Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Spiritual Skin

Ephesians 4:21-24 "Surely you heard of him and were taught in him in accordance with the truth that is in Jesus. You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness."

There is a reason why this blog is called Jesus Bling. The purpose is to remind me to take up my cross daily - or more modernly, adorn myself with God promises fulfilled in Christ and let the Holy Spirit work within me. That's the most worthy sort of jewelry.

Last week, The Lord took this to a new level. I read the above passage in Ephesians probably 2-3 months ago. I like it especially because the Greek of "put off" and "put on" really speaks to taking off garments and putting new ones on. You can apply it to jewelry as well. You don't put dirty clothes back on, you put them in the hamper till you clean them and then they are suitable to wear. Very same idea Paul is using here.

Well, The Lord took me deeper. It's not just about baubles anymore. Last week, I had several outbursts towards my children. Not just irritation but full blown rage - screaming and yelling. I'm almost 34, c'mon now. Eleanor Roosevelt said the famous line "No one can make you feel inferior without your consent." I don't know how you react when you are made to fill inferior, but I get TICKED OFF and everyone knows about it. The Lord has been working on this. I'm high energy and high emotion by nature, but He wants to use for good and lately, I have NOT been.

So much so that I actually texted my problems to my dear friend Lynn. My kids, my husband, everyone was pushing my buttons. She gave good advice, but The Lord had more for me. He presented me, when I went out to get money for the pizza we were having that night, with a message on a local radio station. This guy, and forgive me, I was so caught up, I never got his name, talked all about how when you let bitterness and anger build up in your spirit, you let people get between you and God. His words I use today - you let people get underneath your skin. That's a familiar saying and until now, it never really hit home.

You see, what I was doing was not just letting my kids push my buttons, I was allowing their childish antics (they are children after all!) get under my skin. I was allowing bitterness towards them build up and get in the way of what God wants to do through me for them! All mothers have days like this, but what I'd done is different. I had not forgiven them for the days prior. I was holding against them their past deeds. Now, that is not the way I was forgiven or am called to forgive. Each day, each minute is a cherished, new gift and I need to treat it as such. After all, Christ said forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors. Uh oh - not much forgiveness flowing my way if I'm acting like the Boogie Man!!

I right then and there, in my driveway, came before The Lord and asked for my own forgiveness. And He gave me a new thought (you know, that whole "renewing of your mind thing"?). He used that "under my skin" + the concept of people getting between me and God to create the idea that I'm letting people get under my spiritual skin.

To tie this back to the passage above - those dirty rags of unforgiveness have gotten so wet and nasty- they are literally sticking to me like a second skin. My real skin can't breathe. I take those deeds others do to make me feel inferior (with my consent) and stuff them up my sleeves, down my pants and in my shirt. I let them get between me and the peace of Christ that goes beyond all understanding. I let others determine how I feel about them and myself instead of standing in the victory of my position in Christ. It's not a new concept, for sure but it's one that has finally worked it's way from my head into my heart. It's taken a long, long, long time to get there, but it's taking root. Thank you Lord!!

So, my next step. Keep praying The Lord enables me to be strong in HIS power and mighty strength (Ephesians 6:10). No more falling back but a desire to keep pressing onward. To remember no one can determine who or what I am except my Creator. Especially when my girls are just being children - and I feel that anger creeping in. I have to recognize that I'm thirsty and need to drink from His living water. Otherwise I will waste away and my loved ones will suffer. It's a discipline I'm going to have to practice for the rest of my life. I am not, nor ever will be perfect on this earth, but I can let His Well pour into my jar of clay so it can leak out and effect others around me in a way that is pleasing to Him - and to me.

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