A Fool’s Error

Stupidity is frustrating.  This is so because it flies in direct contravention of God’s created order.  Things are not as they should be.  The person of unbelief can see it just as well as the person of faith.  They may not be able to articulate it, but the image of God which is seared into their entire being screams in opposition against such foolishness.

Forrest Gump learned that “Stupid is as stupid does.”  An equally true axiom is that “Stupid is as stupid thinks.”  Before we ever do one foolish thing, we consider it, ponder upon it, and muse in such a way that we twist folly into wisdom.  We know what we ought to do, but the perversion of sin taints our every thought.  We say that our idiocy is the best thing for everyone involved, while we act in such a way to benefit only ourselves.

It doesn’t have to be this way.  Wisdom plaintively cries that we heed her voice, but too often her portents of doom go unheeded.  If the Self is fixated on itself, then every other voice sounds as nothing more than a gentle wind.  While wisdom may speak through friends and loved ones, it goes unnoticed, as the Self stands gazing in the mirror, blocking all other things from view.

And, let’s be honest.  We can never see our own stupidity.  That’s why it is not good for man to be alone.  You’ll never know you have something in your teeth unless your friend takes the time to tell you.  The irony is, that the dumber you are, the less people you are likely to have around you.  Folks can only tolerate so much waywardness.  The Self wins, then, standing alone in the room which he has constructed for himself.  There’s only one problem:  he forgot to build an exit.  Only someone from the outside can help him coordinate his escape.  Will he heed their pleas?  Or will he insist that his way is the way?

peeking-through-the-keyhole

Jesus said, “Come unto me all who are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.”  Sounds like a ticket out, doesn’t it?  Surely such self-absorption can grow wearisome!  You would have to be an utter fool to detest such an offer!  And yet, so many do, Christians and non-Christians alike.  “The fool says in his heart that there is no God,” and the one who rejects Christ on any front condemns himself the fool.  It is only by His urging, and His persistent pleas, that any of us ever see the light of day.  Only Christ is able to hold the corrective lens over our muddled plans, and help us see our error.

I don’t know if this post will bear much fruit.  The stupid are often mute and blind as well.  But, my hope and prayer is that we each would examine our own foolishness against the Light of Scripture, and allow its healing balm to soothe away our folly.  We’ll look back one day and wonder why we ever thought such a way.  And we’ll marvel that we were ever so foolish as to go our own route instead of His.

Against the Ropes

I’m excited.  I’m excited because God is doing a work.  Specifically, in me.  And, trust me, it’s not because I’ve got it all together.  Oh, no.  In fact, I began to suspect that He was up to something at the precise moment that I admitted that don’t have it all together.  In fact, I’m a reprehensible mess, a tired mashup of past failures, poor circumstances, and an ego the size of Wisconsin.  There was really no hope for me.  But, God, in His merciful kindness, beat me to a bloody pulp.  And, when I got off the mat and stammered, “I got this,” He beat me down again.  And on and on it went, until a light bulb went off between my cauliflower ears:  “Maybe you should just stay down.”  So, stay I did.  It felt like death.  Innumerable deaths, to be exact.

boxing-ring

And, they haven’t stopped.  They’re not nearly as painful as before, but He continues to slay in me what is not of Him.  I feel sometimes like I’m balancing plates.  I gain victory in one area, only to find that I’m losing ground in another.  But, still He hovers over me, like a Fatherly Coach, challenging me to reach farther, and hold out longer, until I’m exhausted with sheer delight at simply being in His Presence.

There’s nothing else like it.  No earthly joy could ever measure up, no human relationship could ever distill what it is to be in the Light of His Glory.  And, those same joys, and those same relationships, grow sweeter because He has been here.  The tinge of His radiance lingers, just long enough to hold me over until He returns again.

So, needless to say, I’m excited.  I don’t know what lies in store ahead, but I know that He’s got it under control.  And, as long as stay under His control, who knows what He’ll accomplish through me.  Because I’m worthy?  Certainly not!  Only because He is.  I want to please Him, in every way, no matter how minuscule the task may seem.  Soli Deo Gloria!

The Temptress

SONY DSC

I like Oreos.  Every time that I’m in the supermarket, I hear their distinct call.  I like Cap’n Crunch, too.  And Milk Duds.  So, when I’m at the grocery store, they gang up on me and scream their siren calls in three part, death metal harmony.  Inevitably, I’m walking outta there with one of them.

Sadly, this song is sung not just over my stomach, but over my head, heart, hands, and every other part of me.  It seems that no matter how often I wrest a victory from temptation, its cry remains as deafening as the first time.  It’s relentless in its pursuit of me, and the consequences can be far graver than a few love handles.

What hope do I have when the same temptations continue to rear their ugly heads, time and time again?  Shouldn’t I be able to enjoy some level of peacetime on these fronts while I wage war in other arenas?  How can I gain victory in the “new” sins that the Lord has revealed when I never fully leave behind the old ones?

I have no wisdom to offer except this: “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding” (Prov. 3:5).  I know we’ve heard it a thousand times, but we’ve fought the same battles a thousand times, as well.  The moment that you think that you’ve bested a temptation is the moment that it snags you yet again.  We don’t live in constant fear of facing it, but we are painfully aware when it calls that we are, at our core, a sinner.  It seems that God allows the temptation to threaten so that we will never grow too big for Daddy’s arms.  He uses these occasions to remind us of our desperate need for Him.

So, when in harm’s way, don’t assume that you can handle the temptation.  Instead, run to the refuge that has rescued you a thousand times before.  Come groveling again like the needy infant that you are.  And, when, in that moment, you find the victory yet again, be grateful that you have a Father that is sufficient in confronting every foe.  Yes, Oreos.  That means you.  Even you are defeated in the name of Jesus.