Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Not about giving up but receiving.

There is something I have struggled with most of my life and that is smoking.  I hate it and am ashamed of it. I don't think I should be but it is like a thorn in my flesh.  I have held a rotten, black lung...been hypnotized...I have had acupuncture...I have worn patches and chewed gum...I have cut back and taken medicines...

It is like the more I tried to quit the worse it got.  You know like when someone decides to go on a diet, all they do is think of greasy food and sweets.  They gain back more than they lost, in a vicious cycle over and over through the years.  The law can do this if it is over you conscience.  It is written on our hearts, not over our conscience.  Jesus is over our conscience and He says there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.

I was so embarrassed over the smoking, I would hide and sneak to do it years ago.  I have come to the conclusion that I smoked to give relief to the shame and guilt I was feeling.  We are born with some of the guilt and shame because of being born of Adam.  He and Eve sinned and they were ashamed and they covered themselves.  It was pointing to the way of Christ, our covering.  We are no longer guilty and ashamed.  We hear it everywhere in our every day walks of life, the world, the flesh and the devil and our own guilt.

I see a pattern in me.  When things are going my way I stuff it and suck it up and pull my boots straps up to cope.  Then when they continue and I can cope no longer, I smoke to cope.  I also over react or panic instead of trusting Christ.  This is huge for me to see where my lack of faith is from the very beginning.

I once heard from a study I took, that satan condemns with guilt and the Spirit convicts our conscience and it is quick and clean and joy follows.  Many times I would feel the guilt and never come to a place of accepting the forgiveness of Christ and the joy of being forgiven and of being His. This happened without me even realizing.  I would say I am sorry all the time.  I finally quit apologizing and ask the Lord to change me.  People were tired hearing my sorry's and never changing.

I think I would sleep and be depressed because of the noisy conscience, that told me I was a failure and if people only knew me. If something makes you feel guilty, talk with a friend to see if it is true guilt and don't do it.   Again I had no idea this is what I was thinking.  I think that is why I have struggled with peoples approval.  If people liked me that meant I was ok.  I didn't have to feel the guilt and shame, for awhile.  We all struggle with the approval of man. My cousin said to do to an audience of One.

I look on my goodness, when I am feeling guilt and shame.  Tedd Tripp said, you are loved not because of your goodness but because of Jesus.  My life is more built on Jesus than ever and not what I do but, what He has done for me.  Oh I cave in.  I did last night.  I cried myself to sleep over nothing.  I can think so hard things become big in my life.  Danny says I do everything to the extreme.  I said Lord thank you for loving me and your mercy over me.  Why can't I be normal?  Please let it be for your glory.  It came to me this morning my doc has cut my meds trying to get me at a good dose.  So I ask is this magnified because of my meds, my heart or both?

 Jesus is my comfort and my peace.  Ask the Spirit to show you, where do you run to quiet your conscience.  It maybe work, exercise, a clean house, a harmful addiction, ministry, buying, anything you tun to when you ache and you want to quiet the noise in your head.  You may not even realize it now, but spend some time,  quiet with the Lord and the Spirit will show you, where you run.  These things God created are to be enjoyed, while we enjoy Him.  We are not to be mastered by anything but Christ.  I do not say this for anyone to feel guilty, but to have the Lord search your heart, to set you free from guilt and condemnation.

I do not think it is a wrong worship, as many say.  Oh that maybe what happens, but it is not a cure.  It only piles on more guilt and shame.  I use to sit and talk to the Lord while I smoked.  I love the Lord and you probably do too.  The answer is to get with a friend and ask them to listen to you and help you unpack your conscience, ways you know you are struggling.  We all need each other in this walk of faith.  What is the pull of your heart for comfort and peace?

Until we deal with the issues of our heart, we will not have a clear conscience so we can hear the leading of the Spirit illuminate our heart.  It is all about us being set free to have a personal relationship with our Father, Son and Spirit.  Until we know God is for us.  That we are His joy!  Until the magnitude of His love seeps into our very soul and we have an abundance of joy and peace and thankfulness we will struggle with guilt and shame.  Until the truth of why Christ died moves beyond our head to our heart we will not know just how abundant this life in Christ can be.

This is Lent and sometimes I think about what I can give up, to have the Lord better show me my heart of repentance.  This year He is doing it for me.  I am just along for the ride.  Lent is not always about giving up, it is about receiving....  All Christ has for me...