Sunday, December 27, 2009

Slow fade

"Have I the slightest interest in the death of Jesus? Do I want to be identified with His death, to be killed right out to all interest in sin, in worldliness, in self-

to be so identified with Jesus that I am spoilt for everything else but Him?"
(Oswald Chambers, My Utmost for His Highest, December 23)

I read this and I felt sad. Because I know what it feels like to have that, but I do not presently have that. I know that I can have it again ...but I am so disappointed in myself and the slow fade that took me where I didn't realize I was heading.

There is such a parallel right now, for me, with my physical shape and my spiritual shape. Just 2 months ago I found myself suddenly physically fit. It had snuck up on me after 6 months of Muay Thai (sort of an extreme brand of kick boxing), and an especially stressful time in my life that left me with half an appetite. I was thrilled with my new situation...and I knew I would have to guard it carefully to keep it. But, my Muay Thai class took a 2 month hiatus, and along came Thanksgiving and Christmas. I sit, knowing that just a few months ago I was at my lowest weight and highest muscle mass--ever. And now? Soft from inactivity. Bloated with over indulgence. How could I have let this happen?

A more troubling question is, how did I get so soft spiritually? I haven't missed a day of spending time with God...I haven't stopped going to church, or spending time with people who challenge me. But the fact remains, that just a few short months ago Jesus and I were inseparable. Finishing-each-other's-sentences close. Inside joke close. And suddenly I find myself weak and disconnected. But the disconnect really was no more sudden than my fitness had been. I had gotten there in the usual ways: escapism; general busyness; and by a redirected focus on these most recent holidays.

Bottom line, you don't get fit--be it physically or spiritually--and stay that way, without a concerted effort.
I know how long it will take to reclaim my physical fitness.
I wonder how long til "...I am spoilt for everything else but Him"?

Thursday, December 3, 2009

People suck.

ingrate. coward. entitled. selfish. infuriating. (and other adjectives I must edit)

Question: "When someone puts you through hell, is undying gratitude really too much to ask?"

Funny you should ask.

2 words put everything into perspective:

The Cross.

Humans are apparently incapable of undying gratitude--even in the face of the most selfless act in all history and for all time. Jesus died on the cross for our sins. (a statement we've heard so many times we have to fight not to take it for granted). When you force yourself to look at that for what it is--could anything scream more deservedly for our undying gratitude? Yet we can hardly say we give Him what He deserves after all He has done for us.

Tomorrow, when I am a better person, I will allow that to sink in, and then my anger and my disgust for this one should subside.

To err is human. Tonight I am human.

the next day...

God is Divine.
In my daily study of Oswald Chamber's My Utmost for His Highest, I found just what I needed to calm my thrashing spirit. (the one that had a few choice words and thoughts each time I woke up in the night...)

In one paragraph, God took the righteous fight right out of me:

Jesus says, "I have given you an example, that you should do as I have done to you." (Jn. 13:15) Oswald then expounds, "Watch the kind of people God brings around you, and you will be humiliated to find that this is His way of revealing to you the kind of
person you have been to Him. Now, He says, exhibit to that one exactly what I have shown to you."

For a moment I balked at the thought that this ingrate I was dealing with was, the kind of person I had been to God. But, once I got past the indignation, and focused on that last instructional sentence: "Now...exhibit to that one, exactly what I have shown to you."-yet again-the genius of God melted my stubborn heart.

I had to ask myself, "what has God exhibited to me?"

  • grace

  • patience

  • total love and self sacrifice when I was at my ugliest (Romans 5:6-8)

  • He desires good things for me, even when I am making that impossible (Jere. 29:11-14)

  • He's always ready to receive my wayward self back, with open arms and heart (Lk 15:20)

  • He intercedes for me at my weakest point (Hebrews 4:14-16)

And really that can all sound so clinical. Oh, that Jesus, He does that for everybody. But I will tell you, when I look back and see myself for who I've been to Him...

ingrate. coward. entitled. selfish. infuriating. (and other adjectives I assume God would edit)

I am humiliated--and awed that:

He never once shamed me. He never once sat me down to go over exactly how I had wronged Him. He never once withheld love from me.


In the face of such generous love and forgiveness, is it really too much to ask that I be willing to do the same for this one?

My Saviour and my God. I have put you through hell. May I live my life in undying gratitude...(and thank you-in advance-for your grace, when I do not).