Tim A. Michael
“My son, do not make light of the Lord’s discipline, and do not lose heart when he rebukes you, 6 because the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and he chastens everyone he accepts as his son." Hebrews 12: 5,6
Thursday morning (Thanksgiving) I went out early to a crisp cold backyard to have some time alone in prayer and “thanksgiving” to God. I acknowledged to Him that I was indeed thankful for all the things I had – my job, my home, provision, etc. and I acknowledge that He alone is my Source and Savior and Sustenance. However, I have been emotionally drained and battle- weary with little left in the tank to overflow into praise. Just being real here.
For those of you who know me, and know me well, you know I always make it a point to challenge people to “just be real.” Nothing on the planet, yea verily nothing in all creation, makes me more steamed than someone’s hypocrisy – except for maybe my own. I can deal with that in a very lawyerly way and soothe the conscience. Trouble is enough soothing turns it into a seared conscience - crusty, deep-fried and lifeless. That’s a scary place to be.
Holy Spirit come.
I used to bristle at the notion that I had any sort of hypocritical tendencies. It’s definitely not in my redeemed nature to allow it, but I find my flesh stepping up to ensure there is a place for the periodical prodigal presence. Something about a dog returning to its vomit comes to mind.
So what shall I do to be saved?
14 We know that the law is spiritual; but I am unspiritual, sold as a slave to sin. 15 I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do. 16 And if I do what I do not want to do, I agree that the law is good. 17 As it is, it is no longer I myself who do it, but it is sin living in me. 18 For I know that good itself does not dwell in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. 19 For I do not do the good I want to do, but the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing. 20 Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it.
21 So I find this law at work: Although I want to do good, evil is right there with me. 22 For in my inner being I delight in God’s law; 23 but I see another law at work in me, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within me. 24 What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body that is subject to death? 25 Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord.
What the???!!!! Can anyone relate? I do that which I hate, and don’t do that which I know I should. I pretty much suck as a person. This is Tim being real and authentic about his flesh. My frustration is still seeking emancipation.
160/120 BP was a recent price of said frustration. I’m frustrated with being ill-equipped to do that which I know needs to be done yet I just can’t seem to get from here to there. I’m frustrated with the same old sins of selfishness and flesh. Blah! Why can’t I just get my crap together?
The Father revealed something to me on the road home from church the other day. People all around me and I am oblivious to them. I don’t love them. I don’t care about them. They’re simply strangers in other cars competing for the same space on the freeway – agents of inconvenience. How can I love and care about those with whom I am competing? Oh wretched man that I am! I just want them out of my way. At least THEN I will have a clear path to the throne of grace I so desperately need.
Again – can anyone relate? Am I the only self-centered ass in the church? It is the love of the Father that disciplines His son. I know that I know that I know that I am His son because of His rebuke and discipline. That makes me an heir. Thank you Jesus. Deliver me from myself.
So going forward I seek to love as He loves. I need the deep breath of redemption so I can exhale a big dose of the Spirit. Jesus loves each and every one of them such that he carried their cross and their sin. I needed that reminder. I need to extend more deference to aid in their deliverance. I need to love them all the way to Him. I need to extend the grace to them I have so generously received.
In Christ, the foundation of the gospel is to “love God and love others.” The first one I can do okay sometimes. The second part is still a challenge. Anything short of that though is still hypocritical and disingenuous, because to love Him is to love them the way He desires. And to love them is to love Him in the way He desires. I think that’s what "being REAL" in Him looks like.