My brain hurts. Thus, I blog. Yeah, I know, brace yourself, right? Unloading my thoughts in the form of a blog usually means a long, jumbled, confusing to everyone but me post. Oh well.
K. So, here's the thing. I've been feeling convicted lately about being convicted. Funny thing, huh? I've often thought that as Christians, we make up our own set of sins ... you know, the kind that don't always look that sinful. We don't murder, we don't steal (really), we are faithful to our spouse. We say we love God and love our neighbors. Sweet. Everything else is all about freedom, right?
There is a passage in several areas of the bible that state a similar idea as what is found in Mark 7:20-22 - What comes out of a person is what defiles him. For from within, out of the heart of man, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, coveting, wickedness, deceit, sensuality, envy, slander, pride, foolishness.
I laugh every time I stumble across these verses. I mean, seriously, look - you've got murder, and adultery sitting next to coveting, envy, and foolishness. Foolishness? Really? There is actually somewhere in my Bible where a verse similar to this is found that I had the nerve to underline the sins I struggle with and leave the rest for the real pagans to find. Um, notice Pride was in there too.... cuz I missed it obviously.
I'm somehow capable of Christianizing my sins. (I know, that's not a word. I made it up, because I can.) What I mean by that is that I take the verses in Romans 14 about being fully convinced in my own mind (14:5) as this major freedom to run with to do what I am fully convinced of. There are lots of things I'm fully convinced of. But most of them probably aren't very honoring to God. Now all of a sudden, it becomes sort of easy to overlook the little things. Sadly, it's the little things where the Enemy most often seeks to steal, kill, and destroy. With every passing "Christianized sin", my heart grows a little colder, my mind a little weaker, and my hearing of the Spirits voice a little fainter.
It becomes easy for me to make my walk with Jesus this checklist of things I'm getting right. Not murdering anyone - check. Remaining faithful to my spouse - check. Not stealing anything - check. Great. What about the miriad of other heart issues the Bible speaks to? What about selfishness, bitterness, envy, covetnous, anger, a quarellsome spirit, my stupid dripping faucet, glutony, "prayer gossip" (ouch), judgemental spirit (that's another big one for me, I confess). There are millions. We all have our own issues too. We all have a role before Christ that we aren't really doing our best with. Our role as a friend, as a husband or a wife (big passion of mine), a mom or a dad (another big passion), a sister or a brother (in Christ and as earthly family), a daughter or a son, a child of a living God who died for more than we give Him credit for. I know that I'm so quick to become enslaved to my way of life and the things that I cherish and value ... that I MISS what He values. I miss what His way for my life would be. Only most of the time I don't realize I'm enslaved, because I think I'm just living out my freedoms. Again. My brain hurts. Am I willing to let the spiriling motion begin of cleaning out the "little things"? Am I willing to let go of the sins that "aren't that bad" to live a better fuller life? Am I willing to give EVERYTHING to gain whatever it is He has for me? (Which, in all reality, might not be much here on earth.)
One of my favorite verses through the years has been Romans 1:18. It says, "For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth." WOW! Unfortunatly, our culture, the day in age we live in, and especially the current economic climate make it fairly easy for the truth to be surpressed. The unrighteousness? Well, that's those darn christianized sins again. One of the verses shortly after this one (1:20) states that the truth has been "clearly perceived". The commentary in my Bible sums it up nicely.
It states : It is not that the truth is sought but cannot be found, but rather that, confronted with the truth (which is "clearly perceived", v.20), fallen humanity seeks to hinder and obstruct its influence, and is therefore "without excuse" (v.20) The "excuse" in view is an appeal to ignorance.
May I have no such appeal. Ignorance is not something I think I can claim more often than not. I know full well (most of the time) when I'm making decisions based out of fear, pride, selfishness, my own desires, etc ... NOT so much by the righteousness that has been revealed to me throughout scriptures. There I go with that supression again.
So what now? Well, hopefully a life lived in community would provide people in my life that would call me out. In all honesty, I don't know if it would happen. Maybe because nobody thinks they have the right to "judge" me (even though it's not judging, it's presenting a truth to be pondered). Or more likely, I'm not all that inviting of others to actually do that. I don't like either option here. I desire a community of people who will call me out if they see something big or small. I desire a community of people who will be open to me returning the favor. Another favorite verse - Proverbs 27:6 - Wounds from a friend can be trusted, but an enemy multiplies kisses. I desire friends who are willing to wound me, not enemies who kiss all my boo-boo's (aka - sins) and tell me everything is okay. I desire a community of people who loves me regardless when it's all said and done. I desire for change that results in true freedom, lasting freedom. And I know I can't do it alone.