If you are on a spiritual high right now, on top of the world, feeling like you could take on Hell with God and a water pistol (its possible... remember, with Christ I can do ALL things...), then this Encouragement Mail is not necessarily for you... come back and read it when that high comes down a little. Or, just delete it, if you are one of the lucky few who stay on a mountain all the time...
For the rest of you, those of you in a spiritual funk, as I feel sometimes, more often than not, I'm speaking your language. Heard a song yesterday I was giving to someone as an encouragement, and God turned up the speakers on my heart so I could listen to it... so I wanted to share it with you.
Got a witness not too stable, wouldn't get me very far
Got one hand on the table, one in the cookie jar...
You ever feel like this? Look at your life, and think "Geez, if I wasn't a Christian, and looked at someone who lived just like me, I wouldn't be very excited about becoming a Christian." One hand on the table, one hand in the cookie jar? One side of your life open to the public, on a perfect spiritual display... and the other hidden from view, where no one sees what you say, do, think... no one but God.
Got sins that need eviction, from a temple that’s a wreck
Got chains of contradiction hanging around my neck
Those sins that just won't stinkin' go away! You keep fighting them and fighting them, and when you think the battle is won, you lose again! A scene I can imagine in Hell's conference room, where they are assigning demons to people:
Demon 1: Boy, I hope I get that d$ assignment!
Demon 2: Really? I would think that a non-Christian would be easier... I mean, that Dave guy is like, big in church and stuff. Isn't that hard?
Demon 1: Naw, man, I had d$ last summer, cushiest job I ever had. You just sit back, he messes it up on his own!
Demon 2: Really?
Demon 1: Yeah, every now and then after that Bible Study I have to step in and try and cause problems, sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't, but most of the time, I don't even have to do anything! He just screws up bad enough on his own! (Pause) Crapola! They gave me Emmy Turnbow duty! I hate that shift! Now, I actually gotta do some work!!
Feel the bitter winds grow colder, they are dancing with my pride
Got a chip on my shoulder bigger than a mountainside
Pride. Sheesh. That feeling of presumption that everything is simply peachy in my spiritual walk. That feeling that says, "Aw, gee, you went to church! You read the Bible... just last week! You're in good shape!" That chip, be it pride, selfishness, lust, presumption, disrespect, disbelief... doesn't have to be bigger than a mountainside... it can be the size of a pretzel, and still do some major damage in your life. Are ya feeling me?
And these claws of human nature hold me tight within their grasp
I'm not worthy of forgiveness but I just had to ask...
I feel like this many times. I picture myself just bound by ropes, with little sins written all over them... not the sins we would consider big... just a bunch of little ones, that combined, are more powerful and hold tighter than any of the bigger fallacies I could do. And no, I'm not worthy of forgiveness... and sometimes I ask like that. "God... I'm a dork, I know it... but please forgive me." Sometimes, I almost expect him to say, "You know, Dave, we've been through this... and this time, I'm not going to forget about it." Even though you know he never would... you think, "If I were Him, I sure would." Good thing you aren't Him, huh?
When I've all but killed the fire, and my soul's in desperate need
But I wallow in the mire of complacency
Complacency... ooh, big one. Spelled out... You know you need the nourishment that God and His Word can give you... and yet you just roll around where you are, with no motivation to move.
I want to taste the fruit I'm missing, and yet I feast only the bread
My desire's alive and kickin', but my drive is dead
There is so much out there that God is waiting to give to you and me! But we don't take it! Instead of all the wonderful fruits of love, mercy, grace, power he has for use, we sit on the steps munching on stale WonderBread (not even the Iron Kids kind!), wondering why our meals don't taste better! And my desire to follow God, to know God, to want God is always alive and kicking... but my drive never does anything about it!
You bear the weight of condemnation cleansing with the blood of truth
But! There is always a big But! Jesus... took all of this. Put it on his shoulders, had it driven through his hands and feet, had it poked in his side, had it forced upon his head in the form of a crown of thorns...
So with my humble acclamation, I want to give myself to You
After reading all this... if you think to yourself, "You know, d$, I just don't know where you are coming from... I'm not feeling you here, man," then you can stop now. But if you are thinking, "You know, that’s my life in a nutshell, that’s where I feel like I am..." then there is something you can do about it.
I go down... I go down, down, down... I go down on my knees
Thats right, folks. It’s called prayer. "But, I've done that! It’s not working!" I look at it this way... out of all the people in the world, there are probably only 1/10 of them that pray to God, ever. And out of those, I'd guess only 1/10 of them actually do it on a regular basis... with 6 billion people on earth, and only 1/20th of them talking to Him, do you honestly think that God is going to ignore someone who is praying to Him? He loves that stuff! Maybe you should skip the official prayers of "Oh, holy God, forgive my transgressions, and I lift my soul to thee that thou will fill me with thy grace and..." Now, don't get me wrong, that’s fine and all... if you mean it... but sometimes, you gotta get a little more plain-languaged with God, and talk to him like you would talk to anyone else...
Feed my hunger, slave my thirst for a spiritual rebirth
Light my darkness, move in me
"God... I'm messed up. I know of all these things I want to do, I know of all the ways I want to show you that I love you... but I just ain't doing it. It’s not a matter of not having time, cause I can make the time. It’s not a matter that I doubt you, because I fully believe in you. I just need you to come down here and get me moving, God." I'll have you know I prayed that prayer not more than two hours ago, before I even thought about writing this.
Make me more than what You see
And there's the tag line. "God... I know with you, I can be so much more than what I am now. Make it so. Please." And the scary part is... He will. That’s a promise.
As I go down on my knees...
Moral of the story... if you are feeling funky, like described above, the total spiritual overhaul begins with a word to God. If your car is broke, just leaving it in the driveway ain't gonna fix it... you gotta make the move to take somewhere and they'll take care of the rest, the hard part. Same thing with Him.
Oh, by the way... do you sometimes feel like this:
"I am told that God lives in me, and yet the reality of darkness... is so great that nothing touches my soul... Where I try to raise my thoughts to heaven, there is such convicting emptiness that those very thoughts return like knives... Love... it brings nothing. In my soul, I can't tell you how dark it is... I feel like refusing God."
Sounds harsh, doesn't it? Well, this is an excerpt from some letters written in the 50s and 60s, found in Kolkata (formerly Calcutta). The author? Mother Teresa. Yes, that one. See, you aren't the only one that feels funky from time to time.
Funk is a cool word, though, isn't it?