Hel 3:35 Nevertheless they did fast and pray oft, and did wax stronger and stronger in their humility and firmer and firmer in the faith of Christ, unot the filling their souls with joy and consolation, yea even to te purifying and the sanctification of their hearts, which sanctification cometh because of their yielding their hearts unto God.
"Here is the oppostite condition from the downward cycle of hardening our hearts, turning from God and practicing compulsive/addictive behaviors. Do you think abstaining from a character weakness and its resulting destructive habits is a form of fasting? Write about your willingness to magnify your prayers with the commitment to abstain from your primary addiction. This is one of those good and "of God" cycles or spirals: abstaining brings increased need to pray in order to maintain our abstinence, and increased praying brings more genuine, long-lasting abstinence."
Recently I've been fasting or abstaining from sugar. In some ways it is a very white-knuckle effort. However, as I think of the reason I'm struggling, I can see it is because I am not yielding to the enticings of the Holy Spirit to pray and fill my soul with the sweetness of His word rather than the sweetness of sugar. I've never considered that this act of faith might actually increase my commitment. I've maintained that I "can't" stay committed to anything. I don't know if that 's a lie or not. I know there are things I'm consistently doing and people I feel loyal to, but I think I have let the Liar convince me that no matter how hard I try, nothing will change...my heart is too stubborn, my weaknesses too strong. I've become convinced that my basic character is flawed and past redeeming because I can't stick with anything and nothing sticks with me...or no one.
I fear I am wrestling with something huge before you. I hope I'm not being too detailed. this feeling needs some inventory and I need to do it here and now until the Truth breaks through. So let me back track a bit. The truth is that I can keep a commitment. I have not kept all my commitments or my covenants with the Lord perfectly. This causes me to feel ashamed. I want people to think of me as dependable. Hmm...there's that fearing others opinions over God's The Lord would have me keep my commitment to abstain from sugar. Do I desire to obey? The will of the flesh is strong and says, "no way!" Satan is more subtle...he tells me to abstain perfecty, to pretend that the desire is gone only to mock me if I slip or fall. He wants me to fail and to shame myself in the process so I won't humble myself before God and admit my need for Him to maintain this good work. Satan also tells me that I will never lose this dispositon despite God's promise that I can and will.
Okay there is another voice on this committee wanting attention. It is the one that has given herself to a relationship with all the commitment in her heart only to have it shatter. I was married fifteen years. I still attend his family's gatherings. I still care so much about his welfare, but it feels like it's all in vain. When we divorced I was released...to hold on is to be fruitless right? Well, not neccessarily. Maybe my commitment to family is stronger than marriage bonds. It extends to my eternal family memebers who I have also interacted with and observed for fifteen years.
I had another relationship that lasted nearly three years. The man in this relationship knew very little about commitment. His longest relationship had lasted six years and it was never committed. He often shamed me for having any ties to my ex's family. I became convince that I was doing something bad by having a relationship. I wonder? Did those feelings extend into my relationship with God? It's like this man convinced me that the here and now was all there was to be considered. Leave the past behind, Don't try to anticipate the future. And sometimes it felt so positive and happy because in the here and now, he was being kind or complementive and made it seem that some kind of commitment was occurring. Only he took off when things got tough and left me thinking that I'm only attracted to liars...that my value of sticking with anything is wrong and not worth the effort because no one will stay anyway.
Hmm. To wax stronger and stronger in humility...to admit that no matter how much I try to commit, I fall short of the ability to maintain the good work because only Grace has that ability. To become firmer and firmer in the faith because I am willing to abstain and to learn from my mistakes and to realize that no earthly relationship will be perfectly committed, but that God's commitment for me is perfect. He will always be there when I need Him, when I call and He has the power to fulfill His promises...lasting, genuine abstinence. Am I willing? Yes I am. Thanks for letting me think out loud. It has helped me see the eternal perpective better.
Sharing and capturing on Heart t' Heart's principal workbook
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