Last year, God showed up in my life. He put my faith through countless trials, pushing me to the edges of my real beliefs. I say “real” beliefs because, deep down, we’re all just a bunch of story tellers; liars in our own rights. We choose what issues to face at any given time, while ignoring other, how shall we say, sensitive issues. You know, the stuff that God really wants us to tackle.
“Am I really that selfish?”
“Do I actually speak to the kids that way?’
“Am I really that hypocritical?”
The real beliefs. Yeah, God showed up and forced me to face the gamut of my real beliefs, in order to corner me into making a true choice to either follow him, or to follow the ways of the world. In truth, I guess I was so wrapped up in the invisible blanket of the world’s system of getting along, I failed to see the truth of God’s word in everyday life.
Everything happens to everyone in their own time. That’s one of God’s designs you see. He never gives us more than we are capable of handling at a given point in time. But you see, what someone may be able to handle today, I may not be capable of handling for another few years. One of my failure areas the Lord forced me to address, was judgement. I could read ten different scriptures addressing judgement, agree with their doctrines, and then turn right around and judge a friend who might not spiritually be where I thought they were supposed to be, in my time frame. When instructed to confront my own self-righteousness, I didn’t like what I saw.
Judgement was only one of the issues God had me tackle. I’ve got a bag full of them, and I’m sure I’m not alone. Satan’s a master craftsman. He weaves his poisonous threading into the delicate fabric of our being. He does such a great stitch job, we rarely notice our sinful beliefs and activities until something terrible happens, or until God’s intervention. A lot of times, I have the tendency to react to God’s discipline by throwing a tantrum, like I’m some spoiled five year old. But in the end, he always wins me over, because I can’t fight God. I know that everything he does in my life, is for the greater good.
Just before year’s end, I managed to get out to the movie theater and see the awesome movie “Courageous” three times; twice in the span of two days. For those who haven’t seen it, I won’t spoil the experience. I will say, it is an extremely powerful movie for believers and non-believers alike. Each time I saw the film, I was moved in a different way. It was confirmation for me to step up my efforts toward being obedient to the Lord and his overall plan for my life.
When I first started this memoir, I said, “Last year, God showed up in my life”. In truth, he’s been with me for the entirety of my existence. I began paying him some attention in 2008, but it wasn’t until last year that he challenged me to step out on faith and trust in him on numerous occasions. Man…it was hard to trust in him alone, on some of those trials, because the Lord’s promises usually defy logical thinking. But everytime I followed him, he performed some sort of miracle.
Today I feel like the relationship I’ve shared with him has been a bit one-sided. Most times, I followed the Lord’s call because I wanted him to do something for me. Sure reading his word always made me feel cozy; playing his piano during service made me feel special; and tithing made me breath a sigh of obedient relief. But I want a closer relationship with the Lord. I want to be able to follow his command simply because he said so; no expectations on my part. I don’t want to strike up any deals with God anymore. Paul and Jesus both followed God out of pure love and adoration; not because they wanted God to perform some miracle for them.
To that end, my New Year Resolution is a simple one. OBEDIENCE. I want to be obedient. No ulterior motives; no gimmicks; no doubts. I want to trust in God and do his will simply because he tells me to. In reality, this simple task is going to be so hard for me to implement, because deep in my soul, I am selfish. In my heart, I say things like:
“God, I want to be rich, someday. I want to know what it feels like to not have to struggle.”
“God, I want a new car. I’m tired of dumping money into that busted thing.”
“God, I’m gonna need you to give me about a month of no trials. I need a break from challenges.”
I, I, I; me, me, me. The things I want; the things I need; the things I want him to do for me in exchange for my doing for him. It gets pretty tiresome being double-minded all the time. I don’t want it anymore. I want to submit to God all the way. I realize it’s a process, but the desire to get the process rolling is what I’m talking about. I can never repay the Lord for his ultimate sacrifice in saving my life, but I sure can approach him with the best I have to offer, with no strings attached. I think that’s all he asks of each of us, anyway. Just bring your best.