“…sin is crouching at the door-it wants you…but you can rule over it…”Genesis 4:7 CJB.
“…When the Adversary had ended all his testings, he let him alone until an opportune time…” Luke 4:13 CJB.
So my wife and I are sitting in my brother and sister-in-law’s living room. They have just recently retired and relocated here near two of their sons and the grandkids and near to us. My sister had flown down with one of her little grandsons and we were all visiting for the first time in my brother’s new home.
It’s really neat how you can come together, even after long separations, and if it weren’t for the grey hair, and less of it, wrinkles and weight changes, is would be as if you had just seen each other the day before, as if the conversation was a continuation of one just started the other day…
So we adults are talking and the little (five, six or so, years old) red headed grand nephew of mine was off in another room occupied with the electronic baby sitter, companion, etc. “Rescue me. Four old guys; almost anything would be more entertaining.” This little guy kind of caught my attention. I’m hoping maybe Yahweh will allow me some years yet to watch and see his progress. People are so interesting.
Well we are talking, a couple hours pass, it’s lunch time and my sister-in-law takes orders, sandwich time, what do we want and so on.
Out they come to me, my brother, and everyone one at a time. I’m waiting. It’s his house. Will we pray over the food? Will we not? Should I volunteer? He and his wife are deeply people of the Book. My sister…I’m not sure how serious. For some reason I’m a little hesitant, maybe I could say, a little nervous about initiating anything. So I don’t start eating but I pick up a chip and munch on it. He does the same and first thing you know we are eating. No prayer. And so the visit continues, but in the back of my mind the Father is present. He isn’t saying anything, but He doesn’t have to. I was told, reminded already and chose to disregard the Voice.
It’s funny how promptings come…just out of the blue, you weren’t expecting it and for some reason you… well…I, in this case, feel I need to think it over. Truthfully…? it’s not a worry about appropriateness but more a nervousness or even fearfulness of how it will be received…sometimes even in the company of those who are close to me. That’s a problem isn’t it? That’s a lingering on of the old flesh and failure to “…take every thought captive and make it obey the Messiah…” remembering and trusting that when we do obey we will be able to recognize and correct bad behavior…my bad behavior…poor witness… (2 Corinthians 10:5-6).
Then one gets into the mind game of trying to balance a short fall by pointing to other things where one has done well…or at least better; got to ease that guilty conscience, somehow.
“Keep things in perspective self. Just a little thing…this once…I’ll get it right the next time.”
The fall comes more often I think, in bits and pieces than in single overpowering events. Little things become big things through the intermittent becoming the norm.
“Gee wiz! That isn’t much of a witness for an elder…Elder.
A negative witness can lead to a positive outcome…
We are in a boxing match with the Adversary. Understand that he is going to throw punches that knock us down. How is that possible? Well we are a new creature… in an old flesh. We have the example of a true servant of God saying about himself that… daily… he had to die to himself. Only God and he knew what he was trying to control but does it sound like this “new creature in Christ” was perfect? When he says we should keep letting ourselves be transformed by the renewing of our minds, so that we will know what God wants, and will agree that what He wants is good... (Romans 12:2 CJB) is it not because we are not perfect yet? It’s an ongoing, knock down, get back up and continue to fight, fight.
So what about the guilt part? Guilt is good. The Holy Spirit is chastising maybe.
Could it be that it, the guilt, is punishment for an act of disobedience for thoughts we have not taken captive and made obedient to Messiah? Look at the verse from that angle.
So should we not be thankful for a heart that wants to please and be right with our God…that experiences guilt… and is motivated to repent and sin no more? My thought is that anything that keeps us in that mind set is good.
When we are satisfied to accept and live in our guilty feelings and just stop trying,
…“Oh I just can’t seem to do anything right. Oh I’m just a hypocrite. Oh my, Oh dear, Oh my gosh, what would… what do… people think?”
Oh Father, here I am again…asking forgiveness. Is this the time You’re going to give me that look, say ‘Forget it’ and wave me aside…?
…that’s especially the time to remember and take captive our thoughts, thoughts the Adversary uses to separate us from our Father and destroy our faith and trust.
That’s the time to remember Yahweh is patient and merciful and forgiving and that through Him we will “demolish strongholds”.
Good guilt is temporary for correction and building up. It is not a state in which to live, an excuse for unwillingness to place God’s will first, a justification for what we really want to do… and that is… do what we want to do.
Life has its ups and downs, over the span of a few hours to the years of our living. They, the ups and downs, follow one another every day.
We got ready to leave at the end of our visit but before he would turn loose of us my brother said “Hold on. I want to pray.” And so he did as we made a circle, arms around each other and he offered up words of gratitude and thanksgiving, love and affection to our Father. How lovely that was.
Father we thank You that indeed You are patient and merciful, forgiving and loving towards us and many are Your ways for keeping us close to You and one another, some easy, some hard to bear, some that break us and some that enthrall us.
Please Father… continue to be so with us…keep us… tend to us we pray…
May our fear of being apart from You be greater than the guilt of our performances that prompt us to quitting… greater than the temptation to disobey Your ways so that we can follow our own ways.
May we be victorious against the Adversary who crouches at our door…awaiting an opportune time… that he might separate us from You for himself…
Through Your strength and power may we may rule over him instead.
We praise You…and honor You…thank You and love You…
In Yeshua’s name Father…we pray.
May God’s love be in us all.