Saturday, November 17, 2007

Legalistic?

Alright, so maybe I'm being legalistic, maybe I'm not.

I can get on Xbox Live playing Halo 3 sometimes and someone says something crude or whatever and I'll have the "giggles" and laugh at it. Or simply playing the game alone makes me feel guilty. I'll start to goof off and cut up and I feel like I'm my old self. Not that I get crude or anything..I just goof off. I guess it's the pride in me that wants to act holier than thou and be very reserved or whatever.

One of my main concerns is that I will listen to a grace message or I will be refreshed in my understanding of it and in my excitement the first thing I do is run off to play a game, or whatever it may be. Then I feel guilty. I feel I squandered what I've just learned. I feel I should have used that time for prayer or meditation. But the reason I do this is because once I have filling of grace, I don't really know of anything else to do to experience God more, so I run off and do "secular" things. I think I may just be legalistic about this and hard on myself. I might need to lighten up, but one voice I hear is the parable of the four soils quoted to me about the Word being choked by cares, riches, and pleasures of this life. This makes me nervous.

What am I to do in order to have more of God? Pray? It's hard to slow myself down enough to pray when I get in these moods. I feel like some 8 year old kid diagnosed with ADHD who has juice around his mouth and sticky fingers.

4 comments:

The Lewis Family said...

I think that all we can do is ask Him to give us the desire. Ask Him to refresh us with the reality of His love, cause we can't do it in our own strength. It sure can't hurt to ask and it sure is nice to see Him as He is, beyond the fog. . . So, Father, we ask you to reveal yourself again. Pull the veil from our eyes and cause us to fall in love with you again. Pervade our lives with your presence. We are helpless, as we well know. Dispell all the darkness and pour out your reality upon our hearts again and again. Let us see with your heart. . .

There is such a deep longing in our hearts for Him that sometimes seems to be covered with all the nonsense this world has to offer. He loves us. He will answer.

Joel Brueseke said...

Hi Matt,

Yesterday I stuck in an old tape of a sermon from my pastor from about 9 years ago. He would preach hour-long, completely grace-based messages every week. I was so very refreshed each and every Sunday when I left church. But I found that by the next Sunday I was needing more refreshment, because I would find myself going back into condemnation, and into feeling like I wasn't really worth a whole lot because here I was, hearing this wonderful message of God's grace every week, and I felt as if I was squandering it because I would also go and spend too much time on my computer or doing other 'secular' activities that didn't amount to anything in the kingdom!

What I've come to find out since that time, is that there really isn't a "how," as far as getting more of God. There isn't really an answer to "what can I do," because there is nothing you can do! I can fully relate to the desire to know God more and more, while yet not feeling anything from Him. It makes the unspiritual wheels in my head start spinning, thinking that there's something I must do in order to get this sense of validation from God. I feel I must pray, or read my Bible or be quiet, or whatever. Those are all great things... but as unspiritual as this might sound, most of the time that's not where God is found!

Yes, the Bible is His word. Yes, prayer is conversation of the heart with Him. Yes, it's good to be still and know that He is God. I never want to take away from any of that. But God is found everywhere in life. Just one example of many: One time I was driving in my van for work, and I was struggling with trying to keep the radio turned off so I could just drive in silence and pray. I suddenly felt this strong desire to turn the radio ON. I thought, "man the flesh is really strong right now!" But it turns out that right after I turned on the radio to a "secular" talk radio program, God spoke to me through either the host or one of the callers (I can't remember which). It just blew me away!

The point is, I've been discovering more and more that, while I do want to be more "disciplined" in prayer and Bible study, God "is" my life, and I need to let go of the worry that all my 'secular' activities are keeping me from Him.

I see that God has a huge call on your life, Matthew, and He's lovingly and gently pulling you into His rest and grace. It's hard to see anything right now. It's hard to see a life of rest and grace when all you seem to experience is the pull of non-spiritual things. But I believe that God is secure in His faithfulness to you, and that He won't ever let you go. The growing process will take a long time. It has for me, anyway, and I've still got a long, long way to go! "Enjoy the journey." :)

Joel Brueseke said...

I forgot one thing... as if I haven't said enough already... ;) But the reason I brought up the tape of my pastor. On that specific sermon, he was speaking of God's love, from 1 John. We know God's love in many ways, including direct revelation from Him, what Christ did on the cross, and through each other.

He was talking about how someone can be going through a difficult time, and if we simply go up to them and say, "God loves you, give it to Him," that's not going to really help that person. I mean, if the person has been through a lot, and struggles with the idea of God's unconditional love, it's not going to mean a whole lot.

And so my pastor went on to talk about how learning about God's love is a "process." We've all been through all kinds of things in life, and we all have various reasons why it can be difficult to fully know God and fully accept His love and grace. And so getting to know it more and more is a process. It's not instantaneous. And we'll learn a bit and then forget it and then learn some more, and forget it, but over the long haul we'll grab on to more and more of it and be able to hang on to it and embrace it.

My pastor was very real about life. He had been a pastor for a long time but he didn't go around with the pretense that he had it all together and that he walked in the security of God's love all the time. There were times when he was angry. Times when he just wanted to give up the Christian life. Even give up on life altogether. But it was over the long haul that he became more and more solidified and secure in God's grace and love, and he knew he had definitely not "arrived."

Anyway, all that to say that that's part of what growing in grace is about to me. The mainstream church seems to be all about growing in "doing," while I believe our main thing is to grow in knowing God, and over time we'll find ourselves naturally being drawn to doing the things God wants us to do. It can be frustrating when we know that the God of the universe is living in us but we're not experiencing Him! But we take it moment by moment, day by day.

Hope you have a very wonderful Thanksgiving!

Daelon said...

Hi Lewis,

You described that perfectly. I get so foggy headed sometimes and I cannot see God's love and grace. I can't see His beauty at times. I'm so easily forgetful about Him...After I read your post, I went out and prayed for a few minutes. I found myself feeling much better, with a renewed sense of His love and grace. I appreciate your comments so much. Sorry to keep reporting all this bad news! lol. It's what I go through though.
Hey Joel,

What you said helped me so much today I can't begin to tell you. You hit the nail on the head with everything I've been experiencing. It's been a difficult week, but God's been there whether or not I knew it or felt His presence. I'm so easily confused and entangled by sin or the world. It's exhausting! Thank God for you, Joel. No kidding.

Hope you and your family have a great Thanksgiving as well. I've been praying for you guys. Keep feedin' us grace! Especially me lol. I forget very easily.