Saturday, November 1, 2008

Saturday Selah: You Are Not Your Own

"Do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own?" -- 1 Corinthians 6:19
I've had a rough two weeks, dealing with my grandson's illness and my own. My cold turned into a sinusitis which I tried to fight on my own. The problem with relying on myself was that I was so engrossed in the pain in my head that I retreated from everything and everyone including my private times with God. It hurt too much to read. When I awoke on Thursday, the pain was at the point I could no longer resist going to the doctor. Of course, he prescribed an antibiotic. Although the pain was very severe that evening, Friday I woke up to myself again--after just two doses of antibiotics.

The fight in my body over the infection is not done. It will take two weeks to completely be rid of it. Today I am praising the miracle of modern medicine. Yes there are side effects. I am dealing with them the natural way with yogurt (a healthy food I eat any way) and acidophilus capsules. These will help keep my body chemistry in balance. My biggest praise is that since I am no longer completely focused on the pain in my head, I was able to grab my devotional and Bible this morning and joyfully plunge back into fellowship with the Lord.

My stubborn self-reliance came at such a price. My attitude that "it's my body and I'll take care of myself" caused me to miss out on a week of worship (unable to attend church at all) and praise (no morning coffee and conversation with the Lord). It is altogether appropriate that Oswald Chambers' November 1st devotion was entitled "You Are Not Your Own."

Let me share a bit of the words that blessed me this morning and caused me to grab my Bible and delve in a little deeper:
"There is no such thing as a private life, or a place to hide in this world, for a man or woman who is intimately aware of and shares in the sufferings of Jesus Christ. God divides the private life of His saints and makes it a highway for the world on one hand and for Himself on the other. No human being can stand that unless he is identified with Jesus Christ."
I love to write. It is easy to separate myself from the world as a writer. I observe, record, and stay out of the fray. This tendency is a battle I have to constantly engage in. If I don't watch myself, I will hide behind the paper and pencil, writing...writing...and ignoring the reality that is before me: the call to be light and salt to the world around me and to share in the suffering of Christ if it is necessary so that I can be both the light and salt.
"We are not sanctified for ourselves. We are called into intimacy with the gospel, and things happen that appear to have nothing to do with us. But God is getting us into fellowship with Himself. Let Him have His way. If you refuse, you will be of no value to God in His redemptive work in the world, but will be a hindrance and a stumbling block."
There is a reason for all the encounters in my life. It is my responsibility to open my ears to listen when the Holy Spirit indicates an opportunity to be used of Him.
"The first thing God does is get us grounded on strong reality and truth. He does this until our cares for ourselves individually have been brought into submission to His way for the purpose of His redemption. Why shouldn't we experience heartbreak? Through those doorways God is opening up ways of fellowship with His Son."
I know my first response to heartbreak is to panic and flap around uselessly like one of my hens running from my grandson. I will have to submit eventually, just as the hen does once the Dynamo catches her. Unlike the hen who becomes docile, though, I tend to continue to flap for a time while I am in God's arms.
"Most of us collapse at the first grip of pain. We sit down at the door of God's purpose and enter a slow death through self-pity. And all the so-called Christian sympathy of others helps us to our deathbed. But God will not. He comes with the grip of the pierced hand of His Son, as if to say, 'Enter into fellowship with Me; arise and shine.'"
I yearn to become less self-aware and more God-aware so that I can see the opportunity He places in front of me. I want to be a useful vessel, not a cracked and leaky one.
"If God can accomplish His purposes in this world through a broken heart, then why not thank Him for breaking yours?"
Here is the hardest part of walking a real and effective Christian walk. Being thankful for problems, pains, heartaches...I marvel when I see a fellow Christian praising and showing a joyful heart, even through the pain. Shame on me for not expecting that. Shame on me for being one of those full of "so-called Christian sympathy." Shame on me for expecting pity when I go through pain.

Father, guide me to Your purpose in every detail of my life. Make me more aware of You than of myself. Open my eyes to Your guidance and use me however is needful to accomplish redemption in the lives of the lost around me. Amen.


Denise said...

I love you, my prayers continue for you.

MJ said...

I enjoyed your post. Especially the comments on having a joyous heart, even through pain.

God Bless!