07 September, 2009

Make every effort...

"For this reason make every effort to add to your faith, goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, love." (2 Peter 1:5-7)

I remembered this verse today after a particularly bad instance of living the total opposite. It amazes me how quickly I can go from living in Him, to living in the vileness of my humanness. This verse haunts me...

There has been a theme in much of what I have been interacting with here - the difference between knowing God and being infected with the Holy Spirit. It's seeing my walk as an academic exercise with a lot of knowledge and insight and being able to recite Bible verses vs. a life change - being kind, loving, loving my enemy, serving people because they are made in His image, being so deeply infected by Him that I cannot be angry.

And I am angry, very angry. And I think it is a mask for a lot of hurt and betrayal and lack of control. And I've been angry for a very long time and I hate it. I respond in anger all the time, I have no patience, and my words are so biting! It's horrible. I am horrible in this respect.

Yesterday at church (the longest service ever 4.5 hours!) they were talking about 1 Corinthians 3:10-17 - the foundation of our lives and the fact that our bodies are temples of God.

His temple is sacred. And I am it. Do I act like it? Do I think or behave or care for myself like I am His temple? A temple for the King, a temple that reflects His glory? Am I kind, loving, giving, faithful, pure, etc. as we are called to be? Is God the only God there or are there rooms in the basement for fame, anger, lust and distrust?

Is God deceived? No, but I keep trying. Expose me Lord for the fool I am and bring me back to Your grace. Save the parts that are good and drive the money changers out. In Your righteous anger cleanse me, O Lord.

That's another theme - God won't be shared. I am reading through Jeremiah - really reading it - and God compares the nations to adulterers and prostitutes - and aren't we all that? Don't we cheat on God with knowledge, beauty, fame, importance? Do we prostitute ourselves out to money or a relationship or a job or being liked or being seen as smart? We all go out and cheat on God and then try and snuggle upto Him at night (or when things go badly), but He will not be shared. Someone described the parts of our heart that He hasn't been allowed into as enemy occupied territory - and nothing short of an invasion and battle will drive them out. And it's true. But see, we have to choose God and choose purity.

I can't keep my self-indulgent anger's number for time it's convinient yet pledge devotion to God. It won't work that way. I cannot worship the idol of money and tell God I trust Him to provide. Yet we all do it, every day in almost everything, we try to serve two masters whether we mean to or not.

Faith, goodness, knowledge, self-control, perseverance, godliness, brotherly kindness, love.

What if instead of working 60 hours this week we gave 20 more to pursuing goodness? Instead of trying to learn more about Aristotle we learned more about self-control. Instead of putting on make-up and a clothing that will attract male attention we pursued godliness? What if instead of being angry I tried some brotherly kindness?

It's a progression, it's a staircase and you need one to get to the other. But ultimately you need God, because without Him and His perpetual grace and the gift of the Holy Spirit we cannot even had adequate faith to withstand an enemy attack, and trust me, if you reject the idol of success for the God of Love, satan is going to come after you. Because he doesn't want that - he doesn't want us to dwell on the things above and so as your strive more for these things he will push you harder to come back to the dark side.

All that to say, if you think of it, say a little prayer for me.