Monday, January 25, 2010
I have to admit that when I suggested to my friend Jen that we do this Bible study together I really didn't think it would be so up close and personal in my life. I figured that since most of Daniel is prophecy it would be an interesting study but on a more intellectual level rather than personal introspective level.
How utterly foolish of me to forget God's promise that His Word is a "two-edged sword, cutting between soul and spirit." This study has already began "exposing my innermost thoughts and desires."
I have been a Christian for over 30 years. The truth of that statement is humbling because I know that at this point in my Christian life I should be showing more maturity than I do. The reality is that God has used the last year to show me how I have been half hearted in my relationship with Him. How I have laid claim to the name of Christ without taking on the full responsibility of the name. I have talked about who God is (irl and on my blog) but my personal relationship was stale at best.
This past year as I began examining my life I realized that it had been a long time since I had been consistently in God's word. I would pick up my Bible and read here and there but had no consistency in my spiritual life. I was dissatisfied with my personal life on many levels and God began to strip away a lot of excess. He began to reveal sins and confronted me with the truth that if I wanted to have a full, deep, meaningful relationship with Him then I would to live a holy life.
I decided that if I wanted my life to be different then I needed to start doing different things. God has promised us that we can live an abundant life in Him. I realized that for that to take place I needed to do three things. I needed to be honest about sin. I needed to find some accountability. And I needed to get close to God.
For me it was easy to gloss over sin and even fall back on the thought that "we are all sinners." That attitude doesn't line up with what God says. First Thessalonians 4:7-8 says "God has called us to live holy lives, not impure lives. Therefore, anyone who refuses to live by these rules is not disobeying human teaching but is rejecting God, who gives his Holy Spirit to you." God has called me to live a holy life.
I began to deal with sins that were common downfalls for me. The ones that Satan used to continually trip me up. I asked that God reveal the root of those sins and then I began to "weed them out".
When we were first married, we served a church in Tulsa, OK. Many of our members were already at retirement age. One day we were talking with one of the members about yard work. I was moaning about the dandelions in my yard. This beautiful older lady told me that she had a small shovel she used to dig out each dandelion in her yard. I will admit that my first thought was "you have too much time on your hands". God has used that lesson in yard work to show me what I have to do with sin in my life.
Sin is like a dandelion. It takes root and makes a small flower. Eventually this flower goes to seed and then either the wind (or a child) comes along and blows the seed and it spreads. If this cycle continues eventually dandelions will take over an entire area. I found that sin was the same way, once it took root then it would continue to grow and spread. So I began to deal with sin the same way. I sought out the root and dug it out the same way you would with a persistent weed in your yard.
The Bible tells us that if we confess our sins to one another then we will be healed. I know that this verse is often used when dealing with physical sickness but I believe that it can also be seen in light of spiritual sickness. I knew that I was spiritually sick and I needed someone to remind me to take the medicine. I talked to a friend and I confessed the sins I was continually dealing with and then I asked her to pray for me and also to hold me accountable.
It is impossible for me to spend quality and quantity time with God and spend time with sin. Carl Sandburg said "There is an eagle in me that wants to soar, but there is also a hippo in me that wants to wallow in the mud." I found that I needed to spend time every day with God's word. I need to know what He is saying to me today. I need to do it multiple times a day. I began to put some things into place to ensure that this was happening. I began to start and end my day with my Bible. I also put scripture in my phone and refer to it throughout the day. I find that I must be proactive about God or the distractions around me cause me to lose focus.
Daniel was sure about who God was and what God was able to do. I know that if I want that assurance in my life then I must spend time with God and lots of it.