Sunday, February 22, 2009
O to grace how great a debtor
Daily I’m constrained to be!
Let Thy goodness, like a fetter,
Bind my wandering heart to Thee.
Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it,
Prone to leave the God I love;
Here’s my heart, O take and seal it,
Seal it for Thy courts above.
I can't begin to describe how great church was today. It was an unusual service, Preach walked through this song - we talked about a verse and then sang it, yes one song over and over for 90 minutes. At first I thought it was going to be another gimmicky service that I would barely be able to tolerate, I was mistaken. Most of the sermon centered around Ephesians 2. You should read it right now - seriously - right now. What changed my mind about how the service would go was when preach got all emotional during reading that scripture. You have to understand that I love preach like I love few other people, he's not just my pastor he's one of my closest friends. Has been since high school. He's a couple months younger than me and in league with the most impressive men I've ever known. Preach has more depth for me than any other pastor I've sat under because I've seen him walk what he preaches. I've had the chance to do life with him and he has voice with me because he's earned it, not just because he has a title. I love him, so when he gets like he got today it moves me.
The entire service became an emotional and intense experience, but it nothing struck me as new and life changing until right at the end. We had finished Ephesians 2 and almost as a formality started going over the last verse, the one I have here. One of the things I like least about myself is just that: I'm prone to wander. I do things I despise, I fail in ways that seem almost intentional. I often feel like I'm sabotaging my spiritual life. I don't understand it, but it seems I can't help but take gradual little steps away from the Father. I despise it, I despise myself for it. Preach was talking about this tendency in himself and he said that he hates it.
That's it. Something about the way he bit into the word hate struck me. He really hates it. I do to, I hate it more that I can describe. I makes me sick. I've never really been able to separate myself form it and so there's always been this undertone of self loathing in my life. I know I wander and I know it's giving in to that tendency that's created or aggravated all the pain and darkness in my life. I know all the spirit vs. flesh arguments and the conflict between the already and the not yet, but nothing I've heard or read has allowed me to be able to separate from this part of myself. Satan has had a foothold in my life for a long time because of it. I've allowed him to use this to bathe me in guilt and shame. There was nothing I could do to shake the feeling that I deserved what I was getting. I've often felt there was no point in moving back towards God because I would eventually just wander off again. That lead into feeling like God thought the same way. It became difficult or impossible to believe that he would actually pursue me, what's the point. I'm that stupid dog that doesn't understand the fence is there to keep him home, where he's safe, and has to escape and run away. I mean, how many time do you bring him back. It's exhausting. Eventually everybody gets rid of that dog, or he gets run over. I prefer run over to given away.
Anyway, I couldn't separate from whatever it is in me that tends to wander and so I carried the same and guilt that goes with it. You can't carry those things and fully embrace the grace God offers. It doesn't feel right to allow His goodness to bind my heart to His carrying that disgusting shit. In that position I couldn't fully understand or the grasp the weight of the gospel. The moment preach said the word hate like that something in me changed. I wish so much I could explain what it felt like. I don't know how to describe it, but in that moment God moved, and that part of me was walled off and for the first time I saw it for what it is. I don't know, I've done a lot of confessing - I've begged for forgiveness, but today was the first time in my life I've felt free of guilt and shame - completely covered by grace.
Preach spoke of a season when God brought him into full understanding of the Gospel. I think today was my spring. All the pain and darkness of the last seven years were building to that moment today. I don't think I've arrived spiritually or anything stupid like that, I just feel like I might finally be in the game. I think for the first time I really understand what taking up my cross looks like. Call it my flesh or sin nature or whatever, for the first time I've identified it. I hate it and, with God's help, I will kill it. Tomorrow I'll probably have to kill it again. Daily I'll die - safely to arrive at home.