Thursday, August 04, 2011

Qualities vs. Symptoms

Not to toot my own horn or anything, but I think I have some very unique and useful character qualities. Granted, most better psychoanalysts might not refer to them as “character qualities” as much as they refer to them as “symptoms,” but still. 

I think writers get a few symptoms…I mean, “qualities”…that normal people don’t get. Fiction writers, for instance, actually encourage those little voices in their heads. This week, though, I experienced another one. It’s that thing where I keep thinking I’ve misspelled words even when I haven’t. I think I might be a typo-chondriac.

Interestingly, if they come up with a 12-step program for typo-chondriacs, I’m pretty sure step one will be admitting you don’t have a problem.

When it comes to successfully walking out this life for Christ, though, we have to recognize right from the get-go our complete lack of ability to make it happen ourselves. We do have a problem. And without surrendering to the leadership of God’s Holy Spirit, I don’t even have a horn to toot. Not a leg to stand on. Not a keyboard to type on. It’s got to be all Him and zero me.

Me? I have nothing to offer. Especially since along with my typo-chondria, I think I might be coming down with a touch of kleptomania. Gee, I hope there’s something I can take for it.

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Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Nailing Down Obedience

           Never scrimp on fake fingernails. If you’ve ever picked up a set of those mega-cheap ones when you were in a rush, I have no doubt you completely understand what I’m talking about. How discomforting is it to have one of those slippery little rascals flick across a room? Have you ever nailed someone upside the head? Now that’s just embarrassing. But it’s the absolute worst when you’re at a fancy event, smiling awkwardly with your face redder than the most crimson nail polish as you’re picking a rogue nail out of some stranger’s salad. No wait, actually the absolute worst would be if the stranger ate the salad before you got to it.
Isn’t it mind-boggling that so many women who are caught fishing through strangers’ salads were in fact warned about the wayward nails beforehand (as in, “before” applying them to the “hand”)? Why don’t they listen?
In the book of Zechariah, the Lord had told his people to be truthful and just, merciful and compassionate, to take care of each other, take care of strangers, and to think the best about each other. Did they listen? No. Zechariah 7:13 is probably one of the saddest verses in scripture:  “‘When I called, they did not listen; so when they called, I would not listen,’ says the LORD Almighty.” Could it be any plainer? When he calls and we refuse to listen, then we will call and he will refuse to listen. Judgment comes when we won’t listen. People who don’t listen will undoubtedly get nailed in the worst way.
So how can we listen to God? We stay tuned in by reading his Word and obeying what we read. And we stay connected to him through prayer.
Refusing to listen is as foolish as wearing the worst nails to the nicest dinner. In Deuteronomy 30:19-21 we’re reminded that choosing to listen to God our Father is choosing life. “…love the LORD your God, listen to his voice, and hold fast to him. For the LORD is your life…” (Vv. 20-21).
We show love to our Father when we’re obediently listening and holding on to him. Nailing down obedience is nailing down love and life! 

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