Category Archives: Pride

Abiding and Doing and Praying, Oh my!

It is for freedom that Christ has set us free.  Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.  Galatians 5:1

It has been throughout my entire life that I have lived and placed myself under the law of Christianity.  Like an anvil on my heart and mind, the law has taught me to be a slave, to answer to it’s judicial ways.  Without realization, I have shaped my view of Christianity into nothing more than religiosity and with that guilt, shame and failure always follows.

But I am not subject to the burden of the law because I have been set free through the life of Christ living in and through me.  And it is in this spot I find myself this morning.  Thinking on how I abide in Him, thinking on what I do to measure up and reflecting on what conversations I have with Him.  Why these things?  Well, it’s me taking a look at me in the mirror, asking and seeing if today I’m in the will of my Father.  It’s me getting snagged up on 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 and examining my own heart of joy and measure of thanks in all things in continual prayer.

I have become so very proud of my own journey.  Look at me!!  And in it, I have come to establish my own routines of prayer and writing, finding comfort and worth in my own efforts to transform me. (There’s a whole lot of me in this!)  But there is NO amount of me that has the power to transform anything about me!  There is NO level of commitment or consistent routine that will reward me.  The temporary glue to hold my own fruit to the vine will never remain.  But the fruit that grows from the vine of Christ that lives in and through me will nourish the soul forever!  This comes when I abide in Him!

I remember one season when I planted in my garden sweet potatoes for the first time.  Not really knowing what I was doing and only with an idea of how it was done I planted the small potato eyes and walked away.  That harvest season I had more sweet potatoes than I knew what to do with — a true abundance!  This is exactly how Christ wants us to abide in Him always!  And when I do, the abundance of fruit from the heart will be more than enough.  It’s a way of leaning, a way of communicating, a way of letting.  For Christ who lives in me is my life!

Lord Jesus, I never want to get caught up in the religiosity of serving you!  My relationship is not a set of laws, but covered in an abundance of grace, through your unconditional love for me and rests in your hands.  My schedule is not your will unless it is your schedule for me.  May I journey abiding in you, in all things, always!

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.  Galatians 5:22-23

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Allow or Try

When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.   Colossians 3:4

My whole life I have tried hard to be something I am not.  I wished it weren’t so, but the amount of energy I have spent in my futile attempts to live at being the best Christian I could possibly be has fallen just short of exhausting.  It has robbed me of experiencing the life God has intended and exchanged it for dependence upon false fulfillment and a crisis of identity.  My heart rejoices in knowing this treasure of realization has been discovered, but is coupled by sadness as with it has been a lifetime of destruction.

Lord knows I have tried and in my efforts only found the worthless jewel of failure.  But why?  Kudos to me for getting back upon the horse each time, but why am I so apt to fall off so many times over?  Are my efforts in vain?  Am I not good enough?  Am I just that horrible of a Christian?  Even Paul cries out about himself, “What a wretched man I am!” (Romans 7:24)

But I am reminded of the life I NOW live!  A life not of worthlessness, but instead — victory!  Not because of anything I can do, but because of everything He has done.  It is not me trying to measure up to certain standards or conditions in order to demonstrate the life I ought to live, but instead finding the correct Who in which to use as a reference point to measuring up.  See, my reference point is no longer me trying to live a certain way and hiding failure from those I love, instead it is allowing Christ who is MY life live out who He is through me so that I may be a glory-carrier!

I cannot live the Christian life, only one person can do that and that is Christ!  So as long as I continue striving to live up to a standard of doing what the Bible says, doing all the right things, treating everyone a certain way, being to everyone what they think I should be, then of course, I’m going to fail.  Because I have to learn how to allow Christ, as my life, to radiate through me!  I have to learn more about what it means to allow Christ to live His life through me.  When I do — my actions no longer reflect a neediness, my attitude no longer drips with pity, my relationships reflect Christ’s love and my life springs with uncontainable glory!

Lord Jesus, I devote myself to allowing your life to live through me!  It says in your word (Romans 6) that through sin the parts of my body are offered as instruments of wickedness, but when I offer myself to you, I offer the parts of my body as instruments of righteousness.  This, I know, is how I live ‘Christ is my life!’  Today, and everyday, I offer the parts of my body as your instruments.  May I pause at the door frame of sin and allow you to live through me!

For sin shall not be your master, because you are not under law, but under grace.   Romans 6:14

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Confident Trust

“Come to me all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.  Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.  For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”   Matthew 11:28-30

Troubles, like stones, come in many shapes and sizes.  Some are as huge as boulders, while others are as sharp as daggers.  Some are used to step from place to place — perhaps to higher and drier ground, while others are used to carve and sharpen.  But then there are those that weigh a ton — sink to the bottom, as others skip across the calm waters to disappear after the dance.

It’s funny, too how we collect stones!  I can’t tell you the number of times one of my son’s has filled his pockets with rocks.  I’ve often wondered how many could possibly fit in there before his belt no longer served it’s purpose!  That many rocks and stones gets heavy to carry around.  But it’s not unlike how we treat our troubles.  We tend to collect those too!  Hoarding them on the inside, burdening ourselves and others around us with the weight.

But this was never God’s intent!  There was never a doubt we would encounter troubles — in fact, James said we would and they would be “trials [troubles] of many kind.”  But what do I do with the many I encounter?  I think, like the collector, I want to carry them around with me.   I want to show them off like war wounds from the battlefield.  Why in the world would I want to do this?  Well, simply because I make my troubles all about me instead of living them through Christ in me.

The precious stone, like quartz, reflects its natural beauty when light shines through it.  When Christ’s light shines through my troubles, the beauty of who I am reflects Christ in me!  God wants me to live through my troubles, not live my troubles over and over.  He wants me to live who I am!  He wants me to relax in His Peace and stop reliving my suffering.  Resting in Him will truly transform my fears into confident trust!

Lord Jesus, I store up my stones like a chipmunk prepares for winter!  Your burden is light, but when I’m carrying my troubles I’m weary.  You’ve promised me rest in you and I’m unloading my pockets of the stones I’ve collected.  Big or small, I’m skipping them across your Peace, watching them dance upon your Grace and trust as they disappear in your Care.

“No one will be able to stand up against you all the days of your life.  As I was with Moses, so I will be with you; I will never leave you nor forsake you.”    Joshua 1:5

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Holy Dark

But hope that is seen is no hope at all.  Who hopes for what he already has?  But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently.  Romans 8:24-25

My sweet niece was getting ready for school this morning in the room next to mine when I overheard her conversation with her mom.  Quite frankly, being in the next room over was no privilege since her 5 year old demands were being made at the top of her lungs.  I burst out into a sudden, unexpected and uncontrolled laugh and I quickly tried to douse my reaction.  But, according to her, she was going to have pigtails this morning — no I mean – she was GOING TO HAVE PIGTAILS!!  There were no options, no waiting, no “ifs”, “ands” or “buts” about it.  She clearly did not wake on the patience side of the bed.

I’ve reflected on this moment all morning.  I’ve thought how not so very different I am with God and my circumstances.  I chart a way to get through the rough terrain of life and declare what I need, when I need it with no waiting expected.  When we’re five years old, we thought we were the boss of everything.  Funny how some things just never change.  But, truth is, I know the Boss — and I’m not him!  And so I wait.

I wait with anticipation, expectation and birth of a transformation unlike anything I’ve ever known.  In Romans 8 it speaks of all creation waiting with eager expectation of God’s glory and similarly, I wait for my wings.  But until then, something is happening.

As I wait in this holy darkness it almost feels like God is absent.  Everything I’ve known of Him seems nowhere near.  It’s quiet, it’s blindingly dark, it’s disorienting, it’s Mysterious.  I search for the “lights” that I have become so accustomed to leading me and in this holy darkness those lights are not allowed.  It’s a liquifying of the knowledge and reliance of my “creation” and the experience of the crumbling of who God is and the system that makes it work for me and my ego.

This place of darkness is not an evil place — it’s that place an inch beneath the soil where the seed waits to become all that God has designed it to be.  It’s that place in a mother’s womb where life begins and is nurtured.  It’s that place where God wanders and wonders and where His fingertips run along the seams of my heart.  It’s that place, in the darkness of the tomb where God transformed!

For me it has been as though I’ve been walking with Him in this dense forest.  It’s become so dense the light of the sun has been kept from the forest floor.  What once was day has turned to an eery darkness.  I want to panic, I want to run, but I have no idea where I am.  I feel lost among the trees, but lost I am not.  This darkness is part of God’s journey.  It’s not even a detour, nor is it a wrong turn.  It’s The Way and I’m on it!  Hallelujah!  There is no way I’ll find my way back alone and everything that I’ve ever trusted and leaned against is nowhere in this holy dark.

So, I let go and turn to the Boss to lead The Way.  If I can only trust Him and truly let go all glory will be revealed.  Too often I panic like many do when they find themselves in the pitch of darkness.  I need to understand the need to surrender and journey through and make my way to the real light ahead.

I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.  The creation waits in eager expectation for the sons of God to be revealed.  For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the glorious freedom of the children of God.    Romans 8:18-21

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Blind Faith Begs

“Go,” said Jesus, “your faith has healed you.”  Mark 10:52

It’s a tough life to understand.  We see them everywhere we go — in the city, in the suburbs, at train stations, bus stations — pretty much any place where crowds gather you’ll find a beggar.  Someone who resorts to asking others to meet their needs.  Often it’s requesting money or food, but sometimes it’s for things like a warm blanket or cigarettes.  Never, though, have I ever seen someone ask for healing.  Nor have I seen a beggar shunned and lowered by disrespect.  But that’s not the case with Bartimaeus.

Bartimaeus has begged his entire life on the streets, blind, listening for the Messiah.  Bartimaeus had a blind faith that one day he would see.  He waited.  Until that day, as an adult, he heard a crowd leaving the city.  His ears heard, his heart knew the sound of his Master’s voice!  Discouraged at the chance of missing this opportunity he desperately made himself known.  He screamed, made quite the ruckus.  So much so that many in the crowd rebuked him and told him to be quiet.

Jesus heard his passion, saw his devotion and knew his heart.  Stopping and turning, Jesus asked the beggar what he wanted him to do for him.  And without a hesitation he calls him, “Teacher, I want to see!”

It was at that moment, Bartimaeus cast his eyes for the first time upon something — the face of the Savior — and saw!  And, without question, he followed Jesus out of the city!  Followed Him!

My Lord, begging has never been something strongly favored in my eyes.  But Bartimaeus’ life was filled with the faith, through begging, that leads to transformation!  While I know you intercede to the Father on my behalf, I also pray that my heart will see what my eyes cannot, trusting in the powerful transforming cocoon of waiting.

By faith in the name of Jesus, this man whom you see and know was made strong. It is Jesus’ name and the faith that comes through him that has given this complete healing to him, as you can all see.  Acts 3:16

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Hand It Over

He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all–how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?  Romans 8:32

Oh boy — how much do I find myself resisting?  Resisting the call of my passion and love for my Lord into a passive perseverance of waiting.  But my nature, my natural fleshly default, resists this subtle, yet most present, change.  And I hear Him saying . . . “Hand it over.”

God has done such a great job (not that I need to give Him props for this) making our children the teachers of this world, but they hand out life lessons everyday.  Without exception, when there’s more than one present, there will always be a moment of conflict between them.  On countless occasions I will stumble upon one of these moments of discord.  Most of the time it sounds the same despite the circumstances . . . something like this . . . . “give it to me! give it to me! GIVE IT TO ME!!”  Sound familiar?

There’s something that takes place here that I find rather intriguing when compared with the heart of man.  God is all the while asking us to surrender ourselves to Him.  In so many words He is asking us to give ourselves to Him, to hand ourselves over to Him.  Why is this so hard to do?  Well, the children’s life lessons strike again!  Because we want what we have, it’s mine and to give it up would mean I’d have to change, play with something new and different . . . or worse, wait!

It’s what happens at the moment I hand myself over that the spiritual miracle of my heart begins a radical change.  At this moment of true surrender, life-changing transformation — the liquifying of the soul — begins and the DNA of Christ in me begins to take shape.  Like God Himself who handed over His own Son for us and as Judas “handed over” Christ to the chief priests, I am called to “hand myself over” to Him.  And as I do, I enter a period of waiting and discover God’s deeper purposes.

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.”  Matthew 11:28

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The Crux Of Captivity


“The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world.  On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds.  We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.
”  II Corinthians 10:4-5

It is commonly suggested that a person has between 12,000 and 50,000 thoughts each and every day.  Sometimes this seems a bit low — for the thoughtful, while at other times it seems a bit high — for the “worker bees.”  Either way, it is apparent that our minds are running a mile a minute . . . contemplating, refreshing, renewing, deciding, calculating, analyzing, predicting and dwelling.  But to what end is it captivating?

Some of my fondest memories include my days on the slopes as a casual skier.  I was the guy on the slopes everyone despised.  Just enough ability to get to the bottom of the hill, but lacking the grace and finesse to make it there without taking someone out on the way.  If you know anything about snow skiing, they rate the slopes according to the degree of difficulty.  Green slopes are generally easier and more groomed for the beginner.  This was me all the way.  But, occasionally there would be a Blue slope (intended for the slightly more experienced skiier) that I was tempted to try when my confidence had grown.  This false sense of security led me to picking up my skis, poles, hat, gloves and anything else that came disconnected from me on my way down the Blue hill.  My loud squeals and expressive doubts were merely attempts to warn anyone in my path.  It was for their safety . . . and my dignity.  Starting at the top, it was easy to maintain control, but the further into the slope, the faster the skis would go.  It wasn’t sudden, more gradual, until all of a sudden, my mind agreed with my will — I was out of control — and my body paid the price!

Thoughts, left unattended, will lead the will and the body down a slippery slope!  To avoid disaster, Paul teaches us how to live in the freedom of obedience to Christ by taking each thought captive.  But how in the world is one to do this when a single day brings tens of thousands of thoughts.  That sounds like effort!

It is!!  Satan’s plan is to seek and destroy — and he’ll just as well get in my head to do it!  Discerning the Truth, studying the Truth, praying the Truth, living the Truth all lead to a safe journey!  It’s taking the thoughts captive in order to MAKE them obedient to Christ.  It doesn’t say I will have good thoughts, or that I should only have good thoughts.  It means that WHEN my thoughts are good — take them captive and give Him the glory!  It also means that WHEN my thoughts are less than good — take them captive so that I may be obedient and give Him the glory.

Pointing the tips of my skis straight down hill was never a good idea — it always led to disaster.  In order to arrive disaster-free, I had to work at it, concentrate, think!

“And we pray this in order that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and may please him in every way:  bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God, being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience, and joyfully giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in the kingdom of light.  For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.”  Colossians 1:10-14

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