The defense of self, not in form of physical protection or emotional safety, that inflates and puffs up individual status rather than bringing edification to the gospel and neighbor will always be humanity’s downfall.
The word was bound upon his forehead, but words of grace did not part from his lips. Friends nearby cautioned my advance. However, I did not heed the voice of God, whispered through his nearby vessels. I bludgeoned the serpent with license and he bit me with the sting of legalism. The bubble of pride that I had pushed air into exploded with his rage filled words. I had antagonized rather than prayed.
Somehow I got the notion that I needed to defend the grace of God. As the words of God embalmed me later, he assured me he needs no defense. I do. I need to put on the armor of God, by engraving his promises upon my heart and memorizing his wisdom. I need to turn the other cheek and in doing so, the mercy of God will vibrate when an offender’s hand pulls back.
Yesterday I posted about doubt being part of my story. Doubt, I said, was a boardwalk to the waters of deep trust. Yet when I read Deut. 1:29-33 “Then I said to you, “Do not be terrified, do not be afraid of them. The LORD your God, who is going before you, will fight for you, as he did for you in Egypt, before your very eyes, and in the desert. There you saw how the LORD your God carried you as a father carries his son, all the way you went until you reached this place. In spite of this, you did not trust in the LORD your God, who went ahead of you on your journey, in fire by night and in a cloud by day, to search out places for you to camp and to show you the way you should go.” I found that my recent doubt is shackling the power of God in my mind. I keep feeling the need to arouse sympathy for my plights, be it of my own volition or mere circumstance. He is leading me to a place of rest in himself, but I keep arguing about the trail.
My pride, it seems then, is less about defending myself to some fundamentalist for the offensive remarks he threw and more so about my recent unbelief. If I’m truly honest, I thought I needed to take up arms because I’ve belittled the power of God in my life. I haven’t hoped in what he can do. I fear that.
I fear that if I allow myself an ounce of hope that I’ll be let down again. I fear that if I tread in waves of uncertainty, allowing God to be the preserver, that I’ll drown in unmet selfish desires. I fear him fighting for me because I want justice in the moment, not years down the road. I fear forgiveness of others because I haven’t forgiven myself. I’ve thought God made a mistake in this creation. I’ve thought him less than perfect. I’ve thought him as cruel and not good. Following him in the storms is hard and I haven’t wanted to do it. I know that the man from yesterday has his own heart motivations to assess, but when I look at my own, I see that I really haven’t trusted. I’ve asked God to calm the sea because I haven’t trusted that he can weather me through it. I have thought that this is too much for me to bear. I took offense at a friend saying doubt meant I wasn’t trusting God because I didn’t want to admit that I haven’t been lately.
My inflated ego is being popped. My barbed wired walls are being smashed. Christ is asking me to open myself to the possibilities he has in store. He’s asking me to call him Kurios (Lord, Lord, Master), to let him be the author and perfecter, not usurp his designs. He’s got something better in store for my journey if I’m only willing to look at him, not the faith of or acceptance from others.