Monday, May 4, 2009

Staying Strong

So Jono's message on Sunday really made me think: what happens when we are spiritually on E? The answer for me is simple: I look to things and people to fulfill my emptiness.

I've been on E for a long time. I looked to a person to fulfill that emptiness...where did it land me? In a world of hurt. But now that I have been filled and renewed, things are much different. I don't feel like I have to be searching for acceptance and "love" from earthly things and people, I find it all above.

It can be hard, though, when those things which so easily ensnared me in the past will not go away. It is, truly, a constant voice in my ear pulling me away from the path.

"But wait!" you say, "That sounds like a Bible verse!"

Hm. Turns out, it is.

Hebrews 12:1

"Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us."

How do we do this, Hebrews author (no one really knows who he is...)? That sounds hard. I mean, those things that ensnare us and entangle us...I mean, we kinda like that stuff, don't we? Deep down, when we are empty and looking for fulfillment, where do we turn?

To the sin that so easily entangles.

2nd Samuel 11:1

In the spring, at the time when kings go off to war, David sent Joab out with the king's men and the whole Israelite army. They destroyed the Ammonites and besieged Rabbah. But David remained in Jerusalem.

It's interesting that David decided to remain in Jerusalem instead of going with the armies of Israel. Now, he could have stayed simply because the army didn't need him, but you will notice that the author specifically says that the spring is the time when kings go off to war. David was a king, so it follows that he should have been off warring.

What could the other explanation be? He was spiritually empty and this transferred over into his desire to lead his armies into war. I know that when I haven't spent time with God for a long time, I begin to lose passion in doing His will. We know that David had just returned from a huge battle with the Ammonites, and he had probably not spent much alone time with God during this altercation. So, he goes home and stays there instead of continuing in God's will for his life.

Before we move on, this *cough* sounds kinda like me. A couple of years ago, I had gone through some rough times in my relationship with God. Not only that, but there were various trials that hit my family as a whole. Instead of continuing on in God's graces, I decided to return to a place where I could get easily tempted. And I, like David, fell:

One evening David got up from his bed and walked around on the roof of the palace.
From the roof he saw a woman bathing. The woman was very beautiful, and David
sent someone to find out about her (2 Sam. 11:2-3).

David, being spiritually empty and having nothing better to do, decides to take an evening walk. Part of me wonders...why didn't he just start praying? But he decided to take a walk, and was tempted. And he fell, as we see in the rest of the chapter.

When we are spiritually empty, we turn to earthly objects to fulfill our heavenly desires. This, however, is not unavoidable. The author of Hebrews tells us how to stay strong when we get spiritually empty in verse two and three of chapter 12:

Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set
before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the
throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you
will not grow weary and lose heart.

The only way to avoid spiritual emptiness and misguided desires is to fix our eyes firmly on Jesus Christ, who humbled himself to death, even death on a cross, for our sins. The last phrase is key: "so that you will not grow weary and lose heart."

Oh, for those that grow weary! Alas for those that lose heart! For we know that those that wait on the Lord, with eyes fixed firmly on Christ Jesus will not faint, will not grow weary, but will rise on on wings like eagles (Is. 40:31).

Thus, let us flee from every temptation (1 Tim 6:11). It is a daily struggle, friends.

Genesis 39:10: "she spoke to Joseph day after day."

It's the truth, unfortunately. But here are some good tips:

1. Gear up (Eph 6:10-11)
2. Be a weapon to righteousness (Romans 6)
3. Flee temptation!

Staying strong,



Anonymous said...

Again I love your bible blogs :)
I totally needed to hear this message You're not the only one whose been going on E for awhile.

Bethany said...

I think we are a lot like David when he took a walk rather than pray. Frequently, I'll think I should spend time reading the Bible or praying, but then I go and read a book or watch TV. This reminds me of something I heard somewhere, that the moment we don't feel like reading our Bible or praying or spending time with God in some other way is the moment when we MUST do just that.

I know who wrote Hebrews. He is the author of the rest of the Bible: the Lord our God. But I don't know whose hand He used to write it down. Perhaps, just perhaps, He didn't use a human at all. How awesome and mighty He is. Just thinking that makes me want to laugh in delight.

Altercation: this is a good word.

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