Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Why Me? (and other musings on the theory of pity parties)

WHY?  Why does it always have to be me?  Why can't I get to spread happy news about myself, and somebody else get to experience the joy that comes with only having sadness to share with everyone?


This is possibly one of my favorite questions!  Consider it on the top of my "questions I like to ask myself when throwing a pity-party".

Now, I am actually sort of serious when I say this, but I think my heart is a magnet.  I mean it!  I'm not talking about those little itty bitty magnets, but the really powerful ones!  Ones that have a really strong attracting force, but can shatter in the blink of an eye.  My reasoning behind this ridiculous hypothesis, is that I feel like I get slammed with innumerable false accusations, every single day of my life!  (*violin music here would be nice*) When I am "pity-partying",  I honestly think that the Queen of hearts from Alice in Wonderland, had a pretty good life.  Being able to yell "off with his head" all day long, doesn't sound too bad; having people actually be afraid of enraging you, would protect one from a lot of heartache...but you know what that would require?

A heart of stone..

"I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; I will take the heart of stone out of your flesh and give you a heart of flesh."  Ezekiel 36:26

In order to protect myself in a way that my emotions would deem adequate, I would need to give up the very thing that God has promised to give His chosen ones.  And frankly, I am not willing to sacrifice my sanctification and character on the altar of carnal happiness.

So the real question I should ask myself in said pity parties, is "why not me?"  Why should I be the one who never hurts?  Why should I get to escape the pain that comes along with devotion to Jesus?  Regretting the hardships that come with a heart that is being fused to Christ, is conveying the idea that I want to die and go to Heaven, but I am not really willing to sacrifice everything and walk the life of a Christian....and to be honest, that is not how I want to be.  That is not what I want to shout to the world!  I want to tell the world, that I am happy to give up every scrap I could possibly gather and give it to my Savior!  I want everyone to know, that there is a joy that comes with being a Christian, and it is one that can never be equaled.  I don't want people to have the impression that being a Christian is dull and depressing!  But the only way to conquer my faults in this area, is to understand why it can feel burdensome at times.

When my thinking is geared towards how my flesh can be satisfied, I will never be happy!  It is as simple as that.  The only thing that can ever truly satisfy a person, is redemption in Jesus Christ, and being able to relish in that, requires us to walk in the Spirit.  Hence, when we walk in our flesh, we will not ever have our seemingly unquenchable desires satisfied.  

Another why that I find particularly good, is "why am I struggling?"  What is it that is holding me back?  Could it be...peoples' opinion of you?  (*cough* I am not talking to myself here, just you ;)  Now mind you, if you are concerned with the idea people are getting of Christianity because of you, that is a good concern....but that is not what I really mean here, and you know it.  What I am talking about, is thinking that maybe someone won't like you if you decide that you don't want to watch that film with them.  That maybe if you stand up and say you don't support devilish music, someone might dub you the village snob.  But when it comes to a stand for all things Biblical, looking like a snob is the least of our worries.  Being worried about the eternal state of souls, your character and your witness to others is cause for concern.

And now that we are coming to the end of this post, I have come to a resolution!!  (please hold back the applauding, my soap box is not in the closet yet)  I am going to try harder at endeavoring to completely forgive those who seek my hurt, because the reality of it is, when people use their words, keyboards, blogs, lies and rumors to hurt Christians, they are in fact, not really attacking the person because of their eye color or height, but they are attacking the Person the Christian possesses...which is Jesus Christ.  Now, if you had a toss up between being loved and adored by all, and not bearing the name of our Savior; or, being hated by every human being there is to hate you, and clinging to Him for every milli-second of the rest of your life, which would you choose?  

Oh, ultimatums are the worst, aren't they?  But the life of a warrior, I shall choose; because Christ has chosen me to fight a battle to advance a kingdom, and by the grace of almighty God, laziness I shall not embrace!  

"If the world hates you, you know that it hated Me before it hated you.  If you were of the world, the world would love its own. Yet because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you.  Remember the word that I said to you, 'A servant is not greater than his master.' If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you. If they kept My word, they will keep yours also.  But all these things they will do to you for My name's sake, because they do not know Him who sent Me."  John 15:18-21

 "Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice.  And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you."  Ephesians 4:29-32



Tuesday, September 6, 2011

A Pilgrimage

"Blessed is the man whose strength is in You, 
Whose heart is set on pilgrimage."  Psalm 84:5 

This is one of my favorite Scriptures!  Pilgrimage is loosely translated, "a journey to a holy place".  I love the mental picture we are given here; the picture of someone whose heart is set on a journey to a holy place.  The idea of our lives being of infinitely more value, than just the day to day mundane tasks that can ensue us, is invigorating.  

Just knowing, that our value does not lie within our works, or our accomplishments-- but rather, our worth is seen through the veil of Jesus Christ, which covers us, is such great assurance and encouragement!  God sees us as vessels that are journeying through this life, fighting and battling; and that He has purchased, through the blood of His perfect Son.

But this verse also makes me ask myself, if my heart is set on pilgrimage?

Do I really want a life, that is wandering from place to place, solely for the sake of advancing God's  Kingdom?  Do I earnestly desire, to fight every single, solitary day, for the remainder of my days, for this Kingdom, sometimes feeling so weary and despondent, that I cannot make another move?  

In other words..... am I willing to suffer?

Am I willing to suffer all for the cause of Jesus Christ?  Am I willing to sacrifice EVERYTHING, for the sake of His Gospel?  Am I willing to live a life that others would deem sad and pitiful, merely because I love Him so much?  

Am I willing?

Now, around forty-five minutes ago, you could have asked me that question, and I would have given you a hearty and resounding NO!  I would have said, it is too hard, I can't take that much pain!  I can't take the suffering, the seeming oppression, the chaos and the hurt.  

But then this verse comes to my heart....I hear these words from my beautiful Savior and I think, bring it on!  Pour out the fiery persecution!  I can take it, because the difficulties I deal with, are nothing in comparison to what Christ has suffered on my behalf!  He knows what I go through, and even more!  Suffering, because I possess the name of Jesus, might be hard, but the end result makes it one of the most fulfilling and rewarding things to deal with!  This life is so fleeting; dealing with a temporary sting, for an eternal glory brings so much joy and peace to my weeping soul, that my mourning is turned to joy in the blink of an eye!  

When I attempt to fathom the love that God has bestowed upon my soul, I feel overwhelmed.  Trying to grasp what took place at the moment of my redemption, makes me feel so unworthy.  But nothing brings more comfort, than understanding the healing balm of grace!  The grace of Almighty God is a powerful thing.  We cannot understand why God chooses to give it to us, but we can understand how it affects us!  We can know, that His grace is sufficient and covers all of our infirmities and imperfections.  That His guiding Hand, is the only Light that I journey toward. 

So now comes the major difficulty....are we going to sit around in our unfortunate circumstances, and allow the enemy to plunder our joy and replace it with despair; or are we going to arise and fight?!  Are we going to allow ourselves to drown in depression; or are we going to say, blasted be the spirit of hopelessness?!  God is mighty!  What on earth have we to fear?  What have we to lose?  Nothing.  If we die, it is all to God's glory.  If we suffer horrible persecution, it is all to God's glory.  What more can we ask for?  What else could we possibly want than to bring Him glory?  

In every circumstance, we really need to be searching out the ways we can put off our sin and pride.  Making it a life purpose to convey Christ to the world isn't easy, and it is certainly not for those who desire to cling to their sin or their selfishness.  Even though we will always have sin, we should hate it and be endeavoring to put it off.  Denying our flesh and defeating carnality, is a life long process--but it is a process that is fully rewarding!  

Whether it be in our darkest hours, or the peak of our rejoicing, let us constantly seek God's face!

"The law of the LORD is perfect, converting the soul; The testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple; The statutes of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart; The commandment of the LORD is pure, enlightening the eyes;...Cleanse me from secret faults.  Keep back Your servant also from presumptuous sins; Let them not have dominion over me.  Then I shall be blameless, And I shall be innocent of transgression.  Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart Be acceptable in Your sight, O LORD, my strength and my Redeemer."  Psalm 19:7-8 & 12b-14