What happened after my snot slinging cry? My new found friend took me under her wing and I knocked 24/7. I was a fragile piece of wreckage. Five years of physical, sexual, and emotional abuse had taken their toll. What was left was on shaky ground. I was ready to follow. For the first time in my life I wasn't rebelling.
My friend spent hours with me, which turned into months and then years. She is my best friend the one who lives in Florida. There isn't an end to that story. BUT there was a weaning...of course.
We spent every day together. We went to church together and it was a growing thing but not quite right. Finally at one church she decided that "this is for you", but not her.
Firmly she told me to stay there and meet people. I did. I met the love of my life my sweet husband Jimmy.
I also met the Baptist potluck.
My first sight of it was GROSS!!! I have never felt such revulsion. Junk food everywhere, packaged, processed sugary piles of sweets...gluttony. I was sick looking and my new friend said, "but it tastes so good try some". It did indeed taste good.
Why did I take the first bite? What part of me was ready to abandon all I had learned? For all of my faults diet and exercise were not one of them. I was in the best shape of my life. I was an athlete. I rode a bike, roller skated, went to jazzercize three times a week. I was fit. I had learned about nutrition and I didn't eat food LIKE THAT. Why did I take the first bite?
In Mathew chapter 23 Jesus lets the pharisees have it with both fists. The heading over the battle is called "8 woes". Here is a little of it, listen to the anger.
Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you tithe (give a portion) mint and dill and cummin, and have neglected the weightier provisions of the law: justice and mercy and faithfulness; but these are the things you should have done without neglecting the others. You blind guides, who strain out a gnat and swallow a camel! Woe to you, scribes, and pharisees, hypocrites! For you clean the outside of the cup and of the dish, but the inside is full of robbery and self indulgence.
wow what is talking about?
Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like white washed tombs which on the outside appear beautiful, but inside they are full of dead men's bones and all uncleanness.
WOW. Talk about show don't tell. Jesus has that down doesn't he?
From the beginning since I was now "saved". I assumed that the scriptures that taught about scribes and Pharisees were about someone else, not me. In fact anytime there was a mention of someone not doing the right thing it wasn't me. I was the good Samaritan, the good soil, the pearl of great price....but there came a moment when I questioned that.
What if I am not good soil? Truthfully don't I let the thorns and briars in? Don't I let the worries and cares of this life take precedence over everything else? If I live like there is no God where is God? If I worry about houses and land, cars and bills, the daily grind of life, what to eat and what to wear; where is my faith?
When I drive by the homeless and look the other way to avoid the sign asking for food, when I throw the mail in the trash unopened with pleas to feed the starving; am I the good Samaritan? Am I loving my neighbor as myself?
I think not.
All of a sudden the Bible began to be a whole new book. I stopped assuming that I am the good guy and started really looking at what Jesus says and I have fallen miserably short. In fact I would go so far as to say I have done it all wrong. Seriously.
I have studied, preached, and explained, all from a distance. When you speak with authority and proclaim and admonish...you are in effect above and out of reach. Just like a Pharisee. I am not too harsh with myself, don't freak out, just listen to me. Do you like being preached at? Didn't think so.
What did Jesus do and how did He do it?
He walked, talked, served, ate and told stories. He connected with people. He showed them with stories the truth about God. He revealed the kingdom of heaven to men. He showed great mercy, he healed the sick, made friends with the outcasts, and lived among them...the poor, the sick, the disenfranchised. Wow he was a freak really; and we would strongly object to his methods. Which is why we are like we are, isn't it?
Did Jesus define following Him as saying a little prayer and asking him "into your heart". so that you could be once saved always saved for repeating a little ditty? Did He say that ever?
Actually he said, " Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide that leads to destruction, and there are many who enter through it. For the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life, and there are few who find it. Math. 7:13.
Not everyone who says to Me, "Lord, Lord ," will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is heaven will enter. Many will say to me on that day, 'Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform miracles? And then I will declare to them, 'I never knew you; DEPART FROM ME, YOU WHO PRACTICE LAWLESSNESS.'
Ok alrighty then. I have a little expression when I teach, it's "you can always trust the red letters, that is Jesus talking. These red letters are scary. I don't now about you but I have not cast out demons or performed miracles. That seems like credentials for the upper eschalon of the church and indeed it very may well be. Jesus doesn't call us to potlucks and platitudes. He calls us to pick up our own cross and die daily. Why doesn't He know them? What does it mean to know?
What does that look like in real life?
Does it look like the church?
Does it look like me being all about myself, my plans, my desires,my goals, my vacations, my savings accounts, my all about me agenda? I AM ALWAYS ON MY MIND.....
Why am I talking about this?
A revelation that back in the beginning instead of being transformed I picked up new junk. I dropped the behaviors that I was told to drop. Don't smoke, eat or chew; or go with boys that do. Without inner transformation of the soul dropping one list of don'ts results in picking up a new list of do's. My new list had food. The new list had only one acceptable vice gluttony, one of the seven deadly sins.
Here I am. Asking and still knocking. Seeking, fasting and requesting deliverance from this most deadly sin.
I no longer want to be a tomb full of dead men's bones. I am seeking the narrow gate. The good news is that transformation HAS INDEED been happening since that first morning on my living room floor. Step by step Jesus has been guiding me and teaching me. But now He is taking it to anutha whole level. Jesus wants to bust out of the "religious" box and take over me life. I have been just wrecked lately again, coming to the end of myself again, and realizing that the greatest gift is LOVE. Not man's love, God's love....He loves us.
I have been singing, "I want MORE of YOU God!!! I have been asking ,"BREAK every chain"!
I have been admitting how I fail, "Help my unbelief". I want to be so radically different so full of God's love that it is irresistible. I want to be a light in a dark place to share the love of God.
God is answering.....to be continued....