Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Run the Race, Spite the Devil

Well after about a month of absolute craziness in this family, I'm finally back.  I was this close to falling into the depths of spiritual despair.  It's quite simple to let yourself teeter on the brink of self-pity and absorption.  The family had a run-in with lice.  It was absolutely horrible and required a lot, a lot of perseverance and commitment to consistency to rid our home of the pesky bugs.  But they're finally gone and I was finally able to rejoin my Bible study on the book of Revelation.

Let me tell you, there's nothing like fellowship to augment your own time with God.  Every time I fall out of Bible study, I fall back on my fervor.  It's hard to stay focused on God's word when family and, well, life, pulls at you from every angle.  We need to stay committed, to spite the devil in his attempt to have us lose our focus and motivation.

I had to take some Bible study sessions home with me in order to catch up, and I was so happy I did because I learn so much in every lesson, and watching what I missed while I was nitpicking the girls' heads, Beth Moore didn't fail to disappoint.  One of the things I love about her is how she's able to break apart scripture so it makes sense from a Biblically historical perspective, and then take it to a whole other level, where she brings it up close and personal so we can relate on a more personal level to what the writer is talking about. 

To clarify, let me give you and example:  In Revelation 1:17-20 the apostle John has a vision of Christ, in which Christ (in verse 19) instructs him to write down "things which you have seen, and the things which are, and the things that will take place after this."  Christ goes on to deliver messages to his seven churches, one of which is the church in Ephesus.  The message to Ephesus, given in Revelation 2:1-3, first commends the church for their hard work and perseverance:
I know your works, your labor, your patience, and that you cannot bear those who are evil...and have labored for My name's sake and have not become weary.
Then after he's done patting them on the back for what they've done well, He lays out his issue with the church in the following verse (4):
Nevertheless I have this against you, that you have left your first love.
And Beth Moore brought up such a great point during this part of the lesson, and it's that God will never be vague when He's confronting you with something you're aren't doing right.  "I have this against you," he says.  I love that.  God is not passive!  Beth goes on to say something like, don't you hate it when someone's mad at you and they won't tell you why, they just ignore you?  And you ask them and they're all, no nothing's wrong, I don't know what you're talking about.

Why, yes.  Yes I do.  And writing that, I realize that I'm currently guilty of that myself.  Oops.

God and the Spirit aren't like that.  The Spirit is always specific.  What does God have against the church of Ephesus?  It's right there after the comma, "that you have left your first love."  Apparently the church in Ephesus was so caught up weeding out false prophets that it became sort of a witch hunt, and everyone started being suspicious of everyone.  In turn, they lost their God-focus, that's what He had against them.  He tells them.

But the devil, he's vague.  Ever feel like, "blah" but had no idea why.  Or maybe just felt like a failure or like crap for no good reason, it was just an overall feeling?  That "blah" feeling has kept me away from time with God so many times.  It's kept me from going to church some weeks.  That whole, eh, I don't want to go to church today, I'm just in blah mood.  Right there, boom! Devil: 1, Patricia 0.

That was me during my time away from Bible study and blogging.  I'd sit down and want to write about what I was learning in my time with the Lord in the early morning, but nothing would come to me so I'd just feel all blah and shut down the computer. 

Devil: 2, Patrica: 0.

And that feeling doesn't just affect Christians.  It affects anyone trying to do anything in life to better themselves.  Working out is a great example.  It makes me feel awesome, and I love running, but some days I get this overwhelming feeling of, I just don't feel like going running today.  It's so strange, especially on days when I'm not even tired or dehydrated.

So don't let your blahness hinder you.  Spite the devil. 

"...run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith..." Hebrews 12:1-2