August 14, 2015

Confirmation

Today is a good day even though I woke up feeling rather cranky and discombobulated. I didn't sleep well last night, and I spent most of the early morning hours tossing and turning over.

My ankle and wrist is bothering me again, and it seemed like all night long, both were not content to rest. I twisted my right ankle off-loading the plane in Reagan National Airport last June. I am not sure if I hurt my wrist at that time, but I am thinking that it probably was a casualty of that nasty fall. In that initial fall, I thought the pain was coming from my right knee, which took the brunt of the hard landing. Both knees were skinned and both suffered bruises right under the knee cap. To this day, I cannot kneel on any surface, and my knee caps are still sensitive to touch. But, it seems that it is my ankle that suffered the damage from the whole mishap. I know that I twisted my foot in the gully, the part of the jetway that is depressed, and that action caused me to fall forward on my face. I was a trooper, limping through the airport on adrenaline mostly, just to make sure I made my connecting flight. In hindsight, I should have gone for help with the airlines or airport, but I was too stubborn to miss my flight and upset my planned week at Regent. Hence, I suffered in silence, and here I am today, still dealing with swelling and pain. Sigh!

Running With Perseverance

So it is Friday. This is my last Friday before I begin teaching at Arizona Christian University. I still have one more week before I begin classes at Regent and at Grand Canyon. My time is running out, and frankly, I am starting to panic about not being ready for class just yet. I know in the end, it will all work out, but there is part of me that is worried about the workload and my school schedule. I know the Lord has this figured out, and in many ways, I believe that He has orchestrated my schedule to enable me time to complete my work -- both as a teacher and as a student. Still, I worry about my grades, and the fact that this is my last semester in class at Regent.

I am struggling today with doubt, with feelings of inadequacy, and with the pang of guilt -- thinking in many ways that I am not doing the right thing, going the right way, or following after the Lord as He has called me. I know, I know. These voices of doubt are not of the Lord. No, they are the enemy trying to pull me, nay pry me, from my stubborn and obstinate path to please the Lord and fulfill His call on my life.

I recall these verses from Hebrews 12:1-2 NKJV where it says,
Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
I think about these words, specifically where it says "let us lay aside everyone weight, AND the sin which so easily ensnares us" and I feel the crushing blow of condemnation. I feel the Accuser rail at me regarding my failing, my fall in to sin, and my difficulty in overcoming it. Yes, I feel that heated discourse that says to me "You are no witness for Christ!" Yet, even in the heat of the moment, I know that there is no condemnation (Romans 8:1), and that I stand free in the grace by which I have been called. Still, the sting of the accusation hurts, and I struggle to rebound today -- feeling off balance and disagreeable in my own thoughts of condemnation. As I process it all, I know that what I feel is a result of my own guilt and shame, my own thoughts, feelings and emotions that are twisted up and turned inside out simply because of my choice in behavior. I know that I am free, free indeed, and that my sins "are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow" (Is. 1:18).

I run the race of faith with diligence and perseverance, knowing that I must remain strong and I must exercise the grace gifts of faith (1 Peter 1:10-11; 1 Cor. 1:5-11). My witness and testimony bear evidence, give confirmation of my calling and my election, and thus I am sure that while I may fall into sin occasionally, I do not make it a habit or a lifestyle. There are some who preach a message of Christian perfection, and who teach that once you are born again, it is impossible to sin. I do not hold this view (not anymore) because I have lived a life marked by distinct periods of sinfulness that were followed by years of grace and forgiveness. My race, therefore, has not been a sprint; rather, it has looked more like a cross-country marathon. I have run this race of faith over hills and through valleys, across desert plains, and into deep wilderness and forests. It has not been run on a smooth track with clearly painted lines; no, it has been run over the countryside whereby rocks, holes, and other wild things have caused me to stumble and fall.

In truth, I have grown weary and tired with the journey, and at times, I have sat down and given up, given in to the pressures, the pace, and the problems in my life. I am running today because despite the times when I wanted to give up, when I wanted to go home, I heard His still small voice begging me, pleading with me, comforting me, to get up and keep on moving. I have listened, and I have obeyed that voice, and today I walk on -- pressing on toward that upward calling of God which is in Christ Jesus (Phil. 3:14).

Today, I get up and I walk on, knowing that it is my Savior, Jesus Christ, who is the author and finisher of my faith. I rest in His abilities, and not my own, and I live knowing that there is nothing I can do this day, nothing I can create or manipulate that will accomplish His work. No, His work is completed in me and through me, but it is not anything of my own making. The work I do, the race I run, is the work and the race that He has called me to run. Therefore, no matter how often I stumble and fall, I get up, and I keep on moving on toward that finish line. I run to meet my Savior, to finish this race of face and to finish it well (Selah!)


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