Letting it go
A few weeks ago, I was very upset by something someone had done. I was right, he was wrong. I was following the rules, and he was making them up as he went along. But he won anyway, and there was nothing I could do about it. Except seethe. And seethe I did. My undisciplined mind kept returning to the scene of the crime and rehashing my rightness and his wrongness. The more I thought about it the angrier I became.
It's fine to be upset when we are wronged. Getting your feelings hurt is not a sin. However, it's not fine to dwell on that anger or hurt. That's usually a sign of unbridled pride. For me that's what this was. My pride was wounded. I couldn't change the situation, so I needed to let it go and move on. Easier said than done.
So I took a break, walked to a little chapel down the street and tried to pray it away. It worked for about five minutes. Then the feelings of anger and unjustness were back. I was desperately trying to do the right thing and let it go, but because I had previously allowed myself to indulge in this type of thing, I was finding it increasingly difficult. The harder I tried, the harder my soul clung to its hurt feelings. All day this battle raged within me. When I finally got to the end of the day and was saying my final prayer before going to bed, my mind continued to churn. I prayed again and asked God to help me let it go. I prayed that prayer a dozen times, every time my mind went back to the situation, I stopped. I said, no to my soul. And I prayed. Eventually, my wounded pride took the hint and let it go.
We know that the enemy prowls about the earth seeking to destroy us. One way that he does that is by getting us to harden our hearts toward God. That sounds like a drastic, conscious action on our part. But it can be more subtle. Sometimes the hardening of our hearts begins simply by not turning to Him when we face temptation. The pride that says, I can resist on my own without God’s help, is the pride that hardens us and turns us away from God. So we must regularly seek His help, His grace and His mercy. It’s not just a once and done act. Everyday, we must fortify ourselves in the Spirit. Everyday, we must fall on our face before Him. Everyday, we must accept Him as our life and breath.
Create in me a clean heart, O God,
And renew a steadfast spirit within me.
Do not cast me away from Your presence
And do not take Your Holy Spirit from me.
Restore unto me the joy of Your salvation
And sustain me with a willing spirit.
Ps 51:10-12 (NASB)
B is for beliefs. Lord, today I surrender my beliefs to you. When my senses tell me that the sky is falling. When the news looks bleak. When I feel like hope is lost. I will put my hope and faith and belief in You. I will trust You and You alone. Not myself, not the news, not man. You. I surrender to Your Holy Spirit. Guide me into your perfect truth.
Quote of the week
“Faith has to do with things that are not seen and hope with things that are not at hand.”
– Thomas Aquinas
Though my eyes cannot see Him, I believe He is with me – always.
Though I cannot do as Thomas the Apostle did and put my finger in the wounds of Christ, I believe He suffered those wounds for our salvation.
Though the reason of this world tries to tell me that having such faith is foolish and archaic, I believe that there is Hope in Christ.
Though the way is sometimes difficult, I have a hope and a future in Him.
Today, I pray for ever increasing faith because faith is the assurance of things hoped for and the conviction of things not seen (Heb 11:1, NASB).
Do you remember that song by DC Talk?
What if I stumble
What if fall?
What if I lose my step
And I make fools of us all?
Will the love continue
When the walk becomes a crawl?
What if I stumble,
And what if I fall?
When I was a teen, I loved that song because it gave me a sense of purpose in trying so hard. These days I still like the song, but for different reasons.
I've quit trying so hard, sort of. In my love and study of philosophy. I've spent some time studying humility and pride. Often in our guilt after messing up, we come to God and tell him how awful we are and how horribly we've missed the mark. And in the process we beat ourselves up thinking we're being humble. Truthfully, that's just prideful. Believing that we can do it on our own is pride.
God knows we're human. He knows we will fall. On our own we can never make it. On our own we will never be worthy of Him. That's why He sent His Son.
On my own, I can't be holy. With Him, I can do anything. The key is how much I'm willing to give myself over to Him.
On my own, I can't resist temptation. Maybe I can for a little while, but eventually the enemy will wear me down, find a new soft point and beat me at my own game. But with Christ, oh man, with Him, I am an overcomer.
He is the One who resisted satan after 40 days of fasting. He is the One who resisted temptation to flee from the cup that God poured out on Him. He is the one who never quit, who never leaves, who never forsakes!
That is your God. He will sustain you if you are willing to give him everything that you are. I can't say that I succeed in that everyday, but I am willing to try. Are you?
What? How does flossing my teeth help me on a quest to be holy?
It’s something I need to do, but I don’t always do it. For me, it’s usually not because I forgot, it’s because I’m too lazy. I stay up late watching TV, surfing the web or even doing some spiritual reading. Then, I think I’m too tired to floss my teeth. But last year I made a commitment to myself to floss my teeth every night. It seems small and stupid. For me, it’s become a small act of discipline that I can devote to God as worship. Yes, I’m saying that flossing your teeth can be an act of worship and prayer. How? I choose to make it one. My flesh is weak and often unwilling. I must train it and bring it under submission. I can choose a simple activity, that seems like it would be irrelevant to God, and make it something more – an offering of myself. Just like an athlete must condition their body, we all must condition our flesh. For you, it might be something else, for me it’s flossing. I was recently telling a friend about this, and a small truth came out. If you want to know how I’m really doing in my prayer life or just life in general? Don’t ask me how I am, ask me if I flossed my teeth last night.
You have heard that it was said, you shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.
But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven; for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.
For if you love those who love you, what reward have you? Do not even the tax collectors do the same?
And if you greet your brethren only, what do you do more than others? Do not even the tax collectors do so?
Therefore, you shall be perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect.