Tuesday, July 23, 2013
I stumbled over this one today, like tripping over a kid's toy laying in the floor. It was waiting for me.
I know it's there, but all of a sudden I am tumbling head first. It's going to be painful and I know it. I can already feel the bruised knees, hands... maybe even my head. No... I'm not gonna like this one bit. There is gonna be pain. A lot of pain.
This time it isn't a toy in the floor or a shoe I left laying or a rug that was out of place. I didn't stumble over an inanimate object.
No, this time, it is words. Living Words. Words that hit me like a ton of bricks. Words that pierce my heart and make me sick in my soul.
To be more specific, these are the words that bruised and pierced my ego, my heart and my conscience:
"For sin shall not have dominion over you, for you are not under law but under grace." (Romans 6:14)
Sin. Shall NOT. Have. Dominion.
This makes me think of Gandalf the Grey standing on the narrow bridge with his wizard's staff of light and authority. With every shred of power he possesses, he commands the fiery and fearsome Balrog in a bold and dangerous voice "You... shall.... NOT.... pass!"
It was a long and powerful battle. Gandalf stood his ground and the demonic Balrog fell, carrying the wizard with him in a struggle to the death. Gandalf overcame. He survived and grew stronger and wiser.
This is Dominion: rule, control, authority, sovereign, supreme power, supreme rule, supreme authority, territory.
Sum it up in this word: Lordship.
A bruise is forming as I write. Pain is kicking in and I don't think a bottle of aspirin will salve the hurt away.
I am God's territory. Under His grace. I belong to Him... not part and parcel, but in whole.
The deal for my life, my spirit and my future was made on the Cross. It was purchased by holy blood. He is the Master.
If He owns me and I am under His grace, this territory should have a wall of protection around it to keep out sin. It should be a wall that I maintain carefully to be sure there are no weak areas. There should be lights on the perimeter shining into the darkness. Lights for my protection and to show others that this territory... this person... is part of the Kingdom and they are invited.
Sin should not be a welcome visitor, much less a permanent guest.
According to the Word, since I am no longer under the ownership, lordship or supreme authority of sin, then it should not be a part of my life.
In fact, the only way it can be a part of my life is if I give it authority over me. If I permit it. If I tolerate it. If I want it there. If I excuse it.
According to the Word, I am dead to sin. I should consider myself dead to sin. It has no power or hold over me.
Because of Jesus' sacrifice and the salvation I so eagerly asked for and received, I am dead to the power of sin to condemn me.
But is sin dead to me?
Sin knows my owner. Sin knows Whose I am. Yet it unceasingly plots and plans to retake this blood bought territory. It wants to infiltrate and invade my life once more and to discredit my Lord by luring me into wrong choices and actions.
It creeps around and sneaks in through the back doorways, the weakened points in this territory's walls. It slithers past the shadow of the lights that I have let burn out. Sometimes it boldly raises its head and gleefully attacks.
At those times, I should stand firm like Gandalf and forbid it to have entry. I should remember I am clad in God's armor of light and have been given the sword of the spirit. After all, I am under the authority of God's grace. He is powerful. Sin can not exist in His presence. I should simply remind the snake of my Master and of Jesus' authority. Tell him whose property he has crept into.
However, sometimes in a completely insane act of rebellion, I intentionally open the gates of the Kingdom and invite the trespasser and liar into this territory. I give the liar and murderer illegitimate lordship over an area of my life. Did I say intentionally?
Yeah... that would be me. The Rebel.
Who am I in rebellion against? I can't be in rebellion against sin, because God's Word says that sin shall not have dominion over me. Why would I rebel against something that has no power or control over me? What would be the purpose?
So if I am rebelling, then I am rebelling against God? Against His authority? Conspiring with sin against the Almighty? In collusion with evil? A traitor to the King? Because I want to?
Like I said, I knew this was going to be painful. I don't want to believe that I could be so inconsiderate of His love. His sacrifice. His grace.
It may be a struggle. A battle against a foe more evil and fearsome than the Balrog. But I know that through the grace of God's power and might, I will overcome because Jesus overcame. I will grow stronger in grace and more wise because of Him.
I am so thankful that my heavenly Father is forgiving of His rebellious children. Thankful for His grace.
Saturday, July 13, 2013
The story of Jonah came to life for me way back in 1998.
You know... the guy that got swallowed by the whale?
No... I wasn't being swallowed up by a whale. But I was being swallowed up by the problems of life.
God used His story of Jonah to get my attention. He brought His Word to life in my mind and spirit through Jonah and made me understand that if He could save Jonah from the inside of the belly of a fish... from that horrible pit of a prison from where there was no escape.... then He could do anything in my life.
Miracles became more than an imaginary image in my head. They were real and could happen for me. God did a miracle in my life during that time. He brought me out of the pit and set me on solid ground. His ground.
I've been in a pit or two since then, but never without knowing that He would bring me out.
Now... in 2013, a little over 14 years later, He points me to Jonah once again.
This time, these are some of the things I have learned:
1. Go where He says go even if it doesn't make sense to me.
2. Preach to whom He says preach even if they don't want to hear.
3. My opinion of the 'lost' does not matter. (Jonah didn't like those he was sent to warn)
4. Everyone needs Him. Every. One. So love every one because He loves.
5. God has pity and compassion on whom He will have pity and compassion on... even the most blatant and worst sinner. It is not up to me to decide.
6. I am no better and no more deserving of His mercy than anyone else.
7. Trust Him and do what He asks me to do.... even if I don't understand or agree with Him.
8. Agree anyway.... avoid the storm and the pit.
It's some pretty basic stuff.
Not complicated at all.