it has been a good two hours of dying to myself and i am over it already, way overrated that dying to self stuff...
i refuse to kill off the humor in myself.
anywho. i also read this blog this morning....cheaper by the baker’s dozen blog
and figured that i would start my path to obedience by doing the “duty that lies nearest”.
so i started in maxx’s room with maxx rearranging his furniture in a way that he had been wanting to rearrange it. and of course we unearthed a mountain of trash and dust and dead bodies (death was painful to them, i am sure).
the girls jumped on the bandwagon and started cleaning under their beds too and now we have some rooms in flux. but it is all good because i have spent some one on one time with each one in their room and it is something that adam was wanting us to do (clean up and purge lots of stuff) and i just had been making excuses as to why we couldn’t get it done everyday.
i was making up tasks to fill the time instead of doing what was the most important. yeah, i have that skill mastered.
so while the kids were now knee deep in their cleaning and i had spent some time with each of them identifying some goals for their purges. i started on the kitchen. again, a duty that lies nearest and smells baddest when not tended to immediately.
i cleaned out the fridge. and then tackled the stove top area. i took off those little burner drip pan things that are under the stove eyes. they were YUCKY and so i thought that maybe if i just threw them in the dishwasher that would take care of the whole problem. yeah, who was i kidding (besides myself). a trip through the dishwasher wasn’t going to touch the real problem. it wouldn’t take off the months of baked on crud. it would just make the crud clean, but the crud would still be baked on.
and that my friends is the real problem in my life also. instead of months of overspilled food baking on burner drip pans, i have the YEARS of overspilled emotions, selfishness, pride, losses, successes, etc... that has baked onto my soul in the furnace of everyday living in this fallen world in a body of flesh and sinfulness.
once upon a time, when i was young(er), i thought that once i went through God’s dishwasher of cleansing (becoming a Christian) would just take all that crud off of me. one stop, one wash, one time and we are all so sparkly new.
except it didn’t quite work like that.
yes, i know that i am saved. i know that He did that work on the cross and that my eternity is secure. yes, i am the bestest little baptist girl ever (let’s help bake some more pride on the drip pans of my life)...
but yet, the truth is that i had to get out the brillo pad and apply a TON of elbow grease and scrub scrub scrub to get off all that baked on yuckiness to come off. i worked up a sweat cleaning those 4 burner pans. and at the end they were pretty clean, not perfect, but better.
and while i was just a’scrubbing and a’sweating and a’philosophising (i get so philosophical when i clean), it hit me that daily i have to rely on brillo scrubbing from God to keep myself sparkling brightly. and i do so yearn to sparkle brightly. so how do i subject myself to brillo scrubbing?
obedience is brillo scrubbing. dying to self is brillo scrubbing. and it needs to be done. daily. or more often in my case.
all of this has really been sparked by my meager attempts to memorize the 8th chapter of romans. now it is more like look at a verse and try to figure out what God wants me to know from it. and romans 8 has some hard stuff to say about the selfish desires we have. stuff like this...
Those who live according to the sinful nature have their minds set on what that nature desires;
but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires.
The mind of sinful man is death, but the mind controlled by the Spirit is life and peace;
the sinful mind is hostile to God. It does not submit to God's law, nor can it do so.
Those controlled by the sinful nature cannot please God.
You, however, are controlled not by the sinful nature but by the Spirit, if the Spirit of God lives in you. And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Christ. But if Christ is in you, your body is dead because of sin, yet your spirit is alive because of righteousness. And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit, who lives in you.
Therefore, brothers, we have an obligation—but it is not to the sinful nature, to live according to it.
For if you live according to the sinful nature, you will die;
but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live...
and of course i love the way this is all laid out in the message version...
Those who think they can do it on their own end up obsessed with measuring their own moral muscle but never get around to exercising it in real life. Those who trust God's action in them find that God's Spirit is in them—living and breathing God! Obsession with self in these matters is a dead end; attention to God leads us out into the open, into a spacious, free life. Focusing on the self is the opposite of focusing on God. Anyone completely absorbed in self ignores God, ends up thinking more about self than God. That person ignores who God is and what he is doing. And God isn't pleased at being ignored.
But if God himself has taken up residence in your life, you can hardly be thinking more of yourself than of him. Anyone, of course, who has not welcomed this invisible but clearly present God, the Spirit of Christ, won't know what we're talking about. But for you who welcome him, in whom he dwells—even though you still experience all the limitations of sin—you yourself experience life on God's terms. It stands to reason, doesn't it, that if the alive-and-present God who raised Jesus from the dead moves into your life, he'll do the same thing in you that he did in Jesus, bringing you alive to himself? When God lives and breathes in you (and he does, as surely as he did in Jesus), you are delivered from that dead life. With his Spirit living in you, your body will be as alive as Christ's!
So don't you see that we don't owe this old do-it-yourself life one red cent. There's nothing in it for us, nothing at all. The best thing to do is give it a decent burial and get on with your new life. God's Spirit beckons. There are things to do and places to go!
this is hard stuff... so many times i am controlled by the sinful nature, and therefore i cannot please God. i must put to death the misdeeds of the body. a life controlled by the Spirit is life and peace. i have an obligation, i have a delightful obligation. so how do i delight in my duty that is nearest and dearest to my soul, the cleaning of my crud....
step one: to avoid the baking on of the crud by waking up EVERYDAY and spending time confessing to the things that would become baked on if i let them stay there too long.
step two: spend time looking at God’s Word as the soap to begin breaking up the crud. that is just the beginning though...
step three: if i keep the soap on by meditating on God’s Word all day and then let the brillo pad of obedience and the elbow grease of dying to self help to get more stuff off of those burner pans maybe someday i won’t be perfect, but i will sparkle a bit more. it is hard to think of loving God and others as as elbow grease, as the sweaty work, but that is exactly what it is. it takes real effort to love someone else more than you love yourself. it takes a lot of sweat to stop focusing on yourself. at least it does for me. if it doesn’t for you, don’t tell me that because i will just get depressed (adding depression on to the crud baked on my burner pans of my soul).
there, now you have three steps to cleaning your burner pans AND my personal guide spiritual growth.
now don’t ever say that i don’t give you any practical or spiritual advice (amidst the incessant chattiness about covering my rear end) on this blog.