...) 
2. Jesus is there to comfort when I just don't know what to do I can pour my heart out to Him, and he will answer. Jesus knows, he has been God in the flesh. He knows what it is like to have to fight sin. 
3. Lastly, I don't have to be perfect... Jesus was the only perfect person. I need to stop focusing on myself, and more on what God is doing in me for others. 

Romans 8:5-8 says, "Those who think they can do it on their own end up obsessed with measuring their own moral muscle but never get around to exercising it in real life. Those who trust God’s action in them find that God’s Spirit is in them—living and breathing God! Obsession with self in these matters is a dead end; attention to God leads us out into the open, into a spacious, free life. Focusing on the self is the opposite of focusing on God. Anyone completely absorbed in self ignores God, ends up thinking more about self than God. That person ignores who God is and what he is doing. And God isn’t pleased at being ignored." 
I don't have to try to focus on fixing myself, I need to be focused on God. I need to remember that God's Spirit is in me... and think what it is God wants me to be doing. The Bible is clear about what I should be doing in my relationship with my husband, in my relationship with my kids, in my work, in all that I do. 
Romans 8:12 - 14 goes on to say, So don’t you see that we don’t owe this old do-it-yourself life one red cent. There’s nothing in it for us, nothing at all. The best thing to do is give it a decent burial and get on with your new life. God’s Spirit beckons. There are things to do and places to go!" 
It is time to give my stubborn, I am going to do this my way, attitude a funeral. I have a new life, I have had a new life since I acknowledged that God sent his son Jesus to die for my sins and I said I want to follow you for the rest of my life and bring glory to your name. So, then why do I let this part of me live that I know should have died so long ago. 

So it is time for a funeral. It is time to say, What is it you want God? Even if it hurts...(I mean dying is never pain free... someone whether the deceased of those left behind feel some sort of pain)... even if it means that I will have to let go of some things that I have been clinging to for awhile.... the stubborn, do it my way, do it myself attitude has got to be buried, and the do it God's way has got to be born and cared for and grown. 

My way may be all adventurous, but to truly be beautiful, God's way has to be a part of the journey too. 

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