Monday, 11 February 2013

An answer to our self

Right now... think about something that if it happened, would make your week.

...did you think of something??

I am fairly confident that most people will have thought of something that impacts them personally.  It may have been a material object (if I could win the lotto this week) or maybe relief from suffering (if this asthma would leave me alone), but I am pretty sure nearly all the things you thought of would have been something that effected just you.

Why isn't our natural thought process geared to first think of others??? Why didn't we think; 'It would make my week if that person could stop suffering from asthma' or 'It would make my week if that family had enough money to buy decent meals for their kids'.  Now when you see those things I am sure you agree they would make you happy, and you're not wishing that kids would go hungry or anything like that.  But I just wonder at how our initial, our very first, thoughts always seem to be self seeking.

"What causes quarrels and what causes fights among you? Is it not this, that your passions are at war within you? You desire and do not have, so you murder. You covet and cannot obtain, so you fight and quarrel. You do not have, because you do not ask. You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your passions."
 (James 4:1-3 ESV)

Like that passage says, I feel it is a real war/battle that is waged inside us.  Our natural (and sinful) desire is for ourselves, and we battle against it to try and see others more important than ourselves.  But it is that natural (and sinful!) nature that causes all the problems (both inside and outside the church).  Later on in the chapter James continues;

"Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Be wretched and mourn and weep. Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom. Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will exalt you."
(James 4:7-10 ESV)

There's the solution - but it's a solution we have to remind ourselves of time and time again.

Is it surprising that God encourages us to feel 'wretched', to 'mourn and weep'?  How can the loving God be telling us to turn joy into gloom?  But that is the answer... because the weight of our sin should drive us to mourn and weep.  Our sin hurts God so much that we (even as those saved through forgiveness) need to be so sorry of our actions, and that offense we cause God, that it drives us to weep.  It's in that understanding that we find the motivation for true repentance.

A time of gloom is well served if it assists in our understanding of our relationship with God.  Because as the final verse says there, He will lift us back up, he will 'exalt' us if we humble ourselves and truly realise, repent, believe and follow Him.

When was the last time you wept because of your sin?

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