Wednesday, March 09, 2011

Not Just an Intellectual Exercise

The benefit of memorizing scripture is that as you meditate and ponder on it for weeks, it becomes part of your thinking. And then a situation arises where your emotions and your flesh are telling you, screaming at you to act and think in one way, but the Holy Spirit gently brings to remembrance that very passage that you come to see He has been orchestrating all events so that you would be memorizing for just such a time as this, and you see that God’s Word requires you to act in a way that is 180 degrees in opposition to your emotions and flesh and worldly wisdom and the lies the evil one would woo you to believe. Maybe someone steps on your pride or says words that hurt, or a driver cuts you off and you feel the blood boil, or the kids are acting up and your emotions run high, or a neighbor acts selfishly, like the unbeliever he is, and you're tempted to respond in the flesh rather than to remember to be at peace with all men as much as it depends on you, or any other number of hurts, stresses or frustrations set in. At such a time as this, the great question is, will I obey, will I submit, will I say, "No," to foolish pride, will I listen to truth and shut my ears to lies?

And with tears you pray and cry out to God, at the end of yourself, recognizing that His word requires you to do nothing from rivalry or conceit but with humility to count others more significant than yourself, and to look not only to your own interests but also to the interests of others, and to walk in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ, to not be one of those who seeks her own interests but to seek those of Jesus Christ, to do all things without grumbling or questioning that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world, holding fast to the word of life. And you know this is truth. You know this is who you are in Christ, and you cry out to Him for mercy because you know that right now, you cannot do it. Your emotions and your flesh are screaming at you to be angry, or to lash out with angry words, or to pout, or to take a small slight and magnify it into something it wasn’t intended to be, or to hold a grudge, or to be hurt and to feed that hurt by rehearsing a list of grievances you could so easily fill up your mind with.

But the mercy of grace, the wonder of the gospel is that I can’t do it. But He can. Jesus Christ is ever interceding for me, when I don't even know how to pray, He is my advocate and Redeemer. By the power of the Holy Spirit living in me, if it kill me, I will obey Him. I will crucify the emotions and flesh and lies, and I will submit to His Word, though it be with tears and difficulty, I will mortify this flesh and live in the light of the gospel of Christ. I will love with His love and forgive as He has forgiven me. He is master, I am slave, bound to Him by the precious blood of Christ, shed for me, shed to forgive me of my sin and reconcile me to God. And by His grace, He will do it. And there I bow and worship Him and find freedom and peace.

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