Knowing What I Want

Living with one foot in God’s service, the other in mine, doesn’t make life very good. It is easy to live for me in theory. The reality is, living to please myself is pure misery and impossible to overcome by myself, willpower-ing my way to freedom that never will be. My will says “I can fix it,” as though I were a jack-of-all abilities. Being full of self brings out an ego-maniac trying to control outcomes and giving un-asked for advice.

The only thing worse is me with the one-foot in, one foot out of service to God in any capacity, recovery included.That is a lukewarm nonsensical life that leaves me totally wondering if I am on the right path. In this sorry existence, I question God’s will, procrastinate important decisions, fly off the handle at the slightest infraction from another. Half-spiritual, half carnal, fully idiotic, and yes, I have lived there.

“I know all of the things you do, that you are neither hot or cold. I wish you were one or the other! But since you are like lukewarm water, neither hot or cold, I will spit you out of my mouth! ” ¬† ¬† Rev 3:16 (NLT)

I know what I want today. Yet like every one that has decided to follow Jesus since the Church began, I struggle to do that “thing.” That thing is dying to self once and for all, no more struggling with recovering from additions, no thoughts of drinking, no more sneaking to smoke a cigarette, eating poorly, crushing my pride to powder, until all people see is Christ, not me. But I know that no good dwells in me, a slave to sin, controlled by….wait, hold it, just stop the rambling here.

What I want I have. Yes, I am learning that just as I am sober today, and having to die daily to drinking alcohol, I have to die to the desires of the flesh daily too. Honestly, I struggle in many areas, sin came embedded in my DNA, when I arrived here. As a child, sin was dead to me, not knowing right from wrong as an innocent youth.

Then, someone preached the Word to me. I was nine years old when sin came alive to me that night, and I died. That is, I died to God, separated by my sin from the Holy. The man said, come home to God, accept Christ tonight. I felt dirty inside and began to cry like an infant, spiritually I was. The little nine-year old, tears streaming, prayed that sinner’s prayer, and immediately felt clean, forgiven, unsure why. Discovery came with understanding later on.

I know I lived a foot in, a foot out until grace led me to recovery. God’s goodness brought me home. I discovered having what I really want. It was Jesus all along. The dying to sin is a process we always battle as believers. It is the fighting that counts, not laying down or yielding ¬†ourselves to the ways of this world, that is hurling toward destruction. We need test ourselves whether we are in the faith or not…regularly. We have to know without question. The perks are wonderful, and like dying to self, it happens often along the journey. Each time we die to self, we go deeper in Him, from the “wow, thanks God,” to the “You are beyond AWESOME God!” I want that too.

You may be doing the foot-thing in and out. You won’t suddenly get the danger of your way. If you think everything is okay living full-blown for self, ignoring what pleases God, you become open prey for evil’s grip to tighten. You may not care about that until you want to break free. Today, right now, ask God for help, you will be contacted, and find what you really want.

I Don’t Feel Like It

I know you won’t believe this but I have actually done some pretty dumb things in my life. I think I’ve learned some expensive lessons from those ignorant actions, and have no desire to repeat any of these. Yet, somehow, with all of my determination to avoid mishaps, they still occur. I know, as God knows, I am just clay. I need help, on a regular basis, to improve my performance in life, and to be a man of personal integrity. I think that I have stumbled onto the secret of getting there, though I may never arrive. Here it is: do what you don’t feel like doing. Maybe I should say that louder: DO WHAT YOU DON’T FEEL LIKE DOING! There are so many things I don’t want to do that don’t matter. But too often, I don’t want to do what is important, things that really matter.

I don’t want to attend recovery meetings at times. When I go, I feel energized. I always say to others in recovery, the best meetings there ever were, I didn’t go to. And the best meetings I ever went to, I didn’t want to go to. I believe this to be fact. When you and I shake off the thoughts that come and keep us inside ourselves, when we determine to make our feet walk to the aid of others, God is acting on our behalf. Why? Because we’re acting on His behalf to help those in need. Consequently, we intend to give, and our intent boomerangs on us, and we receive. I get more from helping, than I ever got from self-seeking, and living for what pleased me.

My thoughts of being too tired, of not wanting to be out too late because I have to work, or thinking this would be a good night to stay in and watch “Idol,” are thoughts that take me away from getting me out of me, and blind me to what matters in life. My wants, my plans, my desires, my, my, my…removes me from the stream of blessings God has for my life. Not feeling like it leaves me feeling separated from my purpose. Do you feel that way too? There is that possibility you have not, or maybe haven’t for a while. If you haven’t, try to find a place of usefulness in God. Better yet, ask Him to guide you to a place you can serve. Maybe your church, maybe a group, or even a 12 step program you need to be in. Please don’t say…I don’t feel like it.

I have had the same feelings regarding work. Today actually. Although I tell God and everyone else how grateful I am to have a job in these times, or anytime, my heart isn’t in it lately. My attitude stinks, my mind tells me, “you can’t keep this pace up, you’re getting too old!” I don’t feel like it. So I can go about my work day griping and complaining about the jobs, the management, fellow workers, and lunch. That is where my performance needs enhanced. I need to remember the many great blessings in life. I have sobriety, family, a home, a vehicle, clothing, food, and on and on. This is the clarifying moment of God’s bounty, the privilege of living in His grace. I can feel like it, when I don’t feel like it. I don’t have to work…I get to work.

How do people become successful? Successful people do what unsuccessful people are unwilling to do. If you want money in the bank, don’t blow you money on expensive restaurants, clothing, and unnecessities. If you want to learn about world leaders, you have to enrol in a class, you have to study. If you don’t feel like it, that’s the time to do it, the best time. Nothing in life is easy, much of life is tough, but all of life is a blessing if your eyes are on God. If you and I insist on waiting until we feel like it to do anything, very little, if anything will ever get done. Feelings are a spiritual thermometer, telling us of our need to return to doing the things we need to do to stay spiritually fit. When you get to the point that feelings cannot stop you from doing what needs to get done, you’re moving toward spiritual health and service to God.

Thanks for reading, God bless and keep you all. Keith