Confessions

Do you have a few minutes to ponder with Mama G and consider our lives and why we do what we do and for what end? Before jumping into this reflective journey please read my previous post, Captive Hearts where we considered our design to be slaves and looked at who or what we serve, because, truthfully, we will be serving somebody – it is in our spiritual DNA.

Now for my honest confessions. These are the things that I can struggle to keep in their proper place. First, would be SELF and especially my emotions and gut feelings, which are often misleading and even beguiling. The world, the flesh and the devil all urge me to be a slave to my thoughts, my feelings, my desires, etc. etc. But God says in His Word…

Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding.

Proverbs 3:5 NIV

My thoughts and my feelings are flawed. My perspective has been marred by the poison of sin passed down from generation to generation like a bad gene.

It was perhaps Augustine of Hippo who first coined the phrase incurvatus in se.[1] Martin Luther expounded on this in his Lectures on Romans and described this state as:

Image result for images of incurvatus in se

Our nature, by the corruption of the first sin, [being] so deeply curved in on itself that it not only bends the best gifts of God towards itself and enjoys them (as is plain in the works-righteous and hypocrites), or rather even uses God himself in order to attain these gifts, but it also fails to realize that it so wickedly, curvedly, and viciously seeks all things, even God, for its own sake.”

Then from this self focus or self-preservation, I turn to family and friends. Family has been a big deal in my life and especially in my upbringing. Of course, loving family is not wrong and there is a lot in Scripture to support the importance of family and relationships in general, but when its demands are observed above God’s plans then we can get into a lot of trouble. When I was 17 years old and my dad lost his battle against cancer, his final word was “family”. Wow! Does that give you a mental picture of the high value of family in my personal story?! Truly I have been so blessed with such an amazing and supportive family that it feels blasphemous to even call “family” a potential “idol”, but honestly, it has been true in my life. And having the loving family I have makes this temptation more potent. Seriously, we want to be with people who love us no matter what, comfort us, laugh with us, cry with us… and God wants us to have that too, but not at the expense of placing Him below them. It is a fine line sometimes in my life.

l-denison-family

I confess it.

But the Lord has been gentle with me on this one, by reminding me with verses like this from Matthew 10:37

“Anyone who loves their father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves their son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me.”

As a cross cultural worker living overseas for almost 20 years, the passage below has been such a comfort as well as a reminder to embrace the ache of separation from parents, siblings, grown children and grandchildren and lifelong friends.

29 “Yes,” Jesus replied, “and I assure you that everyone who has given up house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or property, for my sake and for the Good News, 30 will receive now in return a hundred times as many houses, brothers, sisters, mothers, children, and property—along with persecution. And in the world to come that person will have eternal life.

Mark 10:29-30 NLT

Another value in my life that can creep into a higher place in my affections is TIME. I strongly dislike deadlines or being rushed or being scheduled. Some people like regimented lives. I confess I do not. This has been another hard learned lesson, battling control and becoming submitted and with eagerness “attending” His opportunities to serve Him by loving on others. He has been patient with me. I wake up almost every day thanking Him for allowing me to have slow mornings at my season of life. Nothing starts my day off better than sitting in my bed with my Bible and devotional and prayer prompts along with a nice cup of coffee brought by my beloved hubby. It is like a regular date with God where we look at what the day holds together.

It is beautiful. It is life giving. And it is personal. He is truly the only ONE worthy of our worship because He made us to worship Him. Pretty simple. 

How about you? What or whom is the hub of your life that spins you the directions that flow from focusing on that hub? Share with someone and watch it lose its grip. 

Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed.

James 5:16 NIV

 

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