WHAT DOES IT TAKE?

Part 1, My story

Many times I sit and wonder why I sin the way I sin. Then I remember I have the same sin problem Apostle Paul had as I am reminded what he said in Romans 7:15, I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do. His words fit me to a tee! This brings me to wonder “what does it take” for me to stop this cycle? Gratefully I am reminded what I learned in scripture. I am a sinner and will be a sinner till Jesus takes me home. I am also forgiven by the wonders of grace that is given to me even though I do not deserve it. And out of love for my God and my neighbor and the desire to be obedient to His word I strive to sin less. His reminder to us in Acts 3:19 Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord, is very helpful and His words make my mind at ease.

However one thing has stuck with me and that is the words of Jer. 31:19, After I strayed, I repented; after I came to understand, I beat my breast. I was ashamed and humiliated because I bore the disgrace of my youth. I am still ashamed for the sins I committed in my youth and younger days and have repented and been forgiven. However, like I have told our Apache students many times, our actions have consequences and they may stay with us for the rest of our lives even though we have been forgiven. I can make that statement to them because I know it is truth because I am still suffering the consequences of my immaturity and sinful life after fifty years. I have been forgiven as a Christ follower but the scars and ramifications can’t be erased and have affected many people. And for that I am, as Jeremiah stated, ashamed and humiliated because of the disgrace of my youth.         

Fortunately the knowledge and wisdom (which I still need more of) I have gained has helped me be a better “new creation” and helps keep me from judging people incorrectly (yes, we can and are supposed to judge but we are to use righteous judgment) but I still wonder about myself and others and why we do the things we do. I think the answer may come when I am Home with the Lord.    

When I was still receiving milk during my walk with the Lord I could not understand for the life of me why people in Jesus’ day did not believe in Him. The had the Torah that told of how and why a savior was coming, they could see and touch the physical person of Jesus, they were witnesses to His countless miracles, listened to His new teachings that co-in sided with Old Testament scriptures but many still doubted and did not believe. Why?

I can not answer for them, just make assumptions. But I can tell my reasons for not believing, doubting, and not seeing things that were in plain sight. First of all I was an ignorant believer. I was baptized at 14, knew nothing about what had happened to me, went to church but did not take it seriously and no one really tried to get me to grow in my faith. As I look back at it, the only important thing was that I was baptized and was coming to church and that is what seemed to matter.

When I was 15 I got a full time job and when I was 16 I received my diverse license and church was history.  2 peter 2:19, “for a man is a slave to what ever has mastered him” and what mastered me was my car, girls and having fun. And that thought process continued for some twenty years.

As an adult I think the scales on my eyes and heart were my relationship with the world. The 60’s and 70’s was many years of continuous parties and anything went. I was in partnership with the world. I was having too much fun, or so I thought. Other scales that blinded me included pride, selfishness, an I can do it myself attitude, no consideration of eternity and a lack of wisdom. There was not enough room for wisdom when it’s all about me! Oh, I left out a very important scale that needed to fall of and it is that if I searched for Jesus and wisdom I might have to give up things and that was not in my plans. The world won out. (Check out 1 john 2:15-17, Romans 12:2, James 4:4, John 12:43, and Matthew 6:24 to read what the scriptures say about the world). As a maturing Christ follower I can say that Jesus has helped me remove many of the scales from my eyes and continues to do so to this day.

Sadly, the scales that covered my eyes and my blindness did not just affect me it affected many. And that is something that many people don’t seem to understand, comprehend or just don’t care about their actions as they affect others. In the past I fell into the category of being totally blind and just did not care or even think about it. Again, there is no wisdom when you are thinking about yourself.

In my late 30’s I started to grow a little when Jesus was presented to me face to face. The true Jesus, what He stood for and what responsibilities I had if I was going to be a follower of Christ. As many people say, “it did not happen over night.” My growth and the beginning of wisdom came very very slowly. I had the joy of the Lord but still wanted the joys the world had to offer. The churches we went to really did not encourage me to grow and make hard choices that I, as a Christ follower, had to make. The messages were bland and unconvincing – scripture calls it milk! And as I look back I can’t blame it all on the milk I received. It is my responsibility to study scripture, ask questions and take charge of my growth and for many years I did not. My fault, no excuses.

It wasn’t till later on that I really started studying all of scripture, the easy parts and the convicting parts. There were scriptures that challenged me and force me to make a decision as to who I will follow and be obedient to, and advised me what to do when I sin and how to recover. How to treat people and the wisdom to think about my actions and consider the consequences not only to myself but how they will affect others. And I have learned to stand up for truth even when it costs me friendships. However, the remaining scales on my eyes are becoming loose and some are ready to fall off and that will be a blessing. 

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