I’ve written a lot of poems, sermons and blogs. Many different topics both personal and spiritual. However this blog may put to shame the deepness of the rest. Why am I doing this? Because if not for my own benefit….someone out there reading my heart in words may relate, find connection finally where they’ve struggled, or come closer to Jesus through it. It is my goal and my personal relationship with Jesus Christ that give me the confidence and no fear attitude in these writings. Too many times we sugar coat the depth of our hearts to restrain from bothering someone else or “crossing a line”…..but this man is trying with all I have left to carry my cross to the end.
Carrying this cross hasn’t been easy; in fact, the splinters that have dug into my flesh while carrying it will leave its share of scars. What I mean is, each move I have made in my life to try and go the direction that Jesus wants me to go; I find it a battle between my flesh and His cross. In a world born in sin, my flesh craves to be in the comfort of sin. It takes deep discipline to keep yourself farther from sin; however with the world increasingly allowing sin to be acceptable (sin according to scripture), the blinding yourself from the temptation is humanly impossible.
The human possibility is the focus of the problem. When I wrote “Christian” Hedonism my focus was to solely describe the pain I feel as a Christian having a desire indescribable to serve the Lord; only to be held back by an equal desire to feel good in a way that only the here and now can do. 😦 I, like many of us Christians, feel a lot of things and sometimes the feeling of temptation or of the temporary trumps the desire of fulfillment that only the Lord can give. Much of this struggle goes with our physical desires that the world emphasizes that we need more than desires that are unknown. I feel a dominant emotion that not only is Christ in my heart, but that all I want to do in this life is serve Him beyond ANYTHING this world has to offer….yet like a carrot dangled in front of a bunny, my direction goes with the temptations.
This “dark hole” that I’m feeling in isn’t a feeling that I have just found out I’ve been in; its a hole that Satan tries to keep us in for as long as we let him. However the longer you allow yourself to dwell in the darkness; the more the buzzards will circle above you looking to pick your bones….
How do we get this deep in darkness when we have a Savior so loving and has proven it to us day in and day out? Most of us, myself included, suffer from spiritual dozing….meaning that we can “sleep walk” in our spiritual life and when we doze off to how our relationship with Christ is going. We are unaware of where we are…..before we know it, we are in the dark hole of darkness wondering where HE went. WE leave Him….He never leaves us.
So on to why this is so big to me….it is no secret that I’m a deep thinker and that my life has had its ups and downs and overall; any problems I’ve had has been my fault. I have embraced God and slapped Him in the face all at the same time. I pray and cry and constantly complain about wanting Him more in my life and yet I am the one that is holding Him back! Why? Because I love sin still too much. I love to have wondering eyes and when I see distractions it gives me a silly temporary boost of egoism. But really? I feel like I have made excuses all the time for why I cannot stop thinking about and “gaucking” at other women. Its not to say in the least that I don’t love my incredible wife or think that she isn’t gorgeous; its a distraction of insecurity that I’ve had since I was 8 years old. I want VALIDATION in that I’m a good looking person and a person to whom people want to be around and learn from. Since I have struggled to have that in my life; I work harder to try and achieve that. Here’s the problem: I am constantly being misinterpreted in my gestures when I try and compliment others….however, I struggle worse in using good words not having sexualized double meanings. I want people to love me and like me and think positive about me; yet I have been hurt so bad by words and people not wanting to give me the time or day that this is what I’ve resorted to. A failed marriage, a failed first attempt at seminary, bad relationships, etc. have defined my insecurity within myself.
Yesterday I listened to Andy Stanley’s “Your Mission” series that he produces each week and he was speaking on “Guardrails” or boundaries in life. One area that I have good experience in and one I still struggle with through my professional manipulation (my words). His last session in that series was called, “Once and For All” where he spoke deeply about the commitment a person struggling with their guardrails needed to have to make them successful. We had listened to him speak about relationship guardrails, financial guardrails, spiritual guardrails, etc. each segment powerful in their own right. This last one he told the story of Daniel being tested by the King Nebuchadnezzar and wanting He and Shadrack, Meshack and Ebendego to eat from the King’s diet of the animals he sacrifices to his god. They all had a choice and like we do, the obvious choice would be to give in out of fear to please the King and not be punished. Yet that isn’t what Daniel did. Daniel had a choice to make and unlike the majority, he made the choice to not partake of the King’s food. This decision altered his life forever. The temptation was there to go with the flow and please the here and now; yet his faith in God the Father made him see that his faith in God taking care of his whole life was worth the sacrifice of the temporal. (Reference: See Daniel 1-3)
A decision….man, but just being normal and allowing the temptations to flow as long as I don’t give in to them again….isn’t so bad. Yet again I must remind myself Paul’s words: “So I tell you this, and insist on it in the Lord, that you must no longer live as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their thinking. They are darkened in their understanding and separated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them due to the hardening of their hearts. (Ephesians 4:17-18)” My heart has dark spots. My life struggles to see God and all His promises over the simple pleasures that lead to or is sinful. Have you ever hated being a Christian simply because of all the “rules” you have to follow? Why is that so bad?? Because you’re surrounded by a world that endorses and promotes SIN. You hate it because the sin is enticing! Sin is easy! Sin gives you the “boost” you sometimes need….so how can we get out of the dark hole and TRUST in God’s promises we all should know??
I’m tired of excuses….aren’t you? Making excuses to tell God how much you love Him but yet your actions are “lukewarm”? Telling God how sorry you are for mistake after mistake after mistake….and then after you “repent” (half-heartedly) you do it again in a short time. What is so enticing about the dark hole?? You can’t see….the conditions suck….and there you can’t even see yourself! There it is…..you can’t see yourself in the darkness….and Satan doesn’t want you to see yourself….the child of God you are!
Its decision time…..for you and for me. I am not afraid to admit I continue to fail and that what I want to do I don’t do; but what I don’t want to do, I do. How far will you go to show God He is the ONLY ONE and I mean it when I say it…..the ONLY ONE that means anything to you? Promises are nothing without commitment to back them up! I love to feel good, and I love to be the center of attention at times….but there is nothing these typing fingers want more than what I’m typing to be true and real for my heart, mind and soul! Daniel was offered security in the King’s court and even though he said NO to the King’s food requirement; the King saw that He was not only healthier and smarter than others who have eaten the meals. God blessed His dedication to Him by his faithfulness! To say NO in the face of temptation….I want to FEEL that everyday; no just every-so-often.
Today i visited a customer’s home that i ha e honestly never looked forward to servicing. The wife complains too much and they never fulfill their commitment to the time we set. Yet seeing them today the husband looked awful (being honest). Upon talking to him some, he’s getting over phenomena and has lung cancer. Immediately, as you could have guessed, my heart sunk. But it was what followed that haunted me half the day leading to writing this. He said, “I just hope I’ve done enough to get to Heaven.”
This floored me! Immediately I began thinking “pastorally” and tried giving all the best advice about grace, forgiveness, and a personal relationship with Jesus. He said he was taught that a sin was to be held accountable for and he would hope to get there at least admit what he’s done. I left there feeling overwhelmed with emotions. I realized that I was scared that I haven’t done enough yet for The Lord….not to get into Heaven; but to make Him more proud of me than ashamed. I knew I had to make a change….a REAL change!
I’ve done this before and so I pray that by making this public to all my brothers and sisters that it may mean more and it may sink in more how bad I am dying inside to have this. I don’t want to be in this dark hole anymore and I want every thing I ever say about God in my sermons, Sunday school or what….to be more passionate, more powerful, more meaningful to His glory than ever!
I am deciding today…..
- To stop watching inappropriate TV (any negativity, too much skin, sexuality)
- To stop having any relationship with a female, no matter who it is, without my wife knowing all there is about it.
- To stop feeling sorry for myself when I make a mistake; let the Lord transform me by each one and give Him the glory!
- To take better care of myself health wise so that I feel better overall.
- Love, Love, Love my wife beyond my abilities and quit picking on her, her weight, or anything to tear her down.
- Love my daughter and encourage her positive behavior and not be overly aggressive or mean to her when she acts her age!
- Read my Bible more. (Nuff said)
- Stop Complimenting and trying to “fix” people. I am not their Superman.
- Love the Lord my God with ALL MY HEART, ALL MY MIND AND ALL MY STRENGTH.
Pray for me…..this is the hardest thing ever for me; but I want it more than anything ever. Please Jesus, PLEASE heal my eyes and mind from all this crap that isn’t more important than you. You are worth more than the darkness! I DECIDE YOU! 🙂