Recently I have been reading, Living on the Edge, by Chip Ingram. This book has many great insights on how a mature Christian should live their lives. Here is an excerpt from my reading today. The topic is authenticity.
“When I have to hidden sin in my life, the real me can’t show up because I’m hiding something, I have to pretend.
So many of us unknowingly ask the wrong questions when it comes to the issue of sin. The questions so many are asking are, “How close can I get to sin without without crossing the line? What rating does a movie have to have so I can watch it without committing a sin? How much can I drink before it’s a sin? How much money can I have before it’s considered greed? How far can we go in this relationship before it’s called sexual immorality? How much can we bend the truth or spin the story before it’s a lie?” We all so this to some degree and it results in Christians who continue to cross lines and cross boundaries that violate their consciences. Once these patterns develop, little private sins begin to take on a life of their own in the secret compartments of our hears. No one knows about them and it takes an enormous amount of energy to keep them hidden. The problem is that sin does not only impact us privately, but every unresolved issue before God will affect others because we are a spiritual, living organism; we”belong to one another” (Romans 12:5).
So her’s how it gets played out in real life. As you meet with a group of fellow believers or with a close friend in Christ and begin to pray and talk about deep issues of the heart, you don’t share what’s really going on because there are areas in your life and your heart that must remain hidden. And so you begin to wear a mask. You begin to pretend. And the grace of God and the power of authentic community are not available to you, nor do you give this power to others. Relationships become more and more superficial, filled with Christian cliche’s and religious jargon. Your soul shrinks and the guilt rises. After a while you find you don’t want to be around committed believers, hear God’s word, or participate in activities that force you to confront your hypocrisy. Loneliness and isolation become your silent partners, while God longs for you to come home, come clean, and be restored.”
As I reflect on the events of this morning (Dorothy Shells Funeral) I am even more convinced than ever that we really need to enjoy life. We need to love people and quit being so critical of others….even if we don’t agree with their point of view. Life here on earth is so short and I think we waste a lot of it being something other than what God created us to be. “Father help us to love you and to love each other as you love us.” This is what I want to do with my life.
As of late I have been noticing the signs of age creeping upon me. It is harder to lose weight, more and more gray hair springing up and I noticed how old my children are getting when I looked at a framed collage of pictures that are hanging on the wall in my office. When I was younger I would hear people in their 30’s and 40’s warn me to cherish the years that I have as a young person and to spend as much time with my family (specially my children) as I possibly could. I must admit that I thought that these people were just old and looney. However, now I can see the wisdom in what they were saying. Cherish the time you have here on earth with your loved ones. Each moment is special. The circumstances in life change quickly and you will never have the exact make-up of space, time, people, atmosphere, and spirit that happens in that exact “frame” in life. These frames make up seasons in life that fade just as the season in nature. So cherish each moment. Cherish each hardship, each celebration, each milestone, each situation that gives you that gray hair. The collection of these moments…..these gray hairs, give you the “crown of splendor” talked about in Proverbs 16:31.
Today, I really feel old. Not nessarily because I can look in the mirror and see my hair is retreating from my head or because I have aches and pains in places I didn’t even know existed on my body. Today I feel old because I have been thinking about my little girl. Well she isn’t so little any more. Allie is 18 and moving away to Alaska. I can remember when she was 9 and we had the conversation about the “birds and the bees”. She said, “ewwwww” I will never grow up and get married. I am going to stay with you my whole life. Boy how life changes. I guess I am not as ready as I thought I would be to let my Children grow up and move away. I sure hope it gets easier.