Sunday, July 8, 2012

Back to the Basics

Suppose you were struggling with a number of health problems. You'd been having headaches, couldn't sleep, and overall you were feeling just tired and sick. On top of that you're several pounds heavier than you'd like to be. So, you get some ibuprofen to treat the headaches, some sleeping pills to help you sleep, some coffee for your tiredness, and a reduced diet to slim down.

Several days go by on this regimen and things are getting worse. You see your doctor. Perceiving that diet might be the issue, he gets you started on a healthy diet and recommends you stay away from the medications. 

Several more days go by and you aren't getting better. You go to see the doctor again. He happens to ask,
"What have you been drinking lately?"
"Why is that?", he asks politely.
"Well, I read that fat is 80% water. I figured the sooner I cut off my water intake, the sooner I'd lose these extra pounds."
He chuckles and says, "You might see some temporary results with the diet I'm giving you but until you get back into drinking a good amount of water, you won't get any healthier."
So you go home excited about this fresh revelation. You chug a bunch of water and already you're  feeling better.

Several more days go by and you're back to your old sickly self. What happened? You did everything the doctor instructed. You sheepishly return to your doctor for more help.
"Doctor, I did everything you said and I'm still not getting better!"
"When was the last time you drank some good water?"
"The day we last met."
"You haven't drank anything yesterday or today?"
"No... you didn't tell me to", you say, puzzled.
"Sounds like you need to get back to the basics. You need a daily intake of a healthy diet AND water. Get those things established and see if you don't get healthier."

Recently, I've been trying to treat the symptoms of a starved spiritual life. I see apathy and covetousness and laziness and impatience and doubtfulness and irresponsibility bubbling up in my character. My knee-jerk reaction is to respond to every symptom with a 5-step plan towards conquering the symptom. Somehow, the harder I try, the worse it gets. Inevitably, I get overwhelmed and discouraged.

Perhaps I've been pulling the trigger before loading the bullet.

One thing I know for sure is that my scriptural intake has reduced in the last several weeks. I'm drying up (spiritually speaking) and the symptoms are getting worse. I've been supplementing my relationship with God with other things. It's time to get back to the basics.
"All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work."
(2 Timothy 3:16-17 ESV)
"But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks intently at his natural face in a mirror. For he looks at himself and goes away and at once forgets what he was like. But the one who looks into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and perseveres, being no hearer who forgets but a doer who acts, he will be blessed in his doing."
(James 1:22-25 ESV)
Are you getting starved? Is it time to get back to the basics? Start by drinking from the living water of the God's word.

Have you not known? Have you not heard?
The LORD is the everlasting God,
the Creator of the ends of the earth.
He does not faint or grow weary;
his understanding is unsearchable.
He gives power to the faint,
and to him who has no might he increases strength.
Even youths shall faint and be weary,
and young men shall fall exhausted;
but they who wait for the LORD shall renew their strength;
they shall mount up with wings like eagles;
they shall run and not be weary;
they shall walk and not faint.
        (Isaiah 40:28-31 ESV)

Friday, July 6, 2012

Simple Surrender

I've thinking about how much I need to change in the last several weeks. I have all these grand intentions of getting this-n-that down and setting this-n-that goal and pleasing God by how hard I try to be good for Him. Perhaps I'm not trying hard enough? Or perhaps I'm trying hard in the wrong ways.

Perhaps I've got my gas pedal and brake pedal switched. I'm stomping on the brake pedal and expecting to go somewhere.

I was telling a good friend about all the frustrations I'd been struggling with in myself. He said, "Just gotta take one day at a time."

That struck me. I'm so focused on what's next that I forget to embrace today. Today is a gift. Today is when the world is at my fingertips. Today is when God is here and He's ready to forgive me and change me. Today is the day that the Lord has made. I can do something about today. I can devote this day to Him.

I've been fighting and fighting for change in my live. But now it's time to surrender. It's time to surrender my pride and admit that I can't be good enough on my own. It's time to surrender my selfish ambitions and self-sufficient attitude. It's time to surrender my reluctance to just trust and obey. It's time to confess my sin and seek forgiveness. It's time to choose joy. It's time to surrender.

Simple surrender.