I have found walls to be a very fascinating thing in my life. The walls of the place I live help keep my son and I protected. Walls give me a place to live, entertain, and a peaceful place to rest or blog. Walls can make fortresses for protection, they can also make jails for cells to restrict you and isolate us. Whether we like it or not we are all born into a penitentiary of thoughts called assumptions and beliefs, which direct our lives and decisions as we make our way.
The subtle thing about ideas we believe is this, they have always been there, and we have learned to trust them without question, not because they are tried and true but because we rarely see our core values and how they control us. However, because they have long been a fixture of our thoughts and actions, we therefore do not question them very often. This conditioned thinking leads to response and decisions we sometimes do not understand. Have you ever heard “That was not me that did that”? Response: It looked like and sounded like you….? Why do we make the decisions we make?
Do Not, I repeat Do Not start searching for these walls on your own! Yes, they do guide your decisions and they are important to be aware of their impact. Nevertheless, there is only one, who is tender, wise, and loving enough to deal with us on these core values and that is God and God alone. I have found the path to seeing these walls is usually not a choice that we make but something that “just happens.”, not always though.
In my case, one such wall was a legalistic attitude. A brief description of this attitude would be using God for vending machine of blessing. The way this works is I drop in my obedience and a good work or two, then the vendor god would dispense a blessing for whatever it was I prayed for. Yes, I know it is silly and not well thought through but it is subtle in my thinking, The reach of these thoughts were surprisingly hidden from me and far reaching in how I thought of God and all his creation. Enough said, bits and pieces as we proceed.
“Be angry and sin not” a real laugh out loud moment in the heat of this life altering realization that the “God I knew” was not there to help me in my CRISIS! I tried to do the right things and good things even though I was in pain spiritually and emotionally. Yet, where was Godin in all this stuff? I was circling the drain and going down fast. God still was not there! I was still, crumbling and time was marching on. Where was my friend called God who would never leave me or forsake me?
As I look back on this time, the only good thing I can think of that was happening in the moment was my life was so broken and falling apart. Therefore, I could not really take action against God and all the thoughts that I had against him! What an awful time! My anger toward God was hot, I am sure I sinned. Yet in all my doubt, I never stop talking to this God that abandoned me. Things that make you go hmmmmm. This developed a good core value in me that I continue to depend on today.
A question that has been with me my entire Christian life has been: ”Is God good?” I was in the grips of the most core-shaking test of this question, which has ever taken me in the most painful way.
Several issues came to light in my struggle to answer the question, Is God good? Number one issue was a seemingly unrelated issue of not forgiving two people in my life.( I had not thought of the wrongs in years but now could not shake the remembering) Now if you were to ask me I would have said is no big deal and I would have ignored it as a happenings in life. However, these two issues kept coming up in my mind over and over and over again. In my mind I thought to God and said. This is no big deal and has nothing to do with this situation God. God hinted, forgive again. No, not in an audible voice, just in promptings of thought from deep inside me.
So in my wisdom!, I said okay I will forgive the people just to prove to you that this is a non-issue God. Well, after forgiveness, the problems seemed to drop back into perspective, instead of looming out of control and actually controlling me. I was stunned, amazed, in deep wonder and exuberantly joyfully happy all at the same moment all this because I chose to forgive an unrelated incident… Think about it! Unforgiveness caused chinks in my armor so Satan could grab me!
Think of it this way: Gods armor he gives us is made out of God material. God wants me to let go of sin so he will allow sin to pass out of his armor but not into his armor. On the inside I was hanging on to this sin God was letting out of his armor to help me. But since I was hanging onto the sin, on the inside, it gave a place that Satan could touch and hold onto because it was made of sin. Satan cannot hold on to God material Satan rejects God material and God material rejects Satan. So long as I was hanging onto this sin there was a place on my armor the Satan could hang onto made out of sin not God material. Just a way of thinking of how Satan was hanging on to me badgering me, discouraging me and so on.
My absent God showed up on point of my worldly problems and I found he was there all the time and was waiting for me to come because he was calling me! When I answered (honoring his request that I forgive) I could see him clearly but the fog I was in prevented me from answering quickly, I was in confusion. This seemingly simple interchange happened over months. I know I am slow! My point in this would be when God prompts and you in a consistent calling or unction to take care of spiritual matters that have no real importance to you, they may well be very important to God. Wrestle well with God, but in the end, be still and know that he is God.
As far as my wrestling with God over the months, I am glad it took me that long because I proved (to me) how good God is in his long-suffering toward me (us). God is Especially patient with hard heads like me who want to wrestle. “Be angry and sin not” is no longer just a verse of the Bible to me. It has served me impeccably in the years after my wrestling with God.
Forgiveness is more free-flowing from me, yet in the forgiveness there is a fullness of realization of the wrong that is being perpetrated against me or others without the anger controlling me. Which means I can be angry in the moment and still be clear headed enough to think about how to handle the anger and focusing the anger to energize me to do something constructive with the situation, instead of being frozen in anger with no reaction or throwing gasoline on the fire of reactions…. Have you been there?
Yes in my fiery trial the walls of my mind were broken down. When the walls came down I found I was living in a dark prison that I was used to not a house. God welcomed me into a bigger place that is so much more than what I expected here on this earth. I saw core values uprooted and destroyed while others were affirmed and grew even stronger because the light of God which was shining on them instead of being imprisoned by self-protection walls. Walls came down and light came in, Forgiveness is a powerful tool in the arsenal of Christian as we live.
My poor core values were exposed and yes I was embarrassed to realize I was operating in that mode without even really realizing it. In God humbling me he also lifted me up closer to him. I sometimes call the Holy Spirit the original World Wide Web. He connects us to him, and us to each other as believers. I could tell Spirit was the one who was moving me through this maze of life that I was so discouraged in. Because I had no idea what to do yet, just kept Going following one I trusted.
Now the connection is better with God than it has ever been in my entire life. With people to! The Spirit is a real working person in you, Spirit is perfect, and wants to communicate with you and guide you. No, I am not saying go on the street and go crazy. However, worship the way you want, as long as your worship is focused on God and God alone, worship to God is all good. Do not ignore the magnificent working of the Holy Spirit each child of God has as a part of the gift of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
Some walls are good in our life; a mighty Fortress is our God! Nevertheless, God’s Fortress must be mobile because the Bible also says: the gates of hell shall not prevail against his church. So we God’s people who are connected to each other through the Spirit are to be a communicating battle group that is storming the gates of hell, At God’s direction. I have found most the gates of hell have been seated deeply inside of me. Yes, I could blame other people for it. However, when the bottom line was exposed it was and is me. Rats,, found those invisible for core values running me. King David once prayed this in Psalm 139: NASV
17How precious also are Your thoughts to me, O God!
How vast is the sum of them!
18If I should count them, they would outnumber the sand.
When I awake, I am still with You.
19O that You would slay the wicked, O God;
Depart from me, therefore, men of bloodshed.
20For they speak against You wickedly,
And Your enemies take Your name in vain.
21Do I not hate those who hate You, O LORD?
And do I not loathe those who rise up against You?
22I hate them with the utmost hatred;
They have become my enemies.
23Search me, O God, and know my heart;
Try me and know my anxious thoughts;
24And see if there be any hurtful way in me,
And lead me in the everlasting way.
Please note, David after he praises the wonder of God, then talks about God’s enemies. Immediately after talking about God’s enemies David says search my heart. David did not mention a single outward enemy of Israel, or enemies of his person. David went directly to his heart the seat of his greatest enemies, David ask for God’s help, and God’s leadership to lead him in the way everlasting.
God is good, forgiveness is powerful, this truth moving from my brain into my heart and soul was expensive, painful, excruciating leading to despair for me as a person. In all the trouble, it made me a person who is more refined. A person who is no longer afraid of trouble people get into, because I no longer have to solve the problem, because it really belongs to God for his solution.
I just have to be brave enough to listen, walk with, and be there for the person that is going through the trouble. Sometimes I even talk! Maybe too much! I have learned to not fear breaking down protective walls that I have and exchanging them for God’s protective walls, which are pure clean, and proper.
I would never choose to go through what happened to get this epiphany from God. Now that I have gone through this test, I would not trade my tested and proved relationship with God for any amount of gold, cash, or worldly possession. Yes, it is painful writing this, I shuddered at times for the trouble that I went through, remembering it and feeling its seduction to doubt.
God is waiting for you at the point of your troubles, trust him for he is good! Listen to his voice and answer his call. Expect fear, especially when you are wrestling God and not going his way. He is patient he will continue to call you and give you many opportunities to follow him.
Forgiveness may be the furthest thing away from you as you are going through a painful event, I encourage you to forgive no matter the cost. God will show you how to afford it. God is worth the trade and loss your forgiveness costs you, and God has promised he owns all vengeance, “Vengeance is mine thus saith the Lord.” Let God repay, God knows the end and to who his vengeance is due, or not. However: We do not know who vengeance is due….. Let God be God.
Are you ready to get off the bench Christian? Are you Ready to start a new life if you do not believe in God? First drink deeply into the forgiveness and love of God, humble yourself, ask for forgiveness and God will meet exceedingly your need for him. Seek his forgiveness, start growing the seed of faith that he loves you and is good.
Accept his gospel as complete and finished not needing any other additional act or proof. Follow God in baptism just as Jesus did. Baptism is an act of obedience, the symbolism is powerful, it will cause an epiphany in your life.
Baptism has never been able to save any person, salvation and the gospel are an act of God and God alone, a unilateral action of his love toward his creation and humanity in particular. Come taste see how good the Lord is! No matter your situation, history or feelings you are invited to his table. The choice is given to you and you and you alone. God will never take this choice away from you . He will honor the choice eternally. Come Taste, see for yourself, God is Good.