Underwear

In Christian circles, we talk a lot about the “Armor of God.”

You know, “helmet of salvation, sword of the Spirit, feet shod with the preparation of the Gospel.”  Those things.

But, I was thinking lately that some of the “armor” hasn’t been sitting so well in my fight. Belt of Truth getting a bit tight, Breast Plate of Righteousness beginning to chafe.

Sorry, my metaphors are silly and intentionally trying to be humorous.

The reality is that if we solely concentrate on the armor, we miss something.  There are other aspects that we have to choose, things we must look for and put on.

“Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.”

Now, most people will tell you as you live for Jesus, the Holy Spirit naturally brings out these “fruits of the Spirit” in our lives.  I would suggest that they are attributes that you have to choose, to clothe yourself with along with the armor.

In the military, you learn pretty quickly that, to protect your feet, you need good boots.  But first, you need clean, dry socks.  If you wear a sweaty, nasty t-shirt for too long, you’re going to get chafed (and you smell really bad).  And, if you don’t change your boxers from time to time, well….

And, the idea of not having these items is not something you should choose!

Is it sacrilege to compare the Fruits of the Spirit to underwear?

I think it’s biblical.

When you lift up your sword, make sure you put on love.  When you hold up the shield, make sure it is also wrapped in faithfulness.  When you put on the belt, make sure it is over the garment of patience.

And if all this leaves you cold, 1 Peter 5:5 says, “Clothe yourselves, all of you, with humility toward one another…”

Now, I’m ready for battle.

And I think I look pretty killer, too!

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Self control

I’ve been thinking about the fruit of the spirit lately.  Is it shown in my life, my heart?  Do I show the evidence of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness and self-control?

Hmmmmm…..

I question my self on all of them.  People tell me that I show love, peace, kindness, faithfulness.  But shoot, only in baseball would that be a decent percentage.  Sometimes, I see evidence of joy, goodness, self-control.  Well, self-control is almost never.

I tend to be one that does whatever, says whatever comes to mind and most of the time it is in the face of reason and good sense.

I see others like me but wow, what is the deal with the lack of control?

Then there is the opposite extreme, those who are extremely self-controlled.  They do not let anything get beyond their  control.  If they don’t see a way through, they just won’t go.  If they are not assured of a predictable outcome, they will not move.

I don’t think that was what Paul was talking about in Galatians.

Can I just start with saying, “God I’m struggling.”  I need more self control.  In the battle of life, I can choose to obey, choose to yield my heart.

But, the truth is, I don’t see it.  Even Paul, the apostle said, the good that he wanted to do, he didn’t do.  The “law of sin” working in me.

I think I’ll submit myself to you.  I think I’ll let you be in control.  I’ll obey when you speak.  I think I’ll worry less about being the perfect Christian and trust my life to the perfect Christ.

And, maybe in my heart being yielded, I’ll find the strength to be something that shows my Lord and Savior.

Jesus, Pay Attention

“Jesus left the temple and was walking away when his disciples came up to him to call his attention to its buildings.” Matthew 24:1

Another strange portion of scripture (at least to me).  Why would the disciples need to point out the temple to Him?  Jesus had been there before, you may remember.  All I can think of is that, on this occasion, He didn’t show any evidence of being impressed, He didn’t take the time to notice His surroundings, He wasn’t paying attention.

Why?  Sure, He had some other things on His mind.  He knew that He would soon be betrayed, rejected, crucified.  Maybe, He just didn’t care.  It’s not hard to imagine that the creator of the universe would not be impressed by any building, ever.  I think He would be particularly unimpressed with a building designed and built to show off the greatness of a human king.  Perhaps He was focused on what He had seen in the temple, the money-changers, the greed that was so evident there, the mess they had made of God’s plan and will for their lives.

And His response, all that is so impressive, that you admire so much, it’s going to be destroyed.

Sometimes, all too often, I question whether Jesus is paying attention to me.  Like a spoiled child, I whine about my “needs” not being met, my wants, my dreams unfulfilled.  Does He just have other things on His mind?  Am I not important to Him?  Does He see the things that I long for as silly, frivolous, warped, wrong?  The things that I think will make such a difference, my purpose for being here, means nothing to Him.

The only problem is I know the verses that say He cares, He knows the number of hairs on my head, He sees me.  Maybe, He’s so busy saving me, protecting me, loving me, molding me, shaping me into His image, that He won’t waste time on my crying.

I doubt He’s very impressed with me, except the way a dad is impressed with everything His children do.

Yeah, I forgot about that.

dadandchild

“Train Up A Child”

How many really like to train?

I know many people that like to work out, that’s not what I mean.  Working out is further developing what is already there.  It can be showing off, to yourself or to others, just how far you’ve come.  Training, at least what I think is being referred to here, is taking someone who doesn’t know anything, who is terrible at something, and helping them get good at it.

That’s the part that I hate.

I know this will come as a shock to you (unless you’ve seen me play) but music is hard work for many of us.  I don’t hear a lead once and then play it flawlessly.  I don’t hear it and play it twenty times and play it flawlessly.  I have to practice over and over and over and over.

As I think about this, I realize I am borrowing some from Freedom Ministries (if you haven’t heard of it, it is well worth checking into – http://gatewaypeople.com/ministries/freedom-kairos/media1).

I have played with those who get frustrated with me because I don’t just “get it”.  I have to hear it, play it, hear it again, play it again.  It takes forever.

Where do you think God falls on this spectrum?  What I see from scripture is a God who says we need training.  We need discipline.  We need grace.  “The fruit of His Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness and self-control,” words that all convey the type of God He is and how He sees us.

Do you feel like you are “getting it”?  Are you doing life “right”?  Have you arrived at some level of spiritual perfection?

Me neither.

Remember, we are His children.  We can fail, try again and fail again and we’re still His.

Philippians 1:6 “And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.”

I’ll keep practicing but I think I’ll let God worry about my perfection.  He’s my dad. His opinion is the only one I have to answer to.

And He loves me.