Monday, March 07, 2005

Forty-Day Immersion: Day 20

The world is unprincipled. It’s dog-eat-dog out there! The world doesn’t fight fair. But we don’t live or fight our battles that way - never have and never will. 10:4 The tools of our trade aren’t for marketing or manipulation, but they are for demolishing that entire massively corrupt culture. 10:5 We use our powerful God-tools for smashing warped philosophies, tearing down barriers erected against the truth of God, fitting every loose thought and emotion and impulse into the structure of life shaped by Christ. 10:6 Our tools are ready at hand for clearing the ground of every obstruction and building lives of obedience into maturity. 2 Corinthians 10:3-6, The Message

Day 20

If we have to clear the ground of obstructions, is there a way to keep those same obstructions from reoccurring?

Stick with me for a minute – I think most of the obstructions that remain in the way of a solid and joyful life are self-built and self-abandoned. And if they are self-built, they have to be self-demolished.

Can they be demolished by our own effort? I doubt it. I think they can be covered over and buried by us, like a sort of spiritual landfill. But like a lot of landfills, there is always a degree of instability and the lingering scent of toxic waste.

Toxic for a landfill. Toxic for a life.

Do we face it, dig it out and destroy it, or do we cover it over, over and over, and make a landfill mountain from all of our discarded attempts at personal reformation?

I guess it depends on how free I want to be. I can have the freedom of the moment or I can have freedom from the after-effects of all of the past obstructions that are piled up around me.

There is a mental/emotional disorder that prevents some people from throwing things away. The things they hold on to pile higher, take up every flat space, eventually leaving the person with a home so filled with stuff that there is very little room to move about. A couple not far from where I used to live a few years ago suffered from this, and the poor man died in a house fire because the fire fighters couldn’t get through all of the stuff to save him. He died in a landfill of his own possessions – possessions that those not suffering from the disorder would have discarded.

Our landfill is there, too, just not as readily seen or as socially unacceptable.

Our lives can be piled high with old resentments and hurts. We can give all the painful details - the names, the places, and the words that were said. Years worth, even decades of decaying encounters stack higher and wider in our memories until our emotional space becomes increasingly choked and we jam ourselves into the narrow passageways of our lives – but there is not much room for anyone or anything else.

If we don’t get burned up in it, we still have a high probability of being burned out by it.

Freedom of the moment only last until something triggers the old memory, and then I become its prisoner again.

Freedom from the aftereffects requires me to dig out all the junk and really throw it away, not just pile it up off in some farther away corner of my mind.

Everything we bury actually buries us, and a little deeper down, every time.

If we choose to live in the power of the Resurrection, then everything that buried us is destroyed. Christ can do it, will do it – but will we take His power and live in victory over the past obstructions, or will we settle for walking around the piles?

Landfill living isn’t living. Its merely surviving, and hoping that the next time we get lost in the clutter that it won’t cost so much in emotional and spiritual energy to dig our way loose again as it had before. The truth is the price goes up, every time. Garbage in our lives has an escalating storage fee.

Being free from obstructions doesn’t mean just pushing them somewhere else. It means turning them over to Jesus and allowing Him to dispose of them, because He is the only One who can come in contact with that kind of toxic waste and not be poisoned by it. He is the only One who can destroy it and restore the land - and life - where it once was.

Be free. Its time.

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