– Erwin McManus; Soul Cravings.
Are you intentionally leading your heart to places that will grow you? In order for me to move out of the dark place I find myself, I must INTENTIONALLY lead my heart to places and people whom are seeking after the will of the Father. Things will continue to be a struggle for me; however I’ve come to realize an important truth. Even if I never get better, even if this never becomes easier I continue to pursue Him. If I begin to search the heart and endeavor to put on the heart of God, I know I will see the evidence of that search in my life. I have a unique perspective on Life, addictions, faith, family, friends, outcasts, and many other things that most Pastors have never experienced and it is in those experiences, that came from “following MY heart” that I can speak with authority to those situations. I’ve lived it and AM living it. To start that journey to a meaningful, REAL, RELATIONSHIP with the Living God, you have to take a step…every great journey began with a single step. This step is one out of darkness and into the light. But, how do we know where we are going? This concept of Light has amazed me as I’ve combed over the scriptures looking at its imagery. Jesus said; “I am the way, the truth, and the life.” Ok, Great! So, what does this mean. For me, it’s the Path, to the Destination, where we will find REAL LIFE! This all begins with making better choices. Notice, I didn’t say GOOD choices. Some things that we choose to do aren’t bad or sinful, yet there is clearly a better choice on the table. For example, drinking alcohol isn’t a sin – yes, I may have been raised a Southern Baptist, but they miss the point , which is part of the reason why I think Jesus chose to reveal His power to the world by turning water into wine for his first miracle. But, that’s just me. I read the scriptures and see the wonderful sense of humor of the Father. But, I digress. While drinking isn’t a sin (and you can’t make it one by proof-texting) a case may be made for drunkenness and addiction. But not for simply having a drink. But, here’s the better question to ask – “If if my past indicates that my decisions in (insert area) have led me to bad places, will doing (insert action) lead me to a different place?” In other words, If doing what I’ve always done leads me to where it always has, why would this time be any different?” Its about making smarter choices. This is the first step out of darkness. Here are some interesting facts about light.
1. Light always moves in Absolutely Straight Paths
2. Light has 3 colors, red, green, and blue; from these three colors ALL colors are made, including White.
***Black is the absence of Color
3. When light is intercepted by a drop of water in the atmosphere it is reflected off of the inner surface of the water, which causes it to split into it’s three main parts and is then reflected out of the water. This is the science behind the rainbow. It is called refraction.
What the bible is speaking to when it talks about living in the light, is abiding in Christ; living life totally exposed. For me, that means confronting a lot of personal demons that have and continue to haunt me. My feelings of guilt, shame, anger, my severe depression, insecurity, low self esteem, and the list goes on. No one really knows how hard this really is for me or how I’m actually doing because I’m very good at hiding the truth; I’ve had a lot of practice. But, due to a series of events, none of which were spectacularly important, I ended up sitting in a 2X2 closet, just a short while ago, with a knife to me arm wrestling with the intense feeling to just end it all. Tears streaming down my face and this deep soulful cry choking me – as I fought to NOT end my life – it was in THIS moment that I discovered the TRUE meaning of intercessory prayer. Between ragged breaths, I was crying out to God. And, these weren’t prayers of help or encouragement, they weren’t cries for peace or understanding – they were screaming to God – screaming AT God – ARE YOU THERE? ARE YOU LISTENING? DO YOU EVEN SEE ME? DO YOU EVEN CARE? But that’s what it means when the scriptures tell us, “For in THIS hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what he already has? But if we hope for what we do not yet have we wait for it patiently. In the same way, the spirit helps us in our weakness, we do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express.” Romans 8: 24-25
I’m desperately trying so hard to stop trying to fix myself, which is tough because I’m a “do-er”. I need to always DO something. If this experience has taught me anything, it is that the pain I feel is real and the more I hide it the stronger it becomes. I’m still trapped in this prison of my mind. I can’t seem to get around it or plow my way through it – the “inescapable me” – here, now, the darkness that follows me, haunting me, the emptiness I feel is silence and that noise is deafening. It seems as if nothing I do or say or feel or think or believe or know is right, good, or true. But, when you take away all the pretense and misconceptions of me, all that is left, all that I have, is Jesus. Fundamentally, all that is inside is Him. The fundamental truth AND belief that God is who He says He is, that God loves ALL people, God desires All people, He will do all that He has promised, and that He will go through each moment with me. As it often does, a Song comes ringing out of the darkness and speaks to me as my heart begins its lament-full cry to Holy God – ABBA FATHER – SET ME FREE!
· This song follows the account in Matthew of the man full of demons until he met Jesus.Mark 5:1-13 / Ephesians 2:1-10 Romans 8 / Revelation 1:18
To be continued…