I’ve been sidelined by illness this week (my husband went to Europe for work and brought me a terrible head cold as a souvenir. He got well relatively quickly, I’m still fighting…)
Anyway, I haven’t forgotten you. I actually sat down and wrote a book review post on Tuesday, but I want to polish that up a bit before I share it. Then on Thursday I had an experience with the Lord that I would like to share with you.
I was laying on the couch, watching a movie – a typical sick day activity, and as the credits rolled I was just overwhelmed by all the excess of this world. I felt sickened by all the stuff and all the resources, all the entitlement and all the waste. I just sat there feeling down about my perspective and the war within my flesh. I know that under normal circumstances I would have gotten off the couch and done something “productive” to satiate this overwhelming feeling that I am spoiled. I would have sorted through some things to donate, mended something to make it last, or just about anything to busy my hands and feel less like a slug who watched Die Hard on Thursday afternoon on a beautiful summer day. But this cold. I didn’t have the energy.
Then I heard a familiar voice in my head, “what does the Bible say?” (Yes, God talks to me now and then in my head. He doesn’t reveal the future or anything like that, but he sends me the gentlest reminders, right when I need them.) I grabbed a piece of scratch paper and a pen, and I started to put down what God says about my relationship with this world:
This world is not my home. Is that a scripture or a song lyric, Lord? A sad amount of my theology/biblical knowledge is actually song lyrics that sometimes aren’t even from the Bible. I’d better google that one. 1 Peter 2:11-12: Dear friends, I urge you, as foreigners and exiles, to abstain from sinful desires, which wage war against your soul. Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us. Foreigners and exiles: This world is not my home
If this world is not my home, I am not going to fit in or be comfortable here: I know where to find this one: Romans 12:2: Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.
This kind of reminds me of Daniel and the exiles in Babylonian captivity. The food of their new world made them sick. A steady diet of what the world has to offer makes me sick. Daniel 1:8-17: But Daniel resolved not to defile himself with the royal food and wine, and he asked the chief official for permission not to defile himself this way. Now God had caused the official to show favor and compassion to Daniel, but the official told Daniel, “I am afraid of my lord the king, who has assigned your food and drink. Why should he see you looking worse than the other young men your age? The king would then have my head because of you.”
Daniel then said to the guard whom the chief official had appointed over Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah, “Please test your servants for ten days: Give us nothing but vegetables to eat and water to drink. Then compare our appearance with that of the young men who eat the royal food, and treat your servants in accordance with what you see.” So he agreed to this and tested them for ten days.
At the end of the ten days they looked healthier and better nourished than any of the young men who ate the royal food. So the guard took away their choice food and the wine they were to drink and gave them vegetables instead.
To these four young men God gave knowledge and understanding of all kinds of literature and learning. And Daniel could understand visions and dreams of all kinds.
I like the “choice food” of this kingdom. I like comfort. I like stuff, especially nice stuff. But it makes me spiritually sick.
This life isn’t about my comfort; I will get no rest here. John 16:33: In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.
I have too much stuff. I feel like I say this a lot. It may be my personal motto. Too. Much. Stuff. Matthew 6: 19-21: Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
I am NOT the hero of my own story. Ephesians 2:8-9: For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast.
We are fully made for heaven while fully living in this world. There will always be a war in each of us between the citizen of heaven’s priorities and the citizen of earth’s priorities. Matthew 16:41: The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak. Keep up the good fight, everyone, we not blessed to be comfortable, we are blessed to be a blessing!