Confession time... (I have a LOT of these)
I know that I need to read my bible every day so I can get a dose of God BUT on a daily basis, I struggle to know where to open up the Good Book. By that I don't mean out on the patio or at the kitchen table but rather what book, what chapter. So, I often just use one of the most simple study tools I've ever found. Our Daily Bread. So handy!! They even have an iphone app so even if I forgot in the morning, if I find a quiet moment (which are albeit mythical in my life!) then I can open it up, read the devo, and it even auto links to Biblegateway for the reference and reading plan passages. How easy is that?? And yet, I STILL struggle to make it happen daily.
That said, I actually did it the last couple days and was hit hard by the final line of the reading plan passage (which, for yesterday, was Romans 14). That portion of scripture is basically addressing liberty versus legalism where food (at least as an example) is concerned and being considerate of each other in those respects. It's one of those passages where I was reading along, minding my own biz, and not really getting much out of it. Until I read these words: "... and everything that does not come from faith is sin." (Romans 14:23b)
Now, I realize that we have to be careful not to take portions of scripture out of their context, and, in this particular context, as I said, dietary restrictions/liberties were the topic. However, food arguments aside, this strikes me as a statement that can (should?) be applied to, well, as it says, everything. Everything. Every. Thing.
Everything that does not come from faith is sin. Everything Lord? Really, really?
As I mediated on that thought I remembered 1 Corinthians 10:31 (ironically, also about dietary arguments) which says "So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God."
"Whatever you do"
"Whatever" equals "Everything".
So... God... When you say "whatever I do" and "everything"... you mean, like, when it comes to all the major stuff in my life, right? Not like, the little stuff, like, entertainment choices, how much time I spend online, the jokes I tell, how I spend my time beyond church and my quiet time, right?? Oh... you really meant everything... Hmmm. Ok.
Now, I sure hope I'm not seen as a "Sunday morning Christian" who lives in a way that I have to actually tell people outside church that I'm a Christian or else they'd never know. I try to find ways to bless others, make a loving impact on most people I encounter, serve where I have the capacity, make entertainment choices that are not detrimental to my spirit, I listen to Christian music almost exclusively anymore, and I spend a lot of time chitchatting with God through any given day. However, I also spend too much time on the web that could be better spent serving my family, I sometimes indulge in "the bread of idleness" in my struggle with laziness, I often find reasons to ignore the still, small voice that says "a trip to the gym would make you feel great!", and my biggest struggle, how I talk to my kids, mostly my oldest son. I don't honor my husband the way I should in my prayer life or the way I talk to him sometimes. I exceed the speed limit by about 5 mph over quite often. You may have noticed above where I stated that I try to "make a loving impact on most people I encounter"... yup, I said "most"... I have even gone through the "10 items or less" checkout with 12 items before! I know, I'm quite the rebel but conviction is conviction.
We silly, fallible, mortals have a propensity to "categorize" sin into degrees of depravity. I'm sure many will roll their eyes at my 5mph lead foot but the point is not that I'm only a little over the limit and still within safe operating parameters of my vehicle and physical reaction time, I'm still breaking the law. And, since the Word says we are to obey those in authority and the laws of our land, then I am in sin. And, even worse, I'm doing it knowingly, willfully. It's not a question of the degree of any given sin issue, it's a question of will versus conviction. If the still, small voice tells me that a 5-Hour Energy is unhealthy and I need to quit having them but I ignore it, I'm choosing willful defiance to what I know is a hint of the Holy. If the Spirit tells me I need to back away, take a time-out, catch my breath, and calm down, but instead I choose to lose my shekinah all over my son, I am in sin.
Now, don't get me wrong, I'm not about to run around making sure everyone else is minding their diet, watching their tone with their kids, or try and police other drivers to follow traffic laws (though I won't lie... THAT desire pops up OFTEN!), I'm just pointing out what God spoke to me yesterday morning with those few little words that basically said "Being mostly devoted is still not devoted". I'm also having one of those daunting moments of realization that, until I take my last breath, no matter how many sin issues I surrender to God, there will always be one more. That can either be a very daunting, discouraging thought, or, it can be humbling, and I can allow it to drive me, time after time, day after day, moment after moment, back into the grace shadow of my Glorious Savior.
This all makes me think of a talk I was having with my son one day. I told him that partial obedience is actually disobedience. It is, alas, the same with us and I think that's what the passage in Romans is telling me. A seating at a sporting event or concert ins't "sold out" until every seat is filled, likewise, I cannot consider myself "sold out" to Him if there's any area of my heart where He isn't present.
Today I'm praying for/about:
Today, (in no particular order) I'm praying for...
- Fresh ideas, inspiration and diligence to post regularly again
- My dad fighting mesothelioma too far away for me to hug him
- Children, parents, and teachers everywhere preparing to return to school
- My single friends as they seek God for His guidance in relationships
- Broken relationships; for grace to abound where grace has been withheld
- You; I'm praying for every single person who views this blog.
Thank you for standing in agreement with me for these precious souls!