2.22.2012

The Beauty in it all: A Choice

The Beauty of God and of our Lord Jesus Christ is that through everything Jesus endured and the pain he went through and the sins he took upon himself to give us life in him; he still gives us the choice.

He literally gave His LIFE and we get to choose. We have been afforded the option to follow him, to surrender our lives to him, to serve him, to follow him with our entire hearts. But why in the world would we NOT choose Him and His ways?

I agree that, yes, in our sin and our glory it is fun and enjoyable. I also acknowledge that it is only for a short lived period and the result is emptiness and longing. I know in my life for a lot more than reasons of fun, I have done things I'm not proud of and things that were sinful in every aspect. I did them out of my selfishness. For example, drinking, smoking, and hanging out with people that weren't believers. I was taking their direction and heeding advice from them. I was drinking to forget and leave reality. I was smoking to be able to "not care" and not let anything "really bother me" and everyone thought it was okay because I was in that state. It was "all cool dude." I did so many things to retreat away from this place and to erase memories. I didn't want to face the fact that I didn't have the choice in a lot of what had happened still, I had to deal with them. I thought that I could just smoke everyday and live in a state that drew me away from anything real. I lived in a "different world." I drew away from all of my friends who were a part of the body of Christ. I drew away from my family. I pulled away from the people even in my circle of new friends. I wanted to escape reality. I wanted to live in a world with just me so no one could disappoint me or me disappoint them. I didn't want to be vulnerable or hurt. I wanted to live in secret so no one had to know where I was or what I was doing and I wouldn't have to put up with anything and they wouldn't have to put up with me and my junk.

Junk that had to do with two people in particular in my life have shown their true colors to me in an awful way and I became bitter towards them and didn't want to forgive them. I didn't want to let them think that what they did to me was okay. I wanted them to know that it hurt and that they shouldn't get away with what happened. On the same hand, I didn't want to face either of them in that light. I didn't want to be the one to tell them that they hurt me. I didn't want to be that vulnerable. I didn't want to give them satisfaction in knowing that they had that power over me. I didn't want to face the reality that I had been crushed and I had no control in the situation. Control is something I very deeply struggle with. I don't like to let go. I like to protect my heart in every situation. I like to keep my heart in place that no other person on this earth can sincerely get to.

I didn't feel worthy of anything. I felt like I had ruined my life and my family. I felt like I had given God everything in my past and all that came with that was more heart ache and more pain. I felt like he had let me down or forgotten me. I didn't care either way at that point. Either way I had been let down. I had tried in my best efforts to put everyone else before me and had just gotten walked all over and taken advantage of in the worst of ways time and time again. I didn't realize at the time that I held a lot back from the Lord. I didn't know how to truly give him everything. I thought I could handle it on my own making my own decisions thinking they were the right ones but never really praying about them or asking for his guidance. I didn't seek him or his wisdom or his will with any urgency or seriousness. I tried in my best effort to read the bible every week or so and prayed but not for the right things. Not for letting the spirit work in me. Not submitting to him in any way but a few hours a week for prayer/church/reading. I didn't understand how to grow in a relationship with him. I didn't understand how to be open to the spirit. I didn't comprehend what exactly living with him meant.

As I was falling I got to be so awful I was to the point that I made decisions that effected my life in more ways than I could count. I still have to deal with the effects of decisions I made in my past. I had become so bitter. Bitter towards everyone at some point or another, my family & friends included. I saw the wrong in everyone and I saw the selfishness in their motives for everything that they did. I learned how to read people and see them for what they really are. The sad truth is that we are ALL SINNERS. We all FALL SHORT of the GLORY OF GOD.

Sometimes I think I saw the bad and horrible things in my heart and put that off on other people. There was a time in my life when I was so naive and didn't really understand the ways of the world. But then at some point I opened myself to the things of this world. I learned that people really do lie and steal and cheat. People really and truly and seriously hurt others. People are with out a doubt sincerely selfish and callous. I learned how people act one way and then become an entirely different person in front of friends and family. I learned that even I was one of them.

I have been learning recently that not only is it hard for me to give my heart to another person. It is also hard for me to even give it fully and completely to God. I have been learning that truly and entirely putting my trust and faith in the Lord that he will take care of my every need. He will heal my broken spirit, my jaded heart, and my attitude of negativity. That is a zillion times harder than just saying that I trust him and I have faith in him. It takes vulnerability and it takes me letting go of control. It takes letting him be the your voice when you can't be and trusting that his will above all else is right and just. It takes me totally falling on my face before my God and giving EVERYTHING I AM to him. EVERYTHING I want KEEP TO MYSELF, all of it up to him. I have thought in the past that I have given everything to him. I thought that I honestly grasped the meaning of this. But I think in growing with the Lord he reveals new things to us daily. He teaches us daily. He reminds me constantly that it isn't just a one time deal. It is forever, every morning when I wake up. Every struggle, joy, pain, sorrow, hurt, happiness, tear, sadness, pleasure, love, misery, etc. he says I can take to him and lay them all down at his feet. Matthew 11:28, "Then Jesus said, "Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest." He wants us to bring it all to him. He wants to be there in all of it. Not just the hard times. He loves us through good and bad.

I praise him for showing me that I needed to truly deal with these things and NOT by myself. I need to deal with them and take them to my creator, my Lord, and the one who takes all my sin and sends it as far as the east is from the west. Romans 12:19 says, "Dear friends, never take revenge. Leave that to the righteous anger of God. For the Scriptures say, 'I will take revenge; I will pay them back,' says the LORD." I needed to let go of my anger and my bitterness so that he can fill me with the Holy Spirit, and I could be overflowing with him. Ephesians 5: 18 says, " Don't drink too much wine, for many evils lie along that path; be filled instead with the Holy Spirit, and CONTROLLED BY HIM." I had become drunken with bitterness, regret, and sorrow for the things others had done to me and my reactions in sin. He takes my hurt and heals it. He takes my hand and he holds it through the process.

The most beautiful thing about our Lord is that He not only is there for us in our time of need and our time of joy. He lets every single person walking this earth decide whether or not they want to follow him and walk with him. He already chose us and told us that he has paid the price, John 3:16, "For God so loved the world he gave his one and only son that we may not parish, but have everlasting life." Now we have the choice to make. He puts it on us. Which I guess could be a whole hoard of pressure, but it shouldn't be. I have come to the place in my life that God teaches me new things everyday and I am learning what it really means to put my unconditional trust and faith in him and his plans for my life.

I praise the Lord so much for loving me and showing mercy. I praise him for showing me how to let go and for teaching me what it really means to let go of EVERYTHING and trust that He is the keeper of my heart. I praise him because even in my weaknesses, even in my darkest hour, in my worst of days; He is ALWAYS there. He promises me that he is always there that he will never ever leave me alone. In Deuteronomy 31:6 he says: "Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.” I believe that with my whole entire heart. I believe that his word is truth and I never have to lean on anything but him for the rest of my life. He is enough.

I praise him because he is a strong tower. He is a light to all, and forgives all of us, all we have to do is truly believe and confess and put our faith in him. He is the only one who can save me and truly be there in my time of need. His ways are so much higher. He is so much BETTER! And better is just one day in his holy awesome presence than anything my heart can fathom. Psalm 84:10 says, "Better is one day in your courts than a thousand elsewhere; I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my Lord, than dwell in the tents of the wicked."

He is in all and through all and he knew me before the world even existed. Ephesians 1:4-5 says, " Even before he made the world, God loved us and chose us in Christ to be holy and without fault in his eyes. God decided in advance to adopt us into his own family by bringing us to himself through Jesus Christ. This is what he wanted to do and it gave him great pleasure."

HE ALREADY CHOSE US AND HE PREDESTINED A LIFE WITH HIM, ABOVE AND BEYOND ANYTHING WE COULD IMAGINE. YET, HE GIVES US A CHOICE AS TO WHETHER OR NOT WE WANT TO PUT OUR TRUST AND FAITH IN HIM. AND WHETHER OR NOT WE BELIEVE HIS WORD.

I can say with all my heart that I believe with my utter and complete being that JESUS CHRIST SAVED ME FROM ALL MY SIN and ALL MY SHAME. I can say that he is my Lord and my SAVIOR beyond all else. HE IS! He is very present in my time and need. He is HOLY. He loves me in my weary days and brokenness. He loved me even when I walked away and tried to live without him. He loved me through my struggles and through my lost times. He loves me even though I have been damaged. He restores and heals the scars. 2 Samuel 14:14 says, "All of us must die eventually. Our lives are like water spilled out on the ground, which cannot be gathered up again. BUT God does not just sweep life away; instead, he devises ways to bring us back when we have been separated from him." Romans 8:28-31 says, "And we know that in ALL things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the first born among many brothers and sisters. And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified. WHAT THEN SHALL WE SAY IN RESPONSE TO THESE THINGS? IF GOD IS FOR US WHO CAN BE AGAINST US?"

No one and nothing in this world can separate us from His Love. He is holy, blameless, matchless and just. He created all things and is in all things. It is such an honor to serve a mighty king.

I wrote this post not to persuade anyone to believe what I do, but to tell the TRUTH of our God and our Savior Jesus Christ. He came and gave his absolute all so that we might have life in him, and I'm so excited about it! He gives us a choice and what more could we ask for? What do we say in response to his word? In response to the truth?

I am so thankful and so blessed and so unworthy to call him my own, but I can and I thank him so much for that. For pulling me out of the worst days in my life, for breaking my heart for the things I was doing and for burdening my spirit for him and his ways. I am so thankful to now be able to share and impact others for his glory and to be able to share the love, mercy, and compassion he has shown me.

He restores. He heals. He loves. He is just.