Thursday, September 16, 2010

The dictomy of faith

Last night, we had small group at church. I take the kids because one of Sophia's favorite things in the world is eating at the church. I don't know why but she shovels it in and asks me every day if "we are going to church tonight." I guess it's better than Chick Fil A' (which was where we went all the time this summer.)

Last night, my kids got into a bit of a row in the bathroom. Sophia was trying to crawl under the stall to get at Natalie so Natalie kicked her in the eye. Not good. Then, after that, they were playing in the bathroom, hiding behind the doors when a sweet older lady opened the door in and smacked Sophia in the forehead.

Then Natalie lied about it.

Not only was I mad because my kids were acting like idiots and doing things they have been told a million times before not to do - I didn't feel sorry they got hurt. It was stupid. Then to get lied to? Well, if we were at home, it would have been a bed without dinner night.

I happened to be sitting next to our worship leader at the time, a man who has 2 grown children. I knew I couldn't explode like I normally do when they lie to me (it's top two pet peeve, the first being disrespect) so I said "DON'T lie to me! We are in church!!"

Not one of my more original lines, I assure you. She then admitted it, and then I apologized for parenting right in front of him. He just nodded and smiled. I knew he understood but I was still embarrassed.

Earlier in the day, I'd told both of them I joined a group that prayed for them and everyone in their school. One the way home, Natalie brought it up again and started dishing on all her classmates had done. Then she started in on all they've done LAST year. I put my foot down then and re-iterated that we didn't need to gossip about them, but rather pray for them.

We prayed before bed for her classmates that were getting in trouble, especially one little girl who is, in the first grade, using curse words.

This morning, Natalie told me I didn't have to pray again for the girl because she'd already done it in the middle of the night.

I was just floored. It was the classic example of our walk of faith. Isn't it so like us to be lying one minute and praying the next? Reminds me of Paul's somewhat enigmatic statement in Romans 7:15, "I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do."

I can clearly identify with this. We just keep sinning after we are no longer sinners in God's eyes. We mess up then turn around and do a great act of mercy. It's so weird. Its those times when I kinda of wish God had just made me a robot so I could obey all His commands without conflict.

But that is not the kind of God He is. He is slow to anger, abounding in love. It's a tough act to follow for sure!

So, how do I get passed this? Well, I have to wait. A central theme in the life of a Christian, waiting. I have to wait as the perfect God gets me as close as I need to be to perfect then He will take me home. Until then, I am incomplete, just a shadow of what I will be.

Eugene Peterson's The Message version of Romans 7:14-16 translates better, it holds the key that I need.

I can anticipate the response that is coming: "I know that all God's commands are spiritual, but I'm not. Isn't this also your experience?" Yes. I'm full of myself—after all, I've spent a long time in sin's prison. What I don't understand about myself is that I decide one way, but then I act another, doing things I absolutely despise. So if I can't be trusted to figure out what is best for myself and then do it, it becomes obvious that God's command is necessary.

God has to put His Spirit in me, not just once, but refills me daily (when I ask) so I have the will, energy and power to keep walking His way. That's is the only way it will work and even then, incompletely till I cross the Jordan for good.

I will pray Natalie comes to the same realization, and Sophia too. I pray their walk with Him will be straight and their mistakes few. But He has to work on us all, I just pray they will stick with Him. He does make it all work!

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