Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Backsliding part 1

There are times in my life when I feel as though the hand of the Lord is almost crushing me.
Yes, I know. Since I was born again, God is 100% per cent for me, NOT against me. Yes, but...
It looks as if my rebellion is too great. A part of me wants to repent. And yet... It seems I can't. Or won't.

Ever been there? Knowing full well you are rebelling against your Maker and not really wanting to change? The voice of your conscience says, Continue like this and the end result is DEATH. But your fleshly self says, I don't really care. Actually, I care... Meaning, I don't want to go to hell... But don't care enough to repent and flee from this particular sin. Don't care enough to renounce this self-sufficient, selfish, self-centered, self-satisfied, self-seeking... self and cling to the thoughts of Another... Even if that Another is Almighty, All-knowing, Omnipotent, Merciful and Just Creator of the universe and Sustainer of my life.

Yes, I know what 'stiff-necked' means. It means your will is... mostly self-will. A self that is mostly seeking pleasure, comfort, peace in the "leave-me-alone" sense, joy in the "absence-of-problems" sense...

Been there. Done that.

But there is hope! I know because I'm SLOWLY coming back. Not actually quite back yet... Still on a long journey back to the Father. But I praise God I'm not eating pig food anymore. That's a good start.

The Bible has loads of passages for backsliders like me. Solemn admonitions and words of comfort and hope. A brutally frank diagnosis and then the cure for the terminal disease.

Let me briefly share one of them. This comes from Hosea 5.

And the revolters have gone deep into slaughter, but I will discipline all of them.
Remember Jesus? He said when we insult one of our brothers or sisters, we commit murder. Ouch!

I know Ephraim, and Israel is not hidden from me; for now, O Ephraim, you have played the whore; Israel is defiled.
You cannot serve two masters. And loving God AND the world is spiritual adultery and may be as bad as to be justly called prostitution. That one hurt!

The pride of Israel testifies to his face.
It's so obvious when we are taken over by a proud spirit. But when someone calls our attention to that, be strike back in anger!

Ephraim is oppressed, crushed in judgment, because he was determined to go after filth.
Interesting. Despite the fact the Lord is clearly showing us He doesn't want us to go in a certain direction, we stubbornly decide to have it our way.

When Ephraim saw his sickness, and Judah his wound, then Ephraim went to Assyria, and sent to the great king.
Ever been depressed, anxious or oppressed and tried ANYTHING but seek the Lord? Is the Lord our LAST resort?

Sorry to tell you this... But if you're truly God's child, He won't let you stay that way. That is bad news... and great news.

For I will be like a lion to Ephraim, and like a young lion to the house of Judah. I, even I, will tear and go away; I will carry off, and no one shall rescue.
First, discipline.

I will return again to my place, until they acknowledge their guilt and seek my face, and in their distress earnestly seek me.
Then, silence. He said, Stop. Showed you why. You continued in your ways. He disciplined you. You resisted Him. He said it again. Many times. Until He says, I will speak to you no more until you deal with this situation. And when the Lord removes His presence from you... you know it.

In a sense, He's still there. He will NEVER leave you. But He will make you feel as though He wasn't there. Just as a reminder. Where would you be without Him? What would your life have been like if you had never met Him?

Come back, you, my people...
Can you feel His voice softly wooing you?

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