(Any words in blue have a relating scripture which is listed at the bottom. Soon enough I will take the time to figure out linking these to a separate document. Until then, enjoy the colors!)
Because of pride and lies from sources other than the One who speaks only truth, it is most difficult to be rigorously honest when currently struggling though a situation. There is no condemnation in Christ Jesus, so guilt and shame are from another place. We may feel that we are being attacked by humans, even hurt by those who are closest to us, yet we must never forget that the Enemy is the enemy. It is easy to shift focus to blame those around us rather than taking full accountability for our errors in life. These missteps whether in speech, action, or posture of heart don’t need additional actions heaped atop the damage already done, but truly this is all guilt and shame accomplishes. It’s a trap and façade feeding the perception, “I am a failure” or “I’ll never be good enough.” This is a lie.
The enemy need only confuse and convince us we are still caterpillars, we are not worthy of our wings, and they must be only an illusion. Why we listen, when we clearly have wings is a mystery to me, but I fall for it too. When I go to anyone other than Christ to seek my identity I suffer a temporary de-capitation of my wings. I continually do it to myself. When I hurt, I seek immediate gratification, typically in the flesh rather than the Holy Spirit which always sends me reeling. It may have a short season of satisfaction, but always falls short of my desired outcome. The emotional hangover can last even longer when retaining this illusion of control. My pride hates to admit I fell for the lies (again) and some attempt at preserving my ego must be had-yet it too fails once more. Pride is my constant enemy and it can only be combated with the humility that comes from serving Christ.
“Humility is the only soil in which the graces root; the lack of humility is the sufficient explanation of every defect and failure. Humility is not so much a grace or virtue along with the others; it takes the right attitude before God, and allows Him as God to do all.” –Excerpt from Andrew Murray’s Humility
I can only come to the conclusion to further ask God to reveal my pride and ways to die to it, and to accept further pruning with a willing heart rather than run. The running always gets me in a heap of trouble. The enemy hooks me and I once again fall at God’s feet for mercy. This mercy I should accept but so often fight it, choosing to be more concerned with others perception of me rather than Christ’s opinion.
This is where I’ve so often become stuck in the transformation process, refusing to move forward. I’m looking at an audience of butterflies and moths rather than the One….the Son. Only in the Son’s light will I see myself clearly, but I continue looking through dimness trying to see who I am. He has already told me who I will always be to Him…His precious child cleansed and covered in His blood. I am bought at a price but constantly sell myself for worthless lusts. This world consumes me and uses my fear as fuel. I chase the flames asking to be burned more, maybe this time it will finish the job. But this fire cannot quench the Spirit; it makes the Spirit fight harder because He will never let me go. He has a better fire to offer-one of refinement to make us reflect His image. He’s rescued us from this darkness I try to return to time after time. I don’t fit in there anymore; I have this light that shines. It’s His light and treasure I carry around, not mine. It belongs and originates from the Glory of God and I cannot fuel it on my own. Therein lays my dilemma when I attempt to live life on my terms.
When I stray from His fellowship my light grows weak. The gifts He has graced us with, are just that, gifts. He entrusts us with His grace through “talents” used to glorify Him and edify the Body of Christ. These gifts are not our own nor do they make us “special” and above others believers. As His children we are all special but not above others. It’s by His grace we are saved so no man can boast. I boast a lot, but have no room or place to. When Christ makes us keenly aware of the enemy’s lies in our lives, it isn’t the awareness that makes us wise, but the decision to act in the wisdom he has given. I believe this is where so many of us stray and unfortunately I’m speaking from experience not presumption. The insight alone in how to respond to situations does not equate a life of wisdom-knowledge truly avails us nothing without action. It is the works and actions done in accordance with the insight God gives us, that produces a life lived wisely or in other words an abiding life.
“When the creature realizes that (the call to humility) is the true nobility, and consents to be with his will, his mind, and his affections, the form, the vessel in which the life and glory of God are to work and manifest themselves, he sees that humility is simply acknowledging the truth of his position as creature, and yielding to God His place.”–Excerpt from Andrew Murray’s Humility
So as I’m sitting in a painful, prideful pity party God is just waiting on me to put it aside and accept His love & fellowship. We can attempt to heal ourselves, to seek shelter in things of the world. But as time goes by, nothing changes. Time itself does not heal. The key to healing is time spent with a loving God who will hold nothing back to heal us. He already gave the blood of his only Son. This is where I’m stuck in my transformation process. I’m scared to death.
I like to imagine a caterpillar and am curious if she ever feels this way, frustrated and eager to participate in a reality outside the chrysalis. Imagine if she was removed too soon from her environment of transformation, it wouldn’t be pretty. Of course a caterpillar doesn’t wonder these things, she has no idea what is in store for her ahead, but God has an amazing plan for her nonetheless. We have many seasons lived in chrysalis of our own, you know the period of waiting where God will always prove true and is doing so much INSIDE of us. So often we are too focused on external circumstances to see it! As God continues to work things out inside of us I pray that we will focus on the hope in Christ who promises He will complete the work He began. This is where Hope exists in and through our circumstances.
“My fundamental identity in Christ supersedes whatever struggle I am going through now.” –Timothy Lane and Paul David Tripp, How People Change
Romans 8:1 (NIV84)
Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus,
The Enemy is the enemy-
Ephesians 6:12 (NIV84)
For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.
Pride is my constant enemy-
James 4:6 (ESV)
But he gives more grace. Therefore it says, “God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble.”
Concerned with others perception-
Galatians 1:10 (NET)
Am I now trying to gain the approval of people, or of God? Or am I trying to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a slave of Christ!
Bought at a price–
1 Corinthians 7:23 (NET)
You were bought with a price. Do not become slaves of men.
1 Corinthians 6:20 (NET)
For you were bought at a price. Therefore glorify God with your body.
Sell myself for worthless lusts-
James 4:1 (NIV)
What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you?
James 4:4 (NIV)
You adulterous people, don’t you know that friendship with the world means enmity against God? Therefore, anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God.
He will never let me go-
Deuteronomy 31:6 (NIV)
Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.”
Rescued us from this darkness-
2 Corinthians 4:6 (ESV)
For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.
His light and treasure-
2 Corinthians 4:7 (ESV)
But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us.
By His grace we are saved-
Ephesians 2:8-9 (ESV)
8 For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, 9 not a result of works, so that no one may boast.
Decision to act–
James 3:13 (NIV)
Who is wise and understanding among you? Let them show it by their good life, by deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom.
Works and actions-
James 2:22 (NIV)
You see that his faith and his actions were working together, and his faith was made complete by what he did.