Trucks are prohibited...but you are always welcome

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Codes and Keys, Dogs and Fleas

Am I my sin?
As a flea is to a dog, but not to be confused with the dog itself. 
Do we condemn those trapped in sin habits?
Only if we aim to attack the hostage rather than the captor. 
I borrowed this topic from a favorite author of mine whose words echo what I've been working through as of late. The greatest lie told by the enemy (and one I believed for longer than I'm proud of) is that we and our sin are one. "Look at what you've done. It is who you are. You do because you are." The feeling this attitude produces is both freeing and utterly binding. It binds us to our wrong actions but frees us from all accountability. I can't tell you how many nights were spent pounding my pillow when my white-knuckle righteousness had failed to withhold against the purr of concupiscence and the leanings of my flesh. I, a dog returning to my vomit, cried out for what seemed like the millionth time; "Why do I keep falling?" In my ear, "This is who you are... it is what you crave and what you deserve." The enemy is so crafty, making his voice so much like my own that at times the two are indistinguishable.
Romans 6:5-14 speaks of the beautiful release that Christ's death afforded me, declaring me free from the power of sin. But then, why don't I feel free? I feel as trapped as I ever did. It all comes full circle in verse 15, "Don't you realize that you become a slave of whatever you choose to obey?" My sin is the flea to my dog, yes, but I fed it and kept it alive. Romans 7:14-25 describes the paradox perfectly. I can not do good, be good, by my own bootstrap theology. The Tenth Avenue North song resonates with me: "Hallelujah, we are free to struggle... we're not struggling to be free."

This post may seem a bit disheveled and undercooked... mainly because I am still processing through the tragic circumstance of being a broken human loved by a perfect God. I think Martin Luther had it just about right in his latin phrase describing the condition of the Disciple: Simul justus et peccator. Righteous, and at the same time, a sinner. 

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Intentionally Alone

I like to think I am intentionally alone. Does this mean I am single by a conscious choice? Well, yes and no... but that's not what I am referring to by this title. In my mind, my intentional solitude is more describing how the state of being is utilized and appreciated and less about the circumstances that created it.
I have come to fully believe that single years really are a gift. This statement was previously a trite and infuriating statement given by parents to assuage a lovelorn teen inquiring why all the other girls had boyfriends and she didn't. A lemon to a paper cut. But now I see the wisdom and the peace in having all the time and opportunity to truly focus on pleasing the greatest man in my life, who just happens to be the loveliest and worthiest man I have ever had the pleasure of knowing. But like the gracious and selfless dear that He is, He is using all this time we share to work on my heart rather than just bask in my adoration. In this, I find the intentionality plays a role. As I intentionally grow close to my Savior, He intentionally readies me for the day He will give my hand and certain parts of my heart away to another. It's the funniest thing... when I seek earthly affection, He grows jealous and finds ways (usually painful ones) to remind me why He is the one I long for. But when I seek Him first He eagerly gifts me with earthly joys to echo and complement His glory. "Seek ye first the kingdom of God, and all else will be added unto you."
Though I couldn't be further from marriage, my Lord and I are already making preparations. He is teaching me to recognize Himself in men, and seek it out. He is teaching me to be wise and use discretion. He is teaching me self-control and the beauty of purity. He is ridding me of selfishness and revealing the joy and fulfillment in the pouring out of self into another.
Please don't think me an anti-single love addict. Being married is not the ultimate goal for all people but I feel myself being gradually led down that path. The beauty of it all is the closer I come to being ready for marriage, the less and less I really care about when or if it happens. What a funny and wonderful God I serve.