Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths. Be not wise in your own eyes; fear the LORD, and turn away from evil.
Have you ever tried to stop leaning on your own understanding? It isn’t like avoiding other temptations. In many situations, you can avoid giving into temptation by avoiding the object upon which your temptation fixates. When tempted to overeat, you can set limits for yourself and avoid keeping food nearby. When tempted to look at things you know you shouldn’t look at online, you can set up content filters on your devices. But how do you avoid leaning on your own understanding when you can’t avoid your mind or heart?
How do you feel when you see others receiving blessings you feel have been denied you? What do you do when your faithfulness to the Lord is met not with granted requests but with frustrated plans and deferred hopes? Do you patiently wait upon the Lord and trust his love for you, or do you grow bitter? Do you rejoice with those who are rejoicing, or do you resent those who possess what you desire?
“I don’t have peace” may be four of the most frustrating, painful, and beautiful words you can say in the context of discerning God’s will for your life.
Over the last few years, I’ve heard a number of people emphasize the importance of self care. The idea used to be foreign to me, yet I’ve come to see that self care is a key factor in how many people schedule their time. And for good reason. Continue reading
Subtle are the seeds you sow, deceiver,
Passive possessor quietly at work
At shifting my soul’s focus till I shirk
Habits that distinguish a believer
For old futilities. You water waste
To fill the garden grounds with thorns and weeds.
In fear, I grow impatient, turn to haste.
Forgetting faith, I fall. Temptation feeds
Upon my flesh’s efforts. Travesty
Becomes me in the mire of my pursuit
When I forget my strength comes from the root
Of David, from a higher majesty
Than your false throne can feign. I will endure.
Though you assail, my advocate is sure.
Photo by Andrey Grinkevich on Unsplash
Pain oft will come, will not relent.
You may well feel your strength is spent.
Pour out to God all your lament.
Lay down all weight. Let go all sin.
Temptation comes. Refocus, then
And when you stumble, rise again.
Pleasures of life will bid you stay.
Stay focused on the narrow way.
Pass through the night to brightest day.
Photo by Linh Nguyen on Unsplash
Elusive fulfillment, promising much,
Master of anticipation and lust,
Warping a want till it feels like a must,
How many more must be crushed in your clutch?
Questioning you grows progressively more
Treacherous, for you twist my desiring
From pure motives in holy retiring
To meaner modes. I cease to see the war.
Awaken me, O Spirit. Help me hear
The still, small voice reminding me the way
To fullness is to seek a higher end.
My God, you reign. Teach me to love and fear,
To trust in your provision for this day,
And to abide in thee, most faithful friend.
Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash
Compare at your own peril, for your life
Will never measure up to what you see
In others. You will only grow in strife.
You build a prison cell though you are free.
When we compare, we only see in part.
We view another’s gain where we have naught.
We note the diff’rences but miss the art
Of walking in the Way the master taught.
O faulty vision, warped by my desire,
Look not to other men but to the Lord.
Comparison would be to me a fire,
And its destruction I cannot afford.
So fight, my soul, temptations to compare
Or else resign to living in despair.
Photo by Chad Madden on Unsplash
Might sins which seem so far removed from us
Be those which pose the greatest hidden threat?
Temptations that we never much discuss
May be o’erlooked, which leads us to forget
To strengthen our defenses ‘gainst the foes.
Imagining that we, somehow exempt
From diff’rent dangers, will not face such woes,
We look on those who struggle with contempt.
In truth, we are no better off than they,
For we all wrestle with the fallen state.
We all would perish if not for the Way.
We all need God to make our pathways straight.
So guard your heart with all humility,
Or else risk falling to futility.
I caught myself examining the theology of Ed Sheeran songs the other day. Granted, I’m pretty sure he’s not writing songs with God in mind; he seems to say as much. Even so, some of his lyrics reflect imagery and ideas found in Christianity, and I like trying to figure out what he might believe based on what he sings (for instance, I’m pretty sure he’s not a Gnostic based on “Shape of You”). Continue reading