Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Wrecked for God

This morning I ran across a thought provoking post, No One Wants to Say it (the Uncivilized Truth) over at Lisa Whittle's blog. Though there is nothing I can say to add to what she expressed so eloquently, her words invoked in me a yearning that is worth exploring.

How does one get to the place of being wrecked for God? There must first be a dying to self--but how do we, as followers of Christ, come to the point of placing all upon the altar?

The first thing that comes to mind when I think in terms of sacrificing my all is a giving up of cherished sin, in whatever form it is manifested in my life. Things such as over-eating, wasting time watching silly movies with no redeeming value, holding grudges in my sometimes mean-fisted heart against those I feel have wronged me.

These (and so much more I could name) are best given up, for they come between my Saviour and myself. Anything which diminishes my love for Him had better be left behind in the old man's rubble of selfish ease and spiritual laziness. But if this is the extent of my concept of dying to self, it is too narrow.

What of those things (behaviors and attitudes and good works) for which I praise myself, if only in the privacy of my own mind? Do they even qualify as "good" if I can't perform or manage them without giving myself a high five? Seems to me that dying to self would preclude any such self-congratulation, for wouldn't I be (as any dead man) oblivious to my "good" efforts as well as their possible bearing of fruit?

I confess, there are areas in my life that are not easily relinquished, for somewhere along life's journey they became populated with bad habits. A lack of discipline alone is one such bad habit, bringing in its wake all other sorts of inner mayhem, emotionally, mentally and spiritually. Someone has said that spiritual sloth is a lack of enjoyment of God, and if this be the case it is easy to see how becoming lax in regards to discipline alone could cause one to lose a sense of delight in the Lord.

How can I truly delight in Him if I'm double-minded, caught up with worldly pursuits and attitudes? What folly attempting to cling to my pet indulgences while at the same time trying to embrace Him who my soul should love more than life itself.

As I write this it occurs to me that it would be dangerously simple to allow my refrain of, "poor me, I'm such a horrible sinner," to become one of those mindsets which keeps the Lord at a safe distance, if only because it keeps my focus on me. I can't help wonder if dying to self means, among other things, a total disregard to one's self. As long as I'm gazing at my own unworthiness I'm still caught up in self, no matter how holy it may make me feel to acknowledge how often I miss the mark of God's calling for me.

We are called to examine ourselves, whether or not we be in the faith, but I don't think this means to be so self-absorbed and analytical that our eyes are always on our shortcomings. I'm not sure how to avoid extremism in one's walk with the Lord, except in staying connected to the Vine. Perhaps that would be a better focus than maintaining a list of our failings: spend time abiding. Abiding in fair weather and bad, regardless of the circumstances of each day, regardless of our feelings which are never reliable guides anyway when it comes to spiritual growth.

I want to be wrecked for God, at least I think and say I do. But let a new storm touch down in my life and I am at once frantic, for somewhere in the back of my mind is the unexpressed fear that this may be the one time God lets me down, when He doesn't have my back.

Let new, unexpected responsibilities turn my world upside down (such as finding myself in the position now of raising two grand-kids), and I balk at what is being asked of me. Wrecked for God? Is this truly what I desire, because if it is, why then the growing sense of resentment that my life isn't going the way I'd planned? (And do I have any business planning it anyway, if indeed I'm dead to this world?)

I love pondering such issues as dying to self, being wrecked for God--but if all I do is ponder I will end up in a sorry state.

May I turn to the One who requires full surrender with the prayer of, "I'm willing to be made willing," if such is the best I can manage. At least such words are honest, and that's a good starting point for spiritual change of any sort.

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