Thursday, September 30, 2010

Exposure: A Heresy of the Heart

A number of years ago my husband and I attended a teen's funeral. With a heightened awareness of the pain and suffering in that sanctuary, my anger was aroused as the person in charge laid out one lie after another.  At one point I turned to my husband and whispered, "If this goes on much longer, you are going to have to restrain me."  It took all I had not to stand up and shout, "Heresy!  Heresy!  They're lies! All lies!"

That said, this morning I discovered heresy in my heart.  In an effort to better steward this earthly vessel, I am working my way through the First Place 4 Health Bible studies.  I picked up the book, "Giving Christ First Place" on the recommendation of a pastor's wife and was blessed with a 43-pound loss a few years ago.  Sadly, weight sneaks back, and before I lose complete control, I'm on to another of their studies.  This morning I discovered an insidious thought pattern as I looked at Ephesians 6--the armor of God.

"Identify an area where you have relied on the world's philosophies and psychology in a vain attempt to overcome the spiritual forces that wage war against your soul..." (Daily Victory, Daily Joy p. 63). It didn't take much prayer to recall that yesterday--after completing much of my to-do list, exercising and eating responsibly--I indulged in strawberry milk and animal crackers while running errands. That may not be your definition of gluttony--and it wasn't even a dark sin I snuck off in the corner to commit, but it was outside my allowance for the day. God and I knew it.  My accountability partner, Sara, knows it. But God wasn't finished.  It was more than the act, it was the thought behind the act.

What was I thinking?  "Because I have done this:  ___________; I deserve this:  ______________."  Look back:  because I had completed much of my to-do list, exercised, and eaten responsibly I could now celebrate with 550 "free" calories.  WOO.....hoo.

But, you might argue, that's just positive reinforcement and performance management. There's nothing wrong with rewarding yourself, la da da da da.  And that's what I've told myself, too--until today.  Once I wrote my thoughts on paper I saw their duplicity.  Do I really think that because I've done something right so-many-times-in-a-row I deserve to sin?  Does God really say, "You've been such a good girl, you're entitled to some fun.  Go dabble in your favorite sin and come back when you're ready"?  Not.  The biblical model is to keep doing right, not to grow weary in doing good, to rejoice in God and His righteousness.  There is no comfort in sin.  There is no peace or satisfaction or accomplishment.  "This is a trustworthy saying. And I want you to stress these things, so that those who have trusted in God may be careful to devote themselves to doing what is good. These things are excellent and profitable for everyone. " (Titus 3:8).

We would all agree that God doesn't give out sin-tickets for good behavior, but I have found that I live as if He does (or at least I pretend He does).  How different my life would be if I didn't justify bad behavior based on good behavior.  And how important it is to know God wholly, truly, reverently; living in constant dependence.  And, as the verse on this site reminds me frequently--refreshment follows repentance.  Praise God for revealing heresy--from what I hear, it's a lifelong process.

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