New Things

This is my first post.  Today is a new day and grace is fresh to me this morning.

I have lived the Christian life up to this point in the flesh. Yes, I’ve been a good, responsible Christian. I’ve served God well. I’ve emptied bank accounts for God’s work.

I’ve joined my husband as he planted a church from scratch.

I’ve led Bible studies and taught all sorts of sound doctrine.

I’ve served eight years as a missionary overseas.

I’ve given up dreams and taken up crosses.

I’ve read through the Bible numerous times and memorized much.

I’ve been an exemplary Christian.

Key word in all those statements: I. I’ve lived the Christian life in the flesh.

Many months back, the realization hit that if life was going to really count, if destruction was to be avoided, the Spirit had to be the one in complete control.

The Christian life couldn’t be lived by me any longer. “I” must stop trying to live the Christian life and “I” must stop trying to tame and train the flesh.

The whole stinking ship needed to be abandoned.

The question was how? How to let the Spirit live? How to let Him flow freely out of me? How to let this life not be mine any longer but His?

I have sought God for many months about this. I have hungered for Him, for His life to replace my life, asked Him to be to me what I see in Scripture.

Along the way He has broken me. He has revealed the dark putrid stench in the bulkheads. He has revealed the deceptiveness of my captain’s compass, exposed the rotting planks behind the pretentious exterior.

The SOS signal grew stronger. More cries for rescue and truth and grace and a whole new way of life.

In the meantime, my oars dug desperately in the waters with all I knew: Anger and irritation seemed to be my constant companions, as an effort to get others around me to behave! My life message was “I can’t handle this! Stop making my life harder than it is already!” or “Come to my rescue because I’m about to lose it!”

Until finally…

I knew that in accordance with Scripture, God desired for me to have the better way and He wasn’t withholding anything from me, so that meant there was something in me still in the way, blocking it from happening. So I started praying,

“Lord, whatever is in the way, whatever I have to do, whatever I need to confess, whatever I have to give up or let go of, I will. I will do whatever You tell me so that I can have the fullness of Your Spirit.”

The first day He said, “In order to walk in the Spirit, you have to get off that mat.” (see John 5)

Before a crippled soul can walk, he must arise and take up their mat, be done with that filthy bed of comfort.

A cripple’s mat is what stood between me and the fullness of His Spirit and I needed my mat clearly defined.

On day two, He said, “There is no provision but My grace.”

He defined my mat for me: A lifestyle that demanded provisions other than His grace. My anger demands my kids behave. My stress demands my husband step in and help. My withdrawal demands life stops while I get my head and heart geared up.

All the while I never realized that by neglecting certain responsibilities and taking on other more “enjoyable” ones in the guise of service and rights, I was falling short of the grace of God.

But God said, “There is no provision but My grace and My grace is able to make you stand- Romans 5:2- and it is by My Spirit that you walk and you told Me you would do anything for the fullness of My Spirit.”

I am rolling up this mat. I’m standing in this grace. When the baby starts my day at 5am and the children’s bickering interrupts my morning and all 4 lambs need my attention and love at once and when no husband is around to help… “There is no provision but My grace.”

When my mind is numb from the demands placed on it and my emotions are unstable and I want to pick up that whip of anger and condemnation to get things manageable again and when the body is tired and there is no fix and when I long for freedom outside of these walls and when I’d like to take wings and fly… “There is no provision but My grace.”

So this is my journal and my journey.

I’m getting to my feet, taking up my mat, and walking in the Spirit.


4 Comments on “New Things”

  1. […] All year these things have niggled me. All year I have seen how we, as a culture and for the most part, live the Christian life in the flesh. All year I have been sickened by how much of my life, my 12 years in the ministry as a church planter and missionary, have been lived relying on secondary skills. […]

  2. Susan says:

    What can I say after reading this post? You could of put my name on the subject line.

    I will continue to re-read this until it sinks deep within. I want to get it. I want to live it.

    I want to get to my feet, and take up my mat and walk in the Holy Spirit, from this day on.

    Thank you for leading the way.

  3. Susanna says:

    I just read through your blog, Arabah, and want to encourage you to keep up the good work!

  4. […] you know that I have grown tired, oh so tired, of living the Christian life in the flesh. The pages here record a God who calls, moves, and invites to something profoundly different: a […]

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