Sunday, September 14, 2014

Not One but Two Cans

There is a common myth among people of faith and people outside of the church. It is this: that once you are saved, you are suddenly, perfectly transformed into a sinless creature who is supposed to always be in control, polite, obedient, and full of grace and mercy. It's the reason when a Christian becomes angry the community pouts and prisses and says, "Oh, I THOUGHT you were SUPPOSED to be a CHRISTIAN."

We propagate this myth ourselves by being characterized by what we are against more than by what we are for. How we dress, how we speak, and the things we do don't point people back to Christ, but point them to how holy we APPEAR to be.

See here is the truth...

When I was little, I was bossy, difficult, demanding, precocious, complicated, Type A, and totally in charge. My mother has this photo of me at three years old wearing a full-length purple dress, holding a piece of paper, directing the movers in my bedroom. We were moving, and I'd prepared by waking early, dressing for the occasion so that I looked like I was in charge, and making a check list of what they were and were not going to do in my bedroom. She said it was the moment that my personality came into fruition. She could literally see the woman I was going to become in that one day.

When I was five, my father stared calling me Sweet Charlotte. He added the tag line "who carries a can of whoop A in both back pockets on Sunday". It's because I refused to back down. I was confrontational and not afraid to be in a dispute or debate. I would argue until there was punishment and then still come back for another round when the dust settled only to kick it up again later. I refused to be cowed or afraid or back down. I refused to be weak.

I wasn't saved until I was 21. I committed every egregious sin that one can commit in those 21 years.  I was ungrateful. I was rude and uncaring and didn't love people. I wanted my way and to be right more than I wanted peace. I physically intimidated people and fought. I was the enemy. When the Holy Spirit descended upon me, I was one of those people who had a radical change--A Paul on the Damascus Road kind of change. A total turn around. But for this one thing....

See, the person you ARE is who you STILL ARE after your transformation. My sin nature simply became restrained by the Holy Spirit. Nothing in my intrinsic make up changed. I am still all of those things for the good and for the bad. The idea is that now I am under the power of God, not under the power of Charlotte. He has literally made all things new, but my personality--the thing that makes me ME--is still there the way He created me from the beginning.

But my basic instinct when something is out of whack in my universe is to reach behind me for one of those handy, dandy cans in my back pocket (cause I got this, God), which is the exact opposite of what the Lord wants from me.

He wants me to wait upon Him for deliverance, so that I am not sullied in the fight. He wants me to rest in His arms, because I battle against unseen enemies that I don't understand. He wants me to stop relying on me and look only to Him, which is overwhelming for someone who wants to problem solve and list make and get it done. He wants to actually be LORD in my life and not simply receive lip service. Because to say He is Lord and to actually let Him BE Lord are two totally different things.

He is a God of justice. He is a God of vengeance, just as much as He is a God of Love and Forgiveness. So, when things go wrong in your world, remember--you focus on still being you under the constraint and love of the Holy Spirit, and let God be God and handle the conflict. Psalm 46:1 "God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble." Hebrews 13:6 "So that we may boldly say, The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me."

Of course, should you cross me, you'd better pray for not only mercy and grace, but also for healing and protection, cause you might need it.  Sister Sunshine Charlotte still has two full cans of whoop-your-you-know-what in her back pocket just in case God needs a helping hand.

Just saying.

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