Posts Tagged 'new life in Christ'

God’s Power Appears out of Our Weakness

In light of yesterday’s post about driving myself crazy with all the things I’ve found to do in my recent junket around Internet Marketing Land, I’d like to note some of the things that have been said by my pastor in Bible Class during the same time period. He’s in Florida. I’m in Arizona, and he doesn’t know about any of this.

So it’s been clear to me Who exactly is talking. God the Holy Spirit.

Here are some quotes from Pastor Farley’s messages:

“The thinking that originates from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil is an attack to get us away from the life of God and into a system where we turn from Him and it’s all up to us to discern between good and evil and make ourselves good.

“We want do’s and don’ts so we can just follow the rules. That IS the knowledge of good and evil.

I saw at once he was right.  In the six days of the restoration of the Earth, God looked at everything and kept saying it was good, good, very good. Adam was in the middle of this place of goodness. So what would he need the Knowledge of Good for? It was all around him. God walked with him in the garden daily and he knew God. Clearly this Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil was not what I always thought it was.

Just looking at the title and actually thinking about it also helped to clarify things:   it’s that function or capacity of creature tos think we have the capacity to figure out what’s good and what’s evil, when really we’re incapable of that. Incapable even before Adam fell, much more incapable now.

Even so we think we can do it. Just give me some rules and I’ll do the rest.  I like that idea. It’s comfortable and safe to have rules. You know what you’re going to do (you think) and how it’s going to go, you’ve got everything figured out so it’ll fit into the time and you’ll do good, whatever the category of “good” is. Could be a good job, a good party, a good word, or a good deed. The world says this is a good thing. Your flesh says it’s good, too.

I’ve found it’s very hard to really turn your back on this idea and live by faith. Until God starts making a point with you and it seems no matter what you do or plan, it almost never goes “right.” Worst is when you make the plan and then, for one reason or another,  fail yourself  to carry out your own plan, after which you beat yourself up because you didn’t do “right.”

Pastor Farley continued:

“The idea of this and trying to live a life this way is impossible. Realize you are a sinner, hopeless and helpless and call on Him.  Life isn’t about me trying to work things out according to good and evil.

In the past I’ve always taken this good and evil thing to mean moral issues or spiritual issues (like demon type spiritual issues) but suddenly I realized it had application to every day issues.

Like all these things I’ve been told I have to do if I want to succeed in the writing world. Things that make sense to do, but that I haven’t had time to do.  How can I figure out which of them is good and which is not? Which I should do and which I shouldn’t. How I can make my schedule work (good) so that it can fit everything in that seems good to do? I don’t want to make a mistake (evil)  and do the wrong thing so that I fail to fit everything in…

“Understand that God gives us one day at a time to live and we should live it for all it’s worth. Rather than focus on what I think we too much do focus on — that old tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil — we should focus on the fact that the Holy Spirit living inside us wants us to live a mystery form of the Tree of Life.

“And yet sometimes we live our lives like we’re still the old man — all caught up in what’s good and what’s evil [about the people and situations in our lives — who’s right and who’s wrong] when in reality the Lord’s calling us through the Holy Spirit to a life of freedom. We should get up every day and orient to His resurrection and live that life He’s called us to.

“And YOU CANT DO BOTH!!

That is, you can’t live the life of freedom at the same time as you’re always trying to figure out what’s the right thing and the wrong thing, and having all these rules you think you have to follow to be happy.

That statement hit me hard. Talk about double-minded! I’d been experiencing it. Should I do all these things… start the Facebook page, work on my website, improve my titling?  Maybe if I set up a schedule and this time really stick to it, maybe I could get it all done… If I just had more discipline… if I just…

“Wake up!  These situations where you complain and murmur, feel bad about yourself, and are frustrated… That is ALWAYS where God’s power goes to work. You gotta stop fussing and fuming and thinking how you’re gonna do this better, get a better plan, a better planner, one that will finally get all my things together so you’ll be very efficient and able to call more people and do more things and finally your life will be good… No!

STOP THAT!

Stop it and just say, “Okay. Paul says, ‘I will rather boast in my weakness so the glory of Christ might be revealed…’ so the next time one of those things hits like, ‘Ah, I should’ve done this, I should’ve done that…’ STOP! And say, “Pfft. I’m frail. And this is a great opportunity to say, “Watch the power of God at work!”

And all the foibles of the old man getting the better of us — God doesn’t condemn us in that, He just wants us to start to see it. I’m supposed to get to these places where I don’t have what it takes. Supposed to. Because God’s power is made manifest in my weakness.

So. I’ve returned to the conclusion that I am not going to drive myself crazy trying to figure everything out and all that. I’m using the Pomodoro technique generally. But if the words start to flow and the timer goes off — too bad. Word flow always takes precedence over a timer. I can go take a break when the flow stops.

Which is what I intend to do right now, seeing as that is exactly what’s happened. 🙂

Advertisements

Waiting Rooms

I started out this last week with a doctor’s appointment at 9am Monday. This was a reschedule, when my appointment the previous week had been cancelled. They warned me then that the wait would be “longer than usual” because they were transferring all their patients’ files over to digital. Well, I figured that with the 9am appointment being among the first of the day the wait wouldn’t be so bad. I figured I’d be home by 9:30, 10 at the latest. So confident of this was I that I didn’t eat breakfast, partly because I didn’t have time and partly because I wasn’t yet hungry.

I was in that office nearly two hours, most of it spent waiting first in the waiting room (an hour) and the exam room (probably another half hour to 45 minutes). I read Everyday Life in Ancient Rome until I got bored with it. Then tried writing in my morning pages journal, but my hand went to sleep. I asked God why He’d set this up. I was just sitting there, doing nothing, my time wasted…

Tonight, in Bible Class I believe He answered. As I think I may have mentioned Pastor Farley has been teaching lately on Galatians 2:20

“I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh(body) I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and delivered Himself up for me.”

Specifically that the old me, the fleshly me, the one that gets angry and discouraged and fearful and is unloving and unkind and impatient, that me has been crucified with Christ. She’s dead, and her problems and limitations have no place in the life that Christ is wanting me to allow Him to live through me.

We live the Christian life the same way we came into it — by faith in the work of another. Belief in the person and work of Christ on the cross is efficacious for salvation,  yes, but also for everything we do afterward.  Because all the things we’re commanded to do as Christians, loving the brethren, loving our enemies, the fruit we’re supposed to have — we can’t do in ourselves.  Only He can.

I’ve known this in part for some time. What I’ve not understood is how it’s actually implemented. I’m still not sure, though I’ve written posts about letting the Lord have control, and letting Him fill in the details of my days, and take care of the book and the deadline and the audience.  The book and the deadline and the audience I understand better than the first half of that sentence. How exactly do I let Him have control, anyway?

Recently, having determined that I was going to relax and not have a routine and just let the Lord direct me,  and then bungling around and not really making the kind of consistent progress I’d hoped, I came upon an article by a prominent Christian stating that it’s clear that if you want to accomplish something difficult and worthwhile you must deny yourself “a thousand unimportant things and a few hundred important things in order to do the one thing that matters most…” She went on to say specifically that this applies to writing. That writing is, in fact, “entirely a matter of self discipline.” You have to sit yourself down. You have to shut yourself up, you must restrict your enthusiasms, you must control your maunderings.

I immediately thought that that made perfect sense and the Lord had sent it along to remind me that I did need to discipline myself, after all. That all that ‘leave it to the Lord’ stuff was just too lax and this only made sense. And so the pendulum swung back again.

The problem is… I don’t seem to have the ability to do it — discipline myself, I mean. Even when I set myself to it, I fail. Repeatedly. For a myriad of reasons. So now, after that brief regression to the old, temporarily more comfortable, allegedly more “sensible” way, I’ve changed my mind about why He brought that piece to my attention: not to follow its advice but so I could see more clearly the contrast. To show me that it’s not that way. Because that way is not a way of faith in another, but of faith in oneself. I’m the one doing the work — disciplining my self, sitting my self down, shutting my self up, denying my self… I’m the one producing the “fruit” by my determination and my effort, not something the Holy Spirit’s doing in me.

Then there’s the “What Would Jesus Do?” approach, where in a situation you ask yourself what He’d do and then you try to make yourself do that. “Throw that out!” said Pastor Farley tonight. Because that’s not really the life of Christ in you, it’s the life of you attempting to imitate Christ.

No, the answer is faith. “I’m giving the matter of my lack of self-discipline and the whole project of writing this book over to you, Lord. You do it. I have proven myself unable to do it time and again, but I know You can. So I’ll quit trying to scheme and schedule and control and force and demand and reprimand and condemn and deny self and instead, wait for You to come through.”

The only catch is that often when He does come through,  it doesn’t necessarily look the way you think it should. The way you have it planned. It may include long boring waits in a doctor’s waiting and exam rooms where all your plans and expectations for the day are dashed and you have the option of sitting there  mindlessly studying the baby pictures on the wall and wondering when the doctor will come (and he used exactly this kind of situation tonight) or…  you can use the time to recall that the main reason we’re left here after salvation has nothing to do with the natural world, and everything to do with the spiritual world. And you can tap into that, use this alone and “powerless” time… to pray!

Whoa. Never thought of that.

And Pastor Farley didn’t mean that we’re to pray for the doctor to come in and stop wasting our time, or the traffic jam to break up, but really pray… for people, for situations you’re aware of, for your pastor, for unbelievers in your life, for missionaries… for whatever He lays on your heart.

It’s not about me and my schedules and my efforts to make everything work out.  Not that having routines is a bad thing — I don’t think it is — just that when those routines get interrupted, there’s no reason to fuss. It’s just a matter of “not my will, but yours be done, Lord.” And maybe to look for some greater purpose in the situation beyond the one you had in mind.


Categories

My Online Church

Visit my Old Blog Here:

Music I’m Writing To

Transformers (Revenge of the Fallen) Soundtrack - Steve Jablonsky

Advertisements

%d bloggers like this: