Let me begin [although for most of us, this is some fashion of the middle part] this rant by informing you that I am: a dirt bag from way back, fearful of commitment, goofy, ornery, caustic, an alcoholic chemical dumpster in recovery, given to ‘flamboyant’ language, selfish, petty and occasionally given to thoughts of lust. This is certainly not a complete list, but it will do for now. And yes, I have been told, “Now Dave, Paul just called it ‘sin’.” And sin it is, but I do feel that all these other words allow us to find some common ground. So as I (not ‘they’, or ‘those guys’, but me) write a few of my thoughts, it is from a place of realizing I am often the worst offender.
In my short journey following the Lord, since the birth of my good friend's daughter Zoe (I do miss you guys), I now find myself engaged in other people’s lives in a fashion I have not previously been accustomed. I am sought, and/or avoided, by some regarding discussion on intimate matters of the heart. And in this, I often share my own struggles, and we can usually find some common ground from which we can gain perspective of our walks with the Lord.
So here we go (I ask all of these questions from the 1st person) –
- Is it okay for me to offer critique of people, places and things to the detriment of fulfilling my commitments?
- Should I strive for others to build me some form of ‘checklist to obedience’ so that I will never have to suffer the pains of being wrong?
- Can I enjoy community on my terms?
- How selfish can I be, and still be cool with God?
- Am I really willing, if I need to seek obedience through acts of discipline from the authorities in my life?
An aside, or digression - Now these queries above are only the most recent set of questions I have at the top of my bucket of observation. There are certainly other topics. These include, but are not limited to:
A) the nature and extent of Hebrew servitude,
B) the breadth of choice deemed appropriate in genetic selection,
C) the use of language as a tool for mind control, and
D) the desire for access to rungs of the hierarchal ladder of holiness.
Back on point. I believe most if not all of these questions beg for resolution in areas of both obedience and submission. I do separate the two. I can be obedient and not submit. I can use passive aggressive critique to allow you to give me rules to follow. And then from this place, beat you over the head about how I’m right and you’re wrong. It follows that questions 1 and 2 would be answered, in my life, with a resounding “NO”.
I choose (with input from God) not to be ruled by law. I enjoy ever so much the ability to be wrong, and do not wish to camp out in the land of the legalism. I, in direct consultation with the Lord, seek a loose affiliation of guidelines in my life. If however, I ever find myself building houses or saving lives, I will conform to the letter of the law.
It would follow that I cannot enjoy community on my terms. I cannot enter into community with the idea that I am the center, and all that is right and correct flows from me. I am an iconoclast from day one, and will certainly struggle with authority and accountability throughout my days. But the onus is on me to communicate with those around me. And in this little social dance, we can come to finding either the common ground or correction we both get to walk through. Very little is done alone. If I am having conversations in my head with someone that isn’t actually in the room with me, there has been a mistake made on my part. I need not do other’s laundry while I buy new clothes to avoid my own dirty laundry. Number 3, ‘no’.
Selfishness, my unwilling heart and God’s tolerance in these areas reflect portions of my character that I certainly need to work through. Number 4, God isn’t ‘cool’ with me being selfish. In fact, He isn’t really excited and overjoyed about me bargaining some slacker shortcut at all. But he does have the Grace to allow me to walk through the consequences of my actions, and lucky for me He leaves the mighty framing hammer of righteousness sheathed only for when I really need a change of attitude.
The unwilling heart can be changed and transformed. I do believe I can ‘fake it until I make it’ even if I am initially unwilling. I can have transformation, spiritual and otherwise. Although I may be unwilling, I must be teachable. If, and only if, I am teachable will some form of discipline do what it is supposed to do. And that is not to punish, but rather to motivate me to seek those things the Lord has available in my life.
In closing I can only say I look forward to any comments, and pose you this question: Can you give me a hand putting a new wiring harness on my truck?