Ephesians 4:17-23 New Living Translation (NLT)
Living as Children of Light
17 With the Lord’s authority I say this: Live no longer as the Gentiles do, for they are hopelessly confused. 18 Their minds are full of darkness; they wander far from the life God gives because they have closed their minds and hardened their hearts against him. 19 They have no sense of shame. They live for lustful pleasure and eagerly practice every kind of impurity.
20 But that isn’t what you learned about Christ. 21 Since you have heard about Jesus and have learned the truth that comes from him, 22 throw off your old sinful nature and your former way of life, which is corrupted by lust and deception. 23 Instead, let the Spirit renew your thoughts and attitudes.
My thoughts & attitudes reflects the condition of my heart. And the Lord has been testing it- again.
Proverbs 17:3 New Living Translation (NLT)
3 Fire tests the purity of silver and gold, but the Lord tests the heart.
We have just entered into our 3rd month of our 2nd season of unemployment. I’ve often wondered out loud to my husband why are we having to endure this faith building exercise- again?!? During the 1st season we finally understood what it means to believe & trust God as our provider. We were grateful that when the lay off hit, we had no debt and there was money in the bank to pay the bills for almost a year. We were humbled and thankful for others He sent who provided meals, groceries & cash which stretched our resources and continued to sustain our family. We stood in awe of the divine health He’d given us for the entire time, as we didn’t have the extra $ or insurance to pay for medical care. We continued to thank Him for His provision when a contract position was handed to Doug the month all the $ ran out. We felt overwhelmed with all of the blessings He continued to shower on us during the next 11 months Doug was employed:
-$ to re-fill the savings account
-resources to fix several of the “to do’s” around the house
-rewards dollars to take that dream family vacation we wanted to take in 2010
-extra reward dollars for Doug & I to take a vacation alone- to a private island (again, another “dream” vacation!)
-home-school field trips
-more divine health
-new ministry opportunities
The list goes on and on……yet in the midst of this 2nd turn of unemployment I’ve been unexplainably angry. Angry at Doug. Angry at the kids. ANGRY!!! And instead of asking God “why am I so angry?” I’ve avoided Him….because clearly, I can handle this by MYSELF!!! Plus, it’s the holidays and I have WAY too much to do- I don’t have time to deal with how I feel. After all, He is a loving God, He understands…so why shouldn’t He give me a break on the whole read my bible, journal, pray thing that I need to do everyday??? He knows that if I take the time it takes to do all that I won’t have time to get all the holiday shopping & planning done so that everyone can have a Merry Stinkin’ Christmas!!!! Of course, in the midst of all this fa la la la la-ing I’ve also been angry about having to celebrate Christmas this year- even though I have less to do than in previous years (only exchanging gifts for the kids in the family, no Christmas cards, less holiday parties to attend…). What the heck?! Instead of decking the halls, I’ve mostly felt like decking everyone around me!!!
Then….BAM!!!…God, in His infinite wisdom & love decked me with the flu. I suppose He figured that if I couldn’t spend time with Him because I was too busy, He would clear mine and my families busy schedule (5 of the 6 of us are now sick). And….as the loving, obedient daughter I am- I ran right back to Him- 4 days after I had been laid up in the bed watching WAY to many cheesy holiday movies on Netflix……and what He told me…well, kinda made me….angry…and then convicted.
The reason for this 2nd round of unemployment isn’t because He’s still trying to teach me that He is my provider and that He wants to bless me because I am His child- that truth is beginning to take deep root in my heart….no- this time He’s working on a thing that goes way down deep in my heart that needs to be yanked out- at the root- by the Spirit. You may have heard of it: pride. Instead of writing a laundry list of all the ways I have failed to live by the Spirit in this area- I will just sum it up by saying that when God decks you in this area, it hurts (because, if we are really honest with ourselves…and God…we all think pretty highly of ourselves, don’t we?). Fortunately, I know that God disciplines those He loves and without that discipline, I can’t walk out the calling He has placed on my life with JOY! Oh, I can try to do all these things- in fact, I can perform most of these tasks with ease, but I will be grumbling all the while as my anger continues to bubble and stew leading to an eventual explosion of bitterness.
So, today, I choose JOY over anger as a result of my pride and I ask the Savior of the world to forgive me for believing that my strength lies in my superb abilities instead of in my weakness- as I surrender my heart to Him….and then every day after this, I will ask Him to fill me and renew my thoughts and attitudes!
Now how about some Christmas music?
Deck the Halls, anyone?!?!