Friday, November 25, 2011
Monday, November 14, 2011
Audrey is slowly learning how to appreciate the art of coloring…. I can’t believe she’s old enough for this.
We are also in the process of trying to break her thumb sucking habit. We decided to try the “sock route” so far it’s kind of working. She doesn’t take the sock off, but when it’s off (when it gets too wet or dirty we will take it off) she easily reverts to sucking her thumb. And I’m not talking the “occasional” thumb suck. She’s a compulsive thumb sucker and it’s already starting to effect her teeth --- it was time to do something.
Though it was a surprisingly tough decision, because as much as I didn’t want her to be a 6 year old thumb sucker, I also think it’s kind of cute.
She does pretty well with it, considering. She actually willingly comes over and lifts up her hand for us to put the sock on and sometimes she even smiles and laughs about it.
If we catch her sucking her thumb (without the sock) we tell her “No, Audrey, take out your thumb.” and we make the motion, and she takes her thumb out, smiles and goes “Ahhhhhhhhh!”
Friday, November 11, 2011
I am currently in a Bible Study on the book of 1 John. Going in, I was familiar enough with this book to fear it, but now that I’ve gotten to know it a little better, it has become a comforting friend.
If you’ve read 1 John, you know that the apostle John is not known for his “mincing words” ability. He’s hard core. He writes in absolutes. Forget grey areas – this book is filled with black-and-white, light-and-dark, child of God or child of Satan kind of talk.
Take a look at a section of the third chapter with me:
I don’t know about you, but when I read that my heart shuddered a little bit.
I mean, what does this mean? “no one who keeps on sinning has either seen him or known him”…. um, say what?
After studying this portion of scripture, and talking with some of the ladies in my study I feel like I understand it a little better, and it’s really been helpful in my walk.
It’s clear from the text and the original greek tense used throughout 1 John, that John is referring to habitual, unbroken sin in the life of a person, and not the occasional “fall from grace” type sin we all manage to stumble (and admittedly, jump) into on a daily basis. While this is somewhat of a relief to me, it is still somewhat frightening as well.
Because the truth is, I have this…. thing…. this area of my life that seems to consistently trip me up. Now, I don’t want to go into details here, but let me be clear in this “thing” is a sin, it is something I really enjoy, and something I’ve struggled with for --- a while (a long while… like over a year).
There are times when I am able to resist, run and seemingly defeat this thing. And then there are times that I decide, I don’t want to defeat it, I want to enjoy it. So….. when I read something like 1 John 3, it starts me thinking.
In my heart of hearts I know that I want to desire God more than this (stupid) thing. But oftentimes when faced with an actual choice…. I fail. I know that it’s sin, I know that I should resist, and yet I don’t – I choose not to. So what does this mean?
What does it mean (Biblically) when a believer struggles with a particular sin, over an extended period of time, a thing that trips him/her up and is just an over all “weakness” in their life (my pastor has called it a believer’s “Achilles heel”)? Is this even possible, for a believer to struggle with a long-time stronghold?
I’ve learned a lot in the past year, as I’ve struggled with some of my own flesh and strongholds. And I have realized for the first time what resisting temptation means, and how it should look. Prior to this particular struggle I never really had a sin that I couldn’t master with just a little resolve and self-control (of my own). It left me highly independent, when what I really needed was dependence on the One that could actually change my heart.
When we actually struggle in the flesh the way that I have been in the past year, we’re forced to come face-to-face with our sinfulness, and let me tell you, it isn’t pretty or easy to experience BUT it is humbling and life-altering (if you allow it to be). I have learned that some things are worth giving up, some relationships and habits are worth breaking, and sometimes our own resolve just isn’t enough.
Lest you think I’ve mastered this all and am speaking from some “higher place” let me put your mind at ease by saying, I’m still struggling, I still fail and I still do the thing that I don’t want to do. But I haven’t given up and I haven’t given in because He hasn’t given up on me, and praise God He never will!!
Throughout this process and studying different portions of scriptures, there have been times that I have actually walked away with more questions than I had answers. Like:
- What does it mean to be “dead to sin”? And why don’t I feel dead to sin?
- What does it mean when the Bible says “walk by the Spirit and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh”? (Galatians 5:16)
- OR how about all of 1 John? How am I to understand ANY of that?
- Am I saved? Can I desire my sin the way I do and still be a Christian?
- “We know that our old self was crucified with him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin. For one who has died has been set free from sin.” (Romans 6:6-7) Which part of me is my “old self” and why is it still talking if it’s dead?
- “Therefore if anyone is in Christ he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold the new has come.” (2 Cor. 5:17) What does the new creation mean, and if I am a new creation, why do I still have old desires?
Maybe it’s just me, but I’ve asked those questions!! More than once.
In the past week the Lord has been showing me in several different places and ways some encouraging revelation (and clarification) of His word:
When we confess Christ as Lord of our life and experience the new birth, we are in fact a new creation, the old is gone, the new has come. We receive a new-birthed spirit – we are a new being in Christ. (2 Corinthians 5:17, John 3:5-6) However, we don’t lose our old flesh, it still wages a war within us - which is what sanctification is really all about (Romans 6:22). Our flesh will always be at work against the Spirit (big S) Galatians 5:17 “For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do.” Once the Spirit comes to live in us, this creates an internal battle within us. (Romans 7:14-25)
But praise God, this isn’t the end, in the very next verse you will find Romans 8:1-11 which offers us the hope we are looking for
8 Those who are in the flesh cannot please God.
10 But if Christ is in you, although the body is dead because of sin, the Spirit is life because of righteousness.
This is how we are able to overcome, this is the confirmation we’re looking for.
We are no longer in the flesh but in the Spirit, and in Christ. The struggle is real, it will exist in us as long as we have our flesh, but we are dead to it, in the sense that it is no longer the part of us that controls our destiny and future. It is no longer the only part of us that we listen to or care about – we have been given a new life with a new purpose and a true Lord to serve which brings an entirely different perspective.
This changes everything.
This means it doesn’t always come naturally for us. It isn’t always going to be easy, and at times, when we allow our guard to drop and the flesh to creep back in it doesn’t even feel like a reality – but what we feel and what really is, can be two different things. When we’re feeling defeated we can know that God is greater than our feelings (1 John 3:20). He has defeated what we could not, and in Him, we can overcome our flesh.