I am a creature of habit. When I find something that I like, I stick to it. If my husband takes me out to dinner, we go to the same restaurants. It does not stop there, however. I know what I like at each place and I order the same thing every time. We have some wonderful friends who are stretching us. They ask us to go with them to restaurants that we have never been to, before. It seems like a little thing, but I have to scan a new menu, sit in a new chair with new people while I try to figure out what music is playing in the background. It is quite an experience for me…can you tell that I was a kid who did not like change? I usually just ask what their best thing is, and try that.
I was reading in Galatians today, chapter 2, verse 18, “But if I build up again the very things that I once tore down, then I demonstrate that I am a transgressor.” At this point in my Christian life, I attempt to form habits that glorify Christ. I am not actively seeking out destructive qualities or activities. This does not mean that I am exempt from my past, however. There are many things that I used to do that were bound to basic fears and beliefs that I held. They were destructive. That is the thing about sin, you don’t have to be actively seeking it. You don’t have to be an innovator. Even Paul had a past, and he spoke of it often. These seeds that Satan planted early in our lives have had the opportunity to root and even as mature Christians we often deal with the same old stuff, new face, new form…new menu.
My fears, my reasons for “building up”, were based in very real events. I was conditioned to expect certain outcomes. Some of these events caused fear, and pretty soon I had entire teams of invisible contractors putting up walls in my life to keep the bad stuff out. Self-protection has allowed me to survive many things in my life, but it was just that…survival.
I went to the museum the other day and I was looking at all of these amazing bronzes. I cannot imagine spending my whole life building up a repertoire of work, just to sell it off to other people. Every moment of time in this artists life brought one new hair or fold in a jacket. In the end was this lasting impression; a piece of art forever marking a moment. They have nothing on me, however. I have built my own self-serving masterpieces. I could call one “The gossiper”, and the other “The greedy”. How about “The dissatisfied” or “The lone ranger”? Just like these great artists, I have built and built until my fingers bled. They are marvels…and when I finally placed all of me on the steps of the throne of grace, I knew they had to go. I had to tear down a lifetime of self-serving masterpieces. What a freeing and difficult day, but not just that day. I still have to go back and tear them down. These were the masterpieces and we are creatures of habit; we demonstrate that we are transgressors.
So, God calls me to send the crews away, to allow Him to deconstruct the walls and masterpieces of my life. Ok, I know that I always go back to this, but…when He gets you alone and starts to deconstruct this self-protective barrier…He makes you think about who He is, and who you are. That is the only way that healing is possible. Hebrews 13:21a, “[Lord Jesus] make you complete in everything good so that you may do his will.”
Somewhere along the line, I became afraid. There was something that I did not believe that God would/could cover, would/could protect. My sin is that there is something that I did not believe about Him; even though, I know and my experience tells me…He is the God of the universe. While I survive, He does miracles. While I push through, He draws me into Himself. There is no comparison in the way I have managed to deal with the events and sin of my life. My God knows my heart, while I have just blocked it off. We focus on the events of life far too much. All that really matters is that we believe who He says He is and He can and will do the rest.
One more note, from experience: I spent years on a yo-yo spiritual walk because I would try to tell myself, “Ok, just let go, give it to God, and He will help you not fail.” Wrong answer. God’s outcome was not always my success. Wait, that means that my future is uncertain…another fear. That also means that I might have to change…another fear. I say it all the time; Christianity is the hard life, not the easy one. If you think anything different, buckle up.
Father, thank you for giving us your word, your Spirit, and your people to constantly remind us who You are. Thank you for deconstructing the walls in our lives when we are earnest about being your people. Let us come before the throne of grace today, willing to be healed.