We think we know better, don’t we? We think we can walk the line and have the best of both worlds. In the “comfort” of our world, we feel like we can “create” our lives. We busy ourselves with things and realities that do not last. These things are not wrong in correct context–food, clothing, making a home, schooling our children, playing, reading, watching, laughing, working, striving, drinking, eating, sex, seeking pleasures and entertainment. The problem expands when we see that they do not fill us, they leave us longing for more and better and bigger. The problem comes when they begin to consume us. The things we choose to numb the pain of this world steal our hearts. The things we think have “control” over, are the very things that kill and destroy our hearts.
Let’s deal in realities. A new piece of clothing or a child’s birthday party or a vacation or experience or goal met at work brings pleasure for a brief moment. Not long after, there is a sense of emptiness–a sense of longing for the next thing to bring pleasure. The things we seek are not lasting. Even our own health does not last. We are decaying. We feel in our joints and we see in our hair (or lack thereof) the diminishing returns that come with time. Those diminishing returns bring death. That death was brought by a choice to trust self over God–remember that choice made in the garden by Adam and Eve? It wasn’t about a piece of fruit. It was about elevating humanity and their “wisdom” surmising they were wiser than God…that what He said He really didn’t mean…that He was holding out on them…that He was not truly good.
The consequences of that choice ripped a schism in our hearts, our bodies, our world. Sometimes we think we still live in the utopia of the garden. We expect life to work. We expect things to be harmless. We even accuse God that our life is not working or is not fair assuming that He must not truly be good. We forget to heed the warnings–the dire warnings that we are living in a war zone instead of a peaceful utopia. We forget that we are warned of an enemy at work in our hearts–our desire and sin which bring decay and destruction within (James 1:14-15). What we want and desire kills our hearts and our ability to see truth. We ignore the reality that we have an enemy outside of us that seeks to KILL, STEAL, and DESTROY (John 10:10). This enemy longs to not only lay us flat out but to bring utter destruction to every pillar, post, and relationship in order to fight against any good. Destruction of marriages, children, families, relationships, bodies, churches, minds delights the enemy.
The second part of John 10:10 says “BUT I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.” Jesus is speaking of being the Good Shepherd who cares for His sheep and Lays His life down for the sheep. We forget we have a very Good Father, Shepherd, Redeemer, Refuge. He has told us about the enemies, the decay, the battle. He gives us comfort and joy in the midst if we remain in Him (John 15:5). He rescues us from our supposed wisdom and gives us true wisdom. He rescues us from our desires that bring death in order that we may live to the deepest joy of Him. He heals our brokenness in this very broken world. He also has laid out the ultimate victory. He promises us an eternity of reward on a new earth, no more tears and decay and destruction (Revelation 21:1-7).
This is all true. However, how do we live it?
Our family has felt the fiery darts of the enemy these last few years. Those darts are meant to Devour us. Those desires within us that will literally rot us–leading us to trust in what we see instead of trusting in who HE is. Usually these killer darts are not dramatic. They come in the form of hard things over time–the day in and day out. Circumstances and attitudes come and continue to come that cause us to be weary…to wonder if God is “gonna let up.” In the hard, we begin to find things that “work” for the moment to numb. Connecting with Him is perceived as too painful when nothing is changing. Dealing with the ongoing pain in our hearts is not fun–escape is fun for the moment. The end of the day tired and weariness leads to choices over and over in which thorns and weeds crowd out our hearts. We forget that “apart from Him we can do nothing.” Our disconnect from Him grows. Sound familiar? Wondering, is this really my pastor’s wife. Yes…we all are living in the same reality.
Greg has a sermon where the main point is “living is hard and dying is easy.” Is this not true? Decay, because of the consequence of sin, is natural–it happens with no work. Our natural tendencies and desires will lead us to death. Living requires a fight. We are weary–He says come to Me. We think His ways are burdensome, but He says–My burden is light. I am reminded in a season of weakness that I CANNOT afford to do this alone. I am reminded through His words of life that He has forgiven me, will restore me, and will walk me through every season to finish His work in me. I am reminded of every hard time that I have chosen to believe Him and come to HIm that He has given me deep joy in Him. Every time I dig into His word and trust, my eyes and heart are renewed and trained toward truth. I am able to look around and see with spiritual eyes what is bringing me death and what is bringing me life. I see part of the thousands of ways that He brings things to our lives to rescue us from ourselves. Yes, even and especially the hard stuff. I am thankful that life does not “work” most of the time, for if life worked and was easy, I would be decaying quickly toward death in my comfort. The choice comes over and over to see that the Lord is good…to see our need for Him…to see what abundant life really is instead of what we think it is in our creation. Join me in living. Let’s lock arms in the hard. Let’s examine our hearts in Him.
Decay (to rot or decompose)
Destroy (to ruin someone emotionally or physically) (put an end to the existence of someone by damaging or attacking) (to defeat someone utterly)
steal (to take another person’s personal property without permission or legal right with no intention of returning it)
kill (to cause the death of, to end the life of, to cause the end of, to turn off)
Devour (to prey upon, to eat up greedy or ravenously, to use up or destroy as if by eating)