Sidenote: today is my 29th birthday. Eight years ago today, I was riding back across the American/Mexican border with a large group of people from my church, having completed a short-term missions trip to Ensenada. I remember being pleased with myself that rather than celebrate with an orgy of alcohol as most 21 year olds do, I had started off my so-called “adult” life with service in the name of Christ instead. If I’ve learned anything since 2003, it would be this:
The deeper my walk becomes in the Lord, the more I realize my utter need for the Holy Spirit’s domination of all aspects of my life.
After typing nearly a page about last night’s incredible story of the holocaust from one of its survivors, I accidentally deleted all of it. Instead of rewriting the whole thing, I will simply express the lesson I learned last night: focus on what is good.
Philippians 4:8 says: “Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.”
Ephesians 4:2-3 says: With all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love; Endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.
Noemi Ban, a survivor of the holocaust, displays an attitude of grace and thankfulness despite her horrific story of human suffering and tragedy. If anyone had a right to be angry and full of hate and negativity, it would be this woman. However, time and again during her speech, intense themes of gratitude, redemption, and grace permeated the auditorium. I should take a cue from her.
I am guilty in many ways of focusing on the negative, being nitpicky and critical, and showcasing a bad attitude, often about trivial things of no consequence. While I can say with a clear conscience that it is not my intention to do these things, the simple fact of the matter is I need to change. My response to the technical difficulties at the auditorium last night leaves me disappointed in myself. In addition to that, I became exasperated with a member of the audience who seemed to want to keep making her point despite it being addressed already during the Q&A time. Today I’m asking myself, “Why?” Why did those things bother me? It would be easy to pawn it off on simply being detail oriented, or that I was righteously indignant on behalf of those who couldn’t hear the speaker because of broken microphones, but the truth is I need humility. Nobody gets it right 100% of the time. My own life is as good a story as anyone’s of that. My failure to swallow my pride prevented demonstrating grace for an imperfect human world.
There is room for much improvement in my heart. The above Scriptures make it clear. I must humble myself, exercise patience, extend grace and mercy to others, and always choose to dwell on the positive. Maintaining a heavenly perspective is what it’s all about. When striving to love others as our Father in heaven does, little issues that can get under one’s skin just melt away.
That’s where I want to be.
My lack of general understanding in this life is something I simultaneously loathe and love. The moment I believe I’ve got it all figured out, my growth will cease. Therefore, I must embrace my human fallibility (acknowledge God’s sovereignty), my mistakes (look for lessons He’s teaching me), and utter failure to comprehend deeper meaning (let go and let God). To appropriately address this is to pray for wisdom, discernment, direction, brokenness, and humility to accept correction and encouragement.
When one prays for these things, it becomes paramount to prepare for the consequences. What I can only refer to as heightened perception, altered perspective, and a sense of unrest continue to build inside me. Although normally this would be upsetting to me, instead my hunger and thirst for communion with the Lord has intensified. I feel God directing me toward awareness in the moment; not allowing myself to waste any of what I’ve been so generously given. I pray that I will never stop fighting to give ever more of myself over to His will for me and what He wants to accomplish through me. No compartment of my life is safe from the refining fire, nor would I want it to be. Too often I’ve kept for myself that which I know is poisonous.
Sin is unavoidable, but that does not mean I shouldn’t do my all to leave it behind. With the Lord Jesus Christ’s help, I will escape temptation by the power of God’s faithfulness (I Corinthians 10:13).
In the (excruciatingly often) times I fall short, His grace is sufficient. His mercies are new every morning.