this is going to be a long one. im giving you the heads up now. and, like usual, it may not make sense to anyone- but it makes beautiful sense to me... right now im sitting on my coconut-shell mattress with a massively full heart. i have been sorting through my thoughts all day... trying to journal but i cant write fast enough to keep up with my thoughts. im sitting here with my bible, 2 books, my journal, a quote from another blog, and 2 paragraphs from a paper i wrote a year ago- all ready to squeeze in my blog because its only then that i think any of what i am learning will make sense. its like putting a puzzle together, just without the box picture to guide me.
"to ask for the guidance of God is to make a choice, and this takes faith. it must be faith of a far greater kind than the breezy "if i like what i see ill take it". it is the faith that has the strength to wait for the rewards God holds, strength to believe they are worth fighting for, worth the price asked. our prayers for guidance (or anything else) really begin here: i trust Him. this requires abandonment. we are no longer saying "if i trust him, he'll give me such and such," but "i trust Him. let him give me or withhold from me what he chooses..."
- a slow and certain light, elizabeth elliot
am i ready to abandon my sin? am i ready to admit to the depravity in my heart to the point where i do not just admit to my sin but i abandon it? do you know what abandonment means? it is, by webster's dictionary, "to give up control or influence of another person/agent; to withdraw protection, support, or help from; to give over unrestrainedly; to cease from maintaing, practicing, or using." am i ready to give up control of self? am i willing to withdraw protection that i think i find in my sin? and i ready to give over my life unrestrainedly?
as the Lord has continued to show me more of my sin and simultaneously more of Himself, i have become so overwhelmed.
i think that there is a difference in feeling guilty and feeling convicted. i could be wrong- but thats what i think. i have been praying that God would continue to break me- continue to refine me through fire. but, as time has gone on, i dont think that i have been broken yet. i think i have seen my sin, i have felt bad for it... but broken over it? convicted of it? honestly- i dont think i have.
i dont want to be ok with my sin, but im realizing that i am. how can i know what i know is true of God and not hate my sin?
im reading a book called humility by c.j. mahaney and in it he says,
"sin- including especially the sin of pride- is active, it is not passive. sin doesn't wake up tired, because it hasn't been sleeping. when you wake up in the morning, sin is right there, fully awake, ready to attack. so rather than be attacked by sin in the morning, i've chosen to go on the offensive. i've chosen to announce to sin, "i'm at war with you. i know you're there, and i am after you!" from the moment i awake, i've learned to make statements to go about my dependance upon God, and in this way im humbling myself before God."
i want to get to that point but how! how, when satan is so set on my destruction do i get to the point where i say that i HATE my sin. that i despise it so much that i am willing to abandon ALL for the glory of God's renown? how do i get my head and my heart to connect so that it sinks in the absolute wickedness of my sin nature and at the same time the immense, empowering, and SAVING grace of my Father? how? if you've figured it out- enlighten me! please! ha
this is going to be a long quote- but its an awesome one...
"if any man would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. for whoever would save his life will lose it, and whoever loves his life for my sake will find it.
at this point i want to cry, 'STOP! dont tell me anymore. i can't fulfill the conditions! i do not "keep instruction". i hardly listen to it, in fact. i am not "godly". i am not good or meek or upright or blameless or truthful or self-sacrificing in any sense at all except a relative one. even a casual look at God's Word shows me that a relative goodness wont do. i am none of the things i am told i need to be in order to expect God's guidance. the thing i needed so despiretly and wanted to pray for so simply looks now like a carrot on a stick... i must attain some point of perfection before i can even begin to ask, so i can't qualify, now or ever.
the consciousness of my own imperfection implies a consciousness of perfection. intuitively we know that if there is such a thing as a relative goodness there is such thing as absolute goodness, and before that goodness we shrink and are afraid. there is nowhere to turn. like c.s. lewis, as he described his own conversion, with eyes darting right and left in search of some escape, we find that there is none. there is nowhere to turn but back to him whom we dread."
- a slow and certain light, elizabeth elliot
thats where im at. i feel so inadequate. in seeing so much of my sin, i am having a hard time allowing myself to see grace. satan has gotten into my head and is whispering to me 'you dont deserve this. you are too far from perfect. there is no good in you, abby'. and instead of yelling at him- instead of being on the offense and saying 'you are WRONG! the verdict is out, court is adjourned. my debt has been paid. i am free!' i, instead, sit here wallowing in self-pity and hopelessness, acting like a fool thinking that if i feel guilty of my sin long enough then i will be forgiven. when will my heart finally see the beauty of the Gospel? when will my soul finally realize that i am free.
here is where i see the difference in guilt and conviction. guilt is living in light of your sin. conviction is living in light of the cross. when i feel guilty- i think of what i did and what i need to do to fix it... i feel bad because i know whats expected of me and know that i haven't lived up to that. when i feel conviction- it is because the Holy Spirit is actively working in my heart, showing me the beauty of Christ's perfection and in light of that perfection- sin is shown.
conviction is in light of Gods glory.
guilt is in light of self preservation.
conviction leads to repentance and fruit; guilt leads to more pride and self-centeredness.
a blog i follow just posted this and it is perfect for this...
"When Jesus fed the five thousand, he took five loaves of bread, blessed them, broke them, and gave them to the disciples to give away (Matthew 14:19). One brother of the Revival read this verse and then looked at me. "Until God breaks your will, he will never use you," he said. "You will only remain a nice loaf of bread." What Jesus did in feeding the multitude was very symbolic of what was going to happen to his body. To his own disciples he said, "This is my body which is broken for you.'
Unless we are broken, we are of no use to God. And unless we are broken, we are of no use to the community of believers of which we are a part. Hardly any of us can go to his own Christian community and say, "This is my body which is broken for you. I am laying all my professional skills, abilities, and economic resources at your disposal. Take them and use them as you see fit." We cannot say this, because we are not broken. We are too proud to give our lives to people who are not perfect. We want to find the perfect person and the perfect community, but we never find them. So, like Judas, we make only a partial commitment to the body of believers to which we belong , and we find our identity in our rebellion from them."
"For Zion's sake I will not keep silent,
and for Jerusalem's sake I will not be quiet,
until her righteousness goes forth as brightness,
and her salvation as a burning torch.
The nations shall see your righteousness,
and all the kings your glory,
and you shall be called by a new name
that the mouth of the Lord will give.
You shall be a crown of beauty in the hand of the Lord,
and a royal diadem in the hand of your God.
You shall no more be termed Forsaken,
and your land shall no more be termed Desolate,
but you shall be called My Delight Is in Her,
and your land Married;
for the Lord delights in you,
and your land shall be married...
and as the bridegroom rejoices over the bride,
so shall your God rejoice over you"
i am so thankful for the promises of the Lord. i am so thankful for his grace. i am so thankful that even when i am completely overwhelmed and typing for no other reason that to just get it out, that God is greater.