Monday, February 24, 2014

Sheep and Waves

No wonder the Bible calls us sheep. Sheep aren't very bright. I am a pretty stubborn sheep sometimes.

Have you ever had one of those moments, where it's as if you have been handed a mirror and you suddenly can view yourself, and it isn't pretty?
When you remember something you did, even if it was years ago. Something you had forgotten about until that very moment. When you see it in a whole new light and that glaring spotlight reveals to you that you did something really ugly?
That moment that happens when you are speaking, and there is a small voice in your head saying, "Excuuuuse me! Helloooo! Do you hear yourself?!?"
I have. 

I always find it fascinating how God works. I suppose I shouldn't be amazed at it, but then again, I pray I am never so aloof that I am not awed by Him. 
I am awed how in those quiet times with God, He shows me things in my life, parts of who I am that need some adjusting, and then that very day something happens to hammer the point home. 
That's what happened a few weeks ago. Only it was more than a hammer. More like crashing wave after crashing wave.I tried to convince God (as if it were even possible) that I am right and He simply had the wrong idea. Did I mention I am like a sheep and not so bright? I did? Ahh. 

And God held fast to me and my heart. He just didn't let go. Every time I read my Bible, every sermon I heard preached, every time I turned around it seemed, I bumped into this "thing".

And that "thing" that God was telling me I needed to get right?

My tongue. A specific incident that had occurred years ago kept coming to my mind. I saw it in a new way. A way that did not sit well in my heart. 

James in the Bible wrote a whole chapter about the tongue. It's a fire that burns everything in its path. The book of Proverbs is chock full of admonitions regarding our words. You would think that with all that good instruction, I'd have figured it out by now. Nope. Baaaa.

The first few times I felt this conviction about my words, I blew it off. Lip service to God, in a sense. And then, like Jacob, I wrestled with God. 

I argued with God for weeks. 

Then something happened which initially, seemed completely unconnected. I was defending myself to someone and words that were so full of self-pride, self-love, self-everything, came out of my mouth. And they literally echoed in my head. 
Seriously. I can still hear them echoing. Like a crashing wave pounding on the shore.

Later that very same day, someone said something about me that hurt. They didn't say it to me directly, but it got back to me, as those things often do. And God pricked my conscience again. Another crashing wave. 

Do you know, I still argued with God about it? I rationalized and justified myself and my actions. Stupid sheep. Baaaa.

I'll never begin to understand how the Lord does this, but He brought me to a passage of scripture that stopped all my arguments:
Psalm 50: 16-21
 16 But unto the wicked God saith, What hast thou to do to declare my statutes, or that thou shouldest take my covenant in thy mouth?
17 Seeing thou hatest instruction, and casteth my words behind thee.
18 When thou sawest a thief, then thou consentedst with him, and hast been partaker with adulterers.
19 Thou givest thy mouth to evil, and thy tongue frameth deceit.
20 Thou sittest and speakest against thy brother; thou slanderest thine own mother's son.
21 These things hast thou done, and I kept silence; thou thoughtest that I was altogether such an one as thyself: but I will reprove thee, and set them in order before thine eyes.

Whoa! I knew in that moment that I was wrong. Very, very wrong. Confessing it to God was easy once I stopped arguing with Him and admitted I was wrong. 1 John told me that if we confess our sins, God is faithful and just to forgive our sins and to cleanse us from all our unrighteousness.
Yesterday afternoon I was reading through the book of Matthew and came across a passage I have read so many times:
 Matthew 5: 22 But I say unto you, That whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment: and whosoever shall say to his brother, Raca, shall be in danger of the council: but whosoever shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell fire.

23 Therefore if thou bring thy gift to the altar, and there rememberest that thy brother hath ought against thee;
24 Leave there thy gift before the altar, and go thy way; first be reconciled to thy brother, and then come and offer thy gift.

Do you know that stupid sheep within me, tried to argue with what I knew God was telling me to do? I really didn't want to go through that struggle again. So I did what I should always do. I prayed for strength and then did what God was teaching me to do. 

God isn't done with me yet. I am still a sheep in so many ways. Baaaa.

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