Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Traction Needed

Some time ago I went through a season in my life where I felt stuck.   By stuck, I mean that simultaneously, in several different areas of my life, I was not moving forward.   The areas were partly emotional, partly physical, and partly spiritual.  This went on for quite some time, and I experienced great frustration and periods of unpleasant introspection as I sought solutions to my predicament.

During this time the Lord kept giving me a picture of a car stuck in the mud, it's wheels spinning wildly and mud slinging everywhere as it dug itself deeper and deeper into the mire.  This was exactly how I felt!    He then began to show me that all the car needed to free itself from the muddy prison was a thing called 'traction'.   Traction defined is "the pulling or drawing of an object" or " how well something grips onto something, and moves ahead without slipping".   I was definitely in need of traction.

I can remember as a child getting stuck in the snow in our car and my Dad placing some boards underneath the tires to provide the 'traction' needed to move forward.  As I began to seek the Lord about the traction I needed, He led me into a process that would serve to provide the 'boards' that I would need to get me out of this muddy hole where I had lived. 

The first area that He showed me was that I didn't fully trust Him.  I was able to trust Him fully in some areas, but others I found were difficult for me to relinquish.  I was shocked, humbled, and heartbroken to realize how this one thing had caused so much trouble in my life and emotions.  Basically, I had believed some BIG LIES about His goodness and faithfulness in my life and this produced a fear based mentality.  I gladly repented of my choices not to trust, and then received His love into my life.  This didn't happen overnight, and this journey into His love continues as I write this blog.    I am amazed some days at just how much my thinking has changed in this area, and how much more at peace my heart feels as He continues to change my fear based mentality into a love based mentality. 

The second necessary area of traction He showed me involved my mouth.   Many years ago, He began the process of revealing to me the damaging effect of my negative words and confessions.   Ever so slowly, I began to change the way I spoke, and had prided myself on cleaning up this area of my life.  What the Holy Spirit showed me was that it was not enough just to stop speaking negative words, but I would need to begin to speak positive or 'truth based' words in order to experience the change that I so longed to see.

I would like to tell you that speaking the truth and making these confessions was easy, but for me it was like World War III had broken out in my head.  My spirit so wanted to move forward and vocalize the truth, but my soul (mind, will, and emotions) was screaming "No!" at the top of it's lungs.  For a while, it was two steps forward and one step back, but little by little, I began to notice change.  It was no longer as difficult to speak the truth.  I could say, "By His stripes I am healed" without opposition from my head, though I still had not seen the manifestation of this truth in my body.   I began to use my mouth as the traction needed to get from point A to point B in a number of different areas. 

The last area of traction involved a phrase borrowed from Nike.....Just Do It!   I became aware that the Holy Spirit was showing me the very next step to take in several different areas of my life, but for whatever reason, I had been lulled into a passive state or 'victim' like mentality.  It sort of reminded me of the cows who had been put in a pasture with electric fence.  They soon learned not to venture too close to the fence since they would be unpleasantly shocked.  But, even when the fence was removed, the cows passively remained in their little square of pasture unwilling to venture out again or take a risk.  After this realization, the Holy Spirit showed me the 'fences' were a lie in my life.  Next, He had me write down in each area of my life, the very next step He was showing me to take, and then said, "Just do it." 

I found that as I began to trust Him more fully, using my mouth to confess the truth of who He is, who I am, and where I am headed, then I could find the traction needed to make this next step and 'Just do it'.  'Just doing it' in my life involved lots of things like taking steps to forgive past hurts, restructuring my day for more time with Him, and making diet and health decisions.  I have a feeling that 'Just do it' will remain a part of my personal language with the Holy Spirit.

Even as I write, I am still very aware of other areas of my life where I long to see change and the light of God manifest.  The cool thing about walking with Him, though, is that the further down the road we go, the more we realize just how very good He is, and how faithful He is to bring about the desires of our hearts.  He doesn't leave us where we are, stuck in our places of captivity.    I am oh so grateful that I get to do life with Him.   Thanks, Holy Spirit, for gripping me, and not letting go. 

Being confident of this, that He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus. - Phil. 1:6

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Standing in Graceland

One day last summer, I stood in my backyard mindlessly watering my geraniums when I felt something resembling a hot poker touch my foot.  A quick glance revealed the dreaded Texas enemy, fire ants.   After a great deal of screaming, brushing off, and hopping around, I quickly found a new place to stand.

I thought of this incident today as I read Rom. 5:1-2, "Therefore, we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand."

It's important to know just exactly where we are standing.  If we are born again, we are standing in grace!   Before we met Christ we were standing in the enemy's territory.  It might as well have been a bed of fire ants, because we were vulnerable there to his assault and his plan for us which was, and always has been, to kill, steal, and destroy.  Romans tells us that Jesus provided access for us into a whole new place to stand.

As believers, an unfolding revelation of this 'grace land' in which we now stand, is one of the joys of discovery that Father has set before us.  Imagine receiving a letter from a wealthy king inviting you to come and live with him in his kingdom.  With a welcoming smile and a enveloping hug, he welcomes you in with a beautiful robe, sandals, and a ring.   He tells you that everything he has is yours to enjoy.  You have access to every part of the castle, grounds, and resources.   You enjoy long walks with the king and hearing the plans on his heart.  He asks you about the dreams on your heart and even tells you to "ask, and it shall be given to you".

If this all sounds vaguely familiar, it's because it is the reality in which we now stand.    If you're like me, you probably feel as if you don't deserve such favor, and we don't.   We didn't do, and can't do, a single thing to earn our way into this grace land.   It's been paid for, and we've been given an access code.  It's a five letter word called 'faith'.    Our faith is placed solidly in Jesus Christ who paid the penalty for not only our sins, but the sins of all mankind.    We are tempted to believe that it's too good to be true.   But, no!  It is true and it is good news!   Very, very good news!

Sometimes it's so easy to only see through our natural eyes this realm in which we live every day, but we have been given eyes that can see the Kingdom according to John 3:3.   Refuse to settle for the level of revelation that you are walking in today, and press in for greater sight, clarity and understanding. Stir up the expectation within you that there is more.  We access the riches of His kingdom through the revelation given to us.  We will not look for more if we don't believe there is more.

Try asking the King to show you the grace in which you now stand.   Prepare to be amazed.

"I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know Him better.  I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which He has called you, the riches of His glorious inheritance in the saints, and His incomparably great power for us who believe."              Eph. 1:17-19