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Recently, I set my face like flint upon a course of action which I believed was ordained of God. The signs were there, confirming words were spoken. It seemed all but assured.

I had faith (was it presumption?) that this was the thing to do.

Others didn’t see it that way, questioned my resolve, my commitment.

But I am a stubborn man, and wouldn’t relent (was this perceived as controlling?).

In my stubbornness, I missed it:

One cannot believe for others, bestow faith upon them. Though I tried–how I tried.

I said “See? The signs are there.”

“No, this is not for us, not now.”

Had God really spoken? It had seemed that way at the time; doors had been opened. It didn’t matter. Whether he had spoken or not, had opened a door or not, the simple fact is this:

There’s no wanting something for others more they want it themselves.

Oh, sure, one may want all one wants, but all the wanting in the world can’t change other’s hearts. Thus it was that my faith and trust became mere pixie dust–a kind of magical thinking whereby I thought I could bend reality to my will.

But all of the faith in the world is no match for the power of free will.

The simple truth about it is that this ordeal, avoidable as it was, was more about the condition of my heart than it was anything else:

Because I gave it power over me, let it invalidate me. Because I wasn’t being followed, I questioned my ability to lead, and dug my heels in even more.

The truth is, it became an idol. I wanted this more than I wanted God. A very wise man told me:

“Your desperation in this matter smacks of control. Fight for your heart first, then for those in your charge.”

I didn’t want it to be true.

But it was: I wanted to be in control. Faith became presumption, because I was sure I knew what was best for others.

I was playing God.

I repented in dust and ashes.

Has this ever happened to you? Have you ever been so sure of something that you missed God, and thus mistreated the hearts you were supposed to care for?


randomlychad  —  July 5, 2012 — 8 Comments

Transference. Juxtaposition. Mind and heart clouded. Believing lies. That was me. My view of myself, the world, and God, was shrouded–clouded in misperception.

For too long I was angry, and I hated. Hated his indifference–hated that he left. Yet over and over, I preyed upon his guilt. “I want this, I want that…” And he would give it (“If you, being evil, know how to give good gifts…”), trying to buy my love. Me, hating myself for wanting to be bought.

But it wasn’t things I craved–it was him. Because baubles don’t mend rent hearts, and the new shiny loses its sheen.

The only thing I wanted: his time.

And the one thing denied me: time. I wanted to know that I was his beloved son, but having no love for himself he had none to give… Funny how that works, isn’t it?

The “tale as old as time, song as old as rhyme” isn’t love, but a maxim: “Hurting people hurt people.”

Look to Adam and Eve, and see the genesis of the blame game: “The serpent gave, and I ate.” “The woman You gave me…” It’s always someone else’s fault.

But not anymore. Not for me. I have nothing but pity for him–my dad–because his brokenness doesn’t begin with him, but goes back–to his parents, grandparents, and into the mists of time.

Would that it could end with me.

Yet I know I am horribly broken, but unlike many of my forebears: I own it. And I take responsibility for believing lies, and trying to justify my behavior. I am a sinner saved by grace. Heavenly Father, forgive me for seeing You through the lens my dad left with me–because that’s not You, You are not that way. You and he are not one and the same.

Lord, I want to see Your face.

How about you? It’s so freeing–instead of hiding–to see ourselves as we are. What do you want to lay bare upon the Lord’s table?

>captivating eyesphoto © 2007 Ibrahim Iujaz | more info (via: Wylio)

Today, someone I hadn’t seen in awhile complimented me on my weight loss. I thanked him, commiserated a little, wished him well. Then I reflected upon the conversation. I came to these conclusions:

1) Though I know I’m losing weight, it’s not always obvious to me, because I live with my body, and do not necessarily see it changing by degrees.

2) It took a fresh pair of eyes to remind me of this. Because he hadn’t seen me in sometime, my colleague readily spotted the changes that I don’t necessarily notice.

I think spiritual growth is a lot like this. If we are growing in godliness, we aren’t necessarily aware of it, for at least a couple of reasons:

1) Our focus is on God (and others), not ourselves; and,

2) This process of sanctification is, like weight loss, a changing by degrees–it happens gradually, over time.

These are, of course, my opinions, and do not carry the weight of holy writ, but I believe them to be true. I should think that if one was aware of his own godliness that his focus is entirely upon the wrong person. (“Fair I see, sad you see”). Because the closer one draws to God, the more aware he is of his creatureliness, his sinfulness. That, too, is my opinion, but I think it sound.

The difference comes down to perspective, and focus. Just as I don’t see my own weight loss, I am not aware of my own godliness. Because I can’t escape the bounds of my flesh suit, I particularly lack perspective regarding myself. I don’t feel myself growing in the Lord.

This is where community comes in; for it is only in community that perspective, and indeed encouragement, comes. Others can often see us better than we see ourselves–they experience the changes the Lord is birthing oftentimes before we are aware of them ourselves.

Sometimes all it takes is a fresh pair of eyes.

Thanks for reading!

What lessons has life taught you lately about character, commitment, and/or perspective? How have you encouraged someone in their walk with the Lord?