I slept terrible last night and I am feeling like a zombie, so I decided rather than try to write something new while in a semi-coma, I’ll post something I wrote four years ago.
At this moment in my life there are things going on the I don’t like. I guess that is always the case but at this time, there are some pretty significant, I would even call them huge things that aren’t going the way I feel that they should. Not only do I feel they are going bad but I feel strongly that God thinks the same thing too. At least everything that I read in His word indicates this is a really bad situation. But it is happening anyway and I can do nothing to change it. I need to let God handle this but the urge to take over and do something that can potentially make things worse looms in the back of my mind all the time. If this situation would have arisen a year ago these desires would not be looming, they would have already become actions that I know would have blown things to tiny bits that would have hurt everyone even more than they are hurting right now. Even though I am hard at work on keeping the old man good and dead, he still wants to arise in zombie mode and devour everything I have achieved since I put him down for good last year. Why is he still around anyway? I have done my best to stop feeding the zombie and only provide nourishment for the new man.
I guess that I can honestly say that I still throw him a hunk of anger or hate, judgment or pride every now and then and let him feast on my flaws. Last night I had to admit that there were people in my life I would consider not forgiving for things they have done. The zombie began to twitch in anticipation of all the yummy treats that would provide for him. Refusing to forgive would give way to many bad things. I have been there before. Fighting and arguing would ensue. Actions that I would not normally perform would occur. Good, long-lasting relationships would be pushed to the limit and beyond. I would be back where I used to be, judging the wrong others have done and ignoring my own shortcomings. This is an opportunity for once in my life to stop the bad before it happens instead of putting things back together after everything blows up.
James 4:1 What is causing the quarrels and fights among you? Don’t they come from the evil desires at war within you?
Yep. There are evil desires at war within me and when things go really bad around me they seem to get even more active and the war becomes more intense.
James 4:2 You want what you don’t have, so you scheme and kill to get it. You are jealous of what others have, but you can’t get it, so you fight and wage war to take it away from them. Yet you don’t have what you want because you don’t ask God for it. 3 And even when you ask, you don’t get it because your motives are all wrong—you want only what will give you pleasure.
I read this and I thought to myself, “Hey! That’s not it. I want this situation to go back to the way God wants it! I am seeking what God wants.” But this war inside me is happening because I am not getting what I want. I want things back the way they were for me. If I wanted the ones at the heart of this situation to get restored in their relationship with God, I would simply trust God to take care of it in His wisdom and time. But this situation is bad for me. It is hurting me. I am being a selfish man. It is the way people are. It makes people go as far as killing to get what they want. I am not about to kill someone but there are times I would like to smack someone stupid for their actions! I am judgmental. I am jealous. I pray to God over and over and I can’t see where He is doing a single thing to help anyone. If He was doing something, wouldn’t I feel better?
Jesus didn’t fix things by making himself feel better. He prayed that all the pain of all the sin in the world from the past, present and future would be placed on His shoulders to free us from the consequences of that sin. Then He endured the answer to that prayer. His motives were right. My motives get all twisted up and confused. It seems I want only what brings me pleasure. I am blind to all the other things God is doing. When I realize this I feel like such a low and wretched creature.
James 4:6 But he gives us even more grace to stand against such evil desires. As the Scriptures say, “God opposes the proud but favors the humble.” 7 So humble yourselves before God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. 8 Come close to God, and God will come close to you. Wash your hands, you sinners; purify your hearts, for your loyalty is divided between God and the world.
So I am at a point in my life where I want what God wants, but I also want what makes me feel better. I have to humble myself to God and seek only what He wants done. I can already see that it will be more than just uncomfortable. It is going to be painful. But He gives me what I need to stand. I must resist evil and the zombie will starve and return to dust. I can draw near to God and He will draw near to me. Then I can purify myself leaving my sins behind. The desire to divide my loyalty between God and what I want will bring me more pain than I already feel. I have got to place all of my loyalty squarely in God.
God, I lay aside my selfish desires this morning. I drop my allegiances to those things that cause me to divide my commitment to you. I cry out for the extra Grace you promised me and trust that it is enough. Amen.