Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Conditioned or Created?

Lately I have found myself being tempted to draw inward.  With so much stress all around me, my first reaction is usually to retreat.  It's quite strange though, because even though everything in me wants to go into hiding, I am compelled into action.  

I have been able to cling to a few verses to push me forward in this battle rather than retreat:

"There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.  For the law of the Spirit of life has set you  free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death." Romans 8: 1,2

"For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline." 2 Timothy 1:7

As thoughts and feelings pop into my head, I ask myself, "Is this how I was created to be, or how I have been conditioned to be?"

"Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride in possessions—is not from the Father but is from the world.  And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever." 1 John 2: 15-17

"If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is your life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory." Colossians 3: 1-3

I really think that so often the easiest thing to do is the one that I've always done.  However, I wonder if that is the best thing.  Am I following the way that the world has taught me to live or the way that God has set before me?  It's almost impossible to walk in faith when we have learned to figure out and plan every step of our life.  For me, control has become an automatic reflex.

Occasionally, seasons come where God clouds all illusions of control and puts faith to the test.  With my faith shaken up, I have become an emotional roller coaster.  This challenges me to not rely on my emotions, but on the Word of God.  It forces me to build trust in His plan rather than to fall into my usual pit of self pity.  I want to be available to be used by God and I know that if I get lost in myself, I won't see the opportunities He brings my way.

In the parable of the rich young ruler, I see not only someone that loved his possessions, but a man who had become accustomed to the way things always were for him.  He loved what he knew so much that he turned His back and walked away from Jesus.

"And a ruler asked him, 'Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?'  And Jesus said to him, 'Why do you call me good? No one is good except God alone.  You know the commandments: ‘Do not commit adultery, Do not murder, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Honor your father and mother." And he said, 'All these I have kept from my youth.'  When Jesus heard this, he said to him, 'One thing you still lack. Sell all that you have and distribute to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me.'  But when he heard these things, he became very sad, for he was extremely rich."  Luke 18:18-23

While I might not have much problem giving away my possessions, I think that Christ would ask me to let go of something much more dear to my heart, something less tangible, but just as influential as the money that bound the young ruler to the world. "Lisa, one thing you still lack (though there is much more than one), tear down that inner fortress you like to hide in and all the fears, insecurities, hopelessness that it holds. Your home is in heaven, come, follow me. I am your security and your hope."

It's time to let go of the world as we have always known it and trust Christ with everything in us. His plan is far better and His ways are far higher than ours.

"Thus says the Lord,
who makes a way in the sea,
a path in the mighty waters,
who brings forth chariot and horse,
army and warrior;
they lie down, they cannot rise,
they are extinguished, quenched like a wick:
'Remember not the former things,
nor consider the things of old.
Behold, I am doing a new thing;
now it springs forth, do you not perceive it?
I will make a way in the wilderness
and rivers in the desert.'"  Isaiah 43: 16-19


My Life as a Mom said...

We all struggle with those things we want to hold on to--such a good post! Thanks!

John McGeough said...

I think there are seasons when we have to get alone with God in earnest heartfelt prayer. We need quiet time with him in order to stay balanced. You are following the right path.. Keep it up... you are inspiring.

Lisa T said...

We most certainly are created for prayer. One of the most important "actions" that we can do. Self-pity, however, just causes me to lose focus and take my eyes off of God. When we withdraw to pray, we are moving closer to God, not further away from Him.

Thanks for your comments!

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