Posted by: zephaniah317 | January 18, 2008

Guard

Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.
And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things.   -Phil. 4:6-9 (NASB)

I’ve had it all wrong.  Me, the guy who’s gone to church his whole life, who’s professed to be a Christian, which means I’ve professed to love others, love God, love myself as He does, see myself and others as He does, all that.  I’ve had it all wrong.  OK, maybe not ALL wrong, but I’ve missed something important.

See that part of the above verse that says “the peace of God…will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”?  I’ve had it wrong.  Guard…against what?  False doctrine?  Yep.  Accusations from the enemy?  Yep.  Anything that contradicts the perception of how God sees me and others?  Yep.  The world and its influences?  Yep.  Pain?  NO.  Nope.  Uh-uh.  And yet, that’s been my belief.  It’s almost an attitude of, “God, why didn’t you keep me from getting hurt <there> or <then>?!?!  You said you would!”  No, He didn’t.  Anymore than He protected Himself on the Cross.  Pain is a part of life, and the more we guard ourselves against it, be it the pain of rejection or abandonment or failure or whatever, the less we live.

I go through cycles with this self-protection thing.  I think I was starting to “get it” in this post back earlier in January.  The self-protection grows and grows until finally, it’s gets to a point of stress inside where it’s like my brain and heart say as one, “We can’t take this anymore!  Just let it hurt!”  It’s funny…my brain spins constantly making sure I’m doing the “right” things and saying all that’s necessary to avoid pain – embarassment, failure, any type of pain – when in actuality it’s LESS stressful to just endure the pain and feel it and get healed from it and move on.  I’m not sure, but maybe it’s a side effect of being off porn and all that, which numbed and medicated my heart (unhealthily, obviously) for many years.  My heart still doesn’t want to accept pain, but, like I’ve said before, it’s a part of life.  Not that we want it constantly, but it is unavoidable.  We are mistake-prone, and we live in a society of mistake-prone people, therefore we are pain-prone.  Just because I was raised believing pain avoidance was top on the priority list doesn’t make it any less true.  And it doesn’t make me any less of a person, it actually makes me MORE real and authentic.

As a side note, this also applies to my view of sin and forgiveness.  Much too often, my brain spins in rationalization when I become aware of sins I’ve committed, like I’m trying to make excuses to God, when it’s much easier and healthier to just confess, accept His love, and move on.  Do I really trust Jesus and His blood?  Not often enough.  My flesh won’t die until my physical body here does, and there’s nothing I can do about it.  Jesus paid it all.  It’s taken care of, I just have to believe and trust in it to have the abundant life Jesus promised, and delivered, and delivers by His grace every morning.  But, with our flesh hanging around, life can only be so abundant.  Being perfect isn’t a part of that equation.  I need Jesus.  Desperately.  Constantly.  Any other perspective is a lie and deception.

In any case, these realizations the past few days have helped me to relax.  And while I don’t feel great (there’s pain I haven’t thoroughly processed in my life, I believe) I am, however,  thankful.  Thanks, Abba.

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Responses

  1. thank you, brother. it’s ironic, i was just thinking through this similar topic this morning. how painful i deem ‘utter dependence on God’ to be…why is that? the pain of giving up my own control?? an idea that i should have a life better than Jesus did?? what?
    and — I just re-read this quote from Brennan Manning in Ragamuffin Gospel:
    Christianity doesn’t deny the reality of suffering and evil… Our hope… is not based on the idea that we are going to be free of pain and suffering. Rather, it is based on the conviction that we will triumph over suffering

    oh, yes, it’s the hope of Glory that leads us through the Pain!

  2. I loved the comment about ..Making excuses to God. It would be much healthier to confess, and accept His forgiveness and Love. I get stuck on the “accept His forgiveness and Love” . Good post bro.


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