…let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us…
Hebrews 12:1 KJV
When I stepped away from this blog two months ago, I did so because there was a great deal to do in preparation for the conference, as well as on other fronts in the ministry. But that wasn’t all of it. I was wrestling with God, and I had reached a point where I couldn’t write anything that didn’t begin and end with misery and frustration. And the truly beautiful thing about this reality is that God provided time, covering, and grace for me to work it out. He ALWAYS does, because He knows better than we do what it means to lay aside “the sin which doth so easily beset us.”
Brothers, each person should remain with God in whatever situation he was called.
1 Corinthians 7:17 HCSB
This verse is a very familiar battleground for me. I smell gunpowder and blood when I read it. If there is a sin that easily besets me, then it’s scorning the life God has given me instead of receiving it with thanksgiving and joy. And though the battleground is the same, the weaponry changes.
My first encounter with this sin was its exposure through Martha’s booklet, The Great Lie. I was ungrateful to my very core, and had no joy in my life—and I had no idea how obvious this was to every person I met. That was a brutal, humiliating death that resulted in my first glimpse of God the Father as merciful and loving, the opposite of my wicked accusations.
The second battle took place when I was confronted by Love-on-Fire (Martha), and my stronghold of a deep-seated hatred of God was shellacked into rubble. My salvation was forged in the mud and blood of that encounter and I was born again. I loved my God and I loved my life and I just KNEW that I was finally done with this hell-root.
The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?
And now we’re back in the present. Same battle, different weapons. My life is wonderful! I mean, I love what I do, I have an amazing and loving spiritual authority, and I have been given a true church to love and be loved by—I am blessed beyond the telling of it. Enter that timeless dread, CHANGE. My role in the ministry has evolved and grown and I have new responsibilities and challenges. I began to doubt and flail, and the more I flailed, the more the Lord seemed to put on my plate. “Receive the grace!” Got it, but still not okay. “Just have faith!” Right, sure, but I’m still drowning. “Christ in you has to perform it!” Totally forgot about that, so let me just get out of the way and…um, still taking on water here. WHAT is happening?!
This is about the time that John had a word for me, and boy, talk about “sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit!” He told me that I saw myself as a victim of God and advised me to go to my Father about it. Well, I was just devastated. I was back on the same battleground, again. I was so ashamed, and I cried for the next 24 hours, just begging to be completely cleansed of this never-ending ingratitude and hatred for my life.
God, create a clean heart for me
and renew a steadfast spirit within me.
Do not banish me from Your presence
or take Your Holy Spirit from me.
Restore the joy of Your salvation to me,
and give me a willing spirit.
Psalm 51:10-12 HCSB
What happened next was unexpected, absolutely extraordinary, and completely without fanfare of any kind. I discovered what happens when you stand before the Cross, soot-soaked and tear-stained, and ask Jesus Christ for the impossible.
(This post will continue on Monday.)