"Finally, be strong in the Lord and in His mighty power" ~ Ephesians 6:10.
Do I stand strong in my Lord? Do I turn to Him with all choices and decisions to be made? Do I rely solely on Him for that which my soul craves most? Do I display constantly that which He has put within me? Do I even honor Him at all times and please Him with my ways? Do I not gossip about His children? Do I praise Him when I win? And when I lose? Do I know it's not about winning or losing ~ it's about love?
Do I feel constant guilt because I know these answers are NO? Yes, yes I do, but that doesn't change the way I behave or decide or think. I am truly a creature of habit ~ even though I am a new creature in Christ, I am still a creature of habit, and habits can be difficult to break ~ even when you're aware of their destruction on your life! And the most frustrating part is that I know what I know!!!! I know what I need to be doing...I know that I am NOT doing what I need to be doing! I know that for the past 3 years I've known what I know, and while yes, I have taken HUGE steps to walk closer with the Lord, my steps go in the wrong direction at times, and my walk slows to a crawl. And that is when I feel despondent, like I'm treading water...just getting by. Like - mmmm, it's right there, and I know what I'm missing right now, but I'm just going to be lazy and make excuses because that's easier. But is it? Is it really easier to do it on our own, with our own means, our own ways, our own habits? No, it is not! It may be harder in the beginning, to train ourselves to turn to Him with all of it and take time daily with our Creator ~ bascially to re-train ourselves. But I know once we learn to do this ~ it becomes the most natural thing in the world. It becomes easy to enter into His presence, because that is just the most yummy place ever! And you look forward to your time with Him, desiring more and more, until life becomes a constant conversation with the one who gave life.
Wait, so what is my problem? Am I complaining about doing the work? About setting apart a time daily to spend with Him and give Him my thoughts, my life, my everything? So that He can love all over me? Really? I thought I had gotten past this hump where I am lazy and not turning to Him. But let's be honest ~ I sleep that extra hour instead of meeting with Him. I blurt things out of my mouth without thinking or applying love. I gossip. I worry. I lie. I make it all about me. I don't reach out to those who are hurting. I am not fulfilling His purpose for me. I am not walking as closely to Him as I should be. I am not turning to Him.
Hmmm, apparently I am STILL stuck at the place of re-training myself. How many times do I have to come back to this place of complacency to know that this is NOT where He desires me to be, but that I must keep returning to in order to realize it's a place I don't want to be any more and make the permanent changes? Which means getting up that hour earlier to meet with Him, watching what comes out of my mouth, turning my thoughts constantly to Him, and digging deeper. It's really not that complicated, and I know once I stand strong in Him, God will just help me along and make it so wonderful that I can't think of living any other way! If you go on further in the book of Ephesians, from where I started this post, you'll see we already have everything right in front of us that is needed ~ ever! He's given us the tools and the armor. Now I must choose to pick up that shield...strap on the breastplate...weild that sword...and stand in righteousness.
God you're so funny and fantastic like that ~ was that a light bulb moment for you where you're sitting there watching me wrestle with this, over and over, until wow, I finally get it ~ it clicks? And now you're sitting back with a huge smile on your face, saying, "whew, thank goodness we don't have to go back there any more!" I so love your ways and how you let us get to these points in order to make it true and lasting. You already know me better than myself and what I will choose and when I will turn away from you. Yet you're always there, waiting, loving, and protecting. So beautiful. Thank you Lord!