Prolonging the Misery

Literally the LAST thing I should be doing right now is writing a blog post.

I should be writing a 12 page paper on Faith, Hope, and Love and why Love is the greatest of those three.

I should be memorizing 2 Timothy.

I should be reading the Memoir of the Rev. R.M. M’Cheyne.

But, of course, I even resorted to doing my taxes on Saturday night as a way of evading these glorious and wonderful tasks, so why not add a blog entry to the list of procrastination activities?

I’ll start by saying the past few days have been painful for me. Not painful in a “I just broke my leg” way, or in a “I just broke my heart” way. They have been full of the kind of pain when God is stripping you of yourself.

It started on Thursday when I met with my pastor, Dave Michelson. The last time I met with him, the man ripped me to shreds. The best, most glorious shredding I have experienced in a long time (probably since Siona took me to the beach and told me I was a horrible, faithless, sinner in the best way possible.) Anyways, my point is that this week when I went to meet Pastor Michelson I was expecting a shredding. What I was not expecting was how resistant I would be to the shredding I would receive this time.

I left his office convinced of three things: 1) He was right; 2) I was/am sinning; 3) I am proud. I was not convinced that I wanted to change. Even though I knew the way I was acting was sinful, even though I knew he was spot on, I still didn’t want to give up my own will. That’s what it really came down to. I wanted what I wanted and at any cost. This was and is evidence of my pride.

So fast forward a few days. I put forth a meager effort to pray that God would humble me (and possiblyevenchangeme) and a very meager effort to try to change. But God was already at work in the humbling department. He brought a situation at exactly the right time for me to see how proud I had become (unfortunately, the cost for this lesson was a wounded friend in the process.) Wounding a friend is never pleasant, so that situation punched me in the gut real good. Still, it’s hard to know if I was more sad about my reputation or my sin. So, God had something else in store for me.

Today He brought up another situation where I would choose to cling to my own will instead of submitting to His. All day long I was torn up by this desire to have my own way, and yet feeling and knowing that it wasn’t the right thing – it wasn’t the loving thing, it wasn’t the selfless thing, it wasn’t the humble thing – pretty much, I had no way of getting around it.

I thought of Christ’s words in John 10:17-18, “For this reason the Father loves Me, because I lay down My life so that I may take it again. No one has taken it away from Me, but I lay it down on My own initiative. I have authority to lay it down, and I have authority to take it up again. This commandment I received from My Father.”

Christ laid down His life. He may have been sentenced to death, He may have been crucified, but He was the one that laid it down on His own initiative.

And yet, here I was, claiming to be His disciple and yet unwilling to lay down my own life. Again, Jesus’ words were ringing in my ears, “Then Jesus said to His disciples, ‘If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me. For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it; but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it'” (Matthew 16:24-25).

I just couldn’t let go of what I wanted. I didn’t want to let go. I didn’t want to lose my life. I wanted to save it.

As Pastor Michelson would say, I was/am choosing to prolong my own misery.

I wish I could tell you I had this profound revelation and turned around and changed my mind. I wish I could tell you my heart is in a much different place and I’m willing to lose my life for the sake of the gospel. None of that has happened…yet.

What did happen was I listened to Lecrae’s song, Background, on repeat as I drove home and this line stuck out to me,

“I know I’m safest when I’m in your will and trust Your Word/and I know I’m dangerous when I trust myself my vision blurred.”

I realized that I am currently dangerous.

And I remembered one of my dad’s favorite quotes from one of his closest friends, Dave Hegg,

“Faith is a life-dominating conviction that whatever God has for me through obedience is better by far than anything the world or Satan can offer through selfishness and sin.”

I remembered that God has yet to bring me through anything that was not “better by far” in the end. I’m sure this will be no different. Even though the process feels painful right now, as God peels back layers of my sin and selfishness, I’m sure I will look back and see that what I gained through obedience was better by far.

So my confession tonight is that I’m not at a point where I really want to obey yet. I’m still very afraid of what it will cost if I do. But God did bring me to a point where at least I want to want to obey.

I’m a sinner in need of a Savior.

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