Saturday, April 5, 2008

From the Backseat #4 "Old"

As we drove down Vickery for the gazillionth time last week, Julia was reviewing her verses. Since the car—and God—seem to be our only constant during this season, it seems to be the best time for review. When Julia asked Jesus into her heart one of the verses we taught her, as most parents do, was II Corinthians 5:17, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone and the new has come!” A dear friend even made a special trip to our home days after Julia’s “new” life began with a hand made tiny glittered butterfly with the special verse from II Corinthians, which is now forever hidden in our daughter’s heart. Last week after she quoted it, she sat quietly and didn’t move on to the next verse. Finally, she spoke up and said, “Momma, I’ve still got some old in my heart.” In less than 10 words, she had expressed the primary struggle of my 20 some odd years of trying to walk with Christ. "Old"- a four letter word with only three letters.

Putting this infamous battle between the old and the new, the flesh and the Spirit into words is important to me. It can seem so nebulous at times but other times, there is nothing more “in your face” REAL. If I have the Holy Spirit within me, why in the world do I snap at my kids so often? Respond disrespectfully to Jeff? Fight to get my own way? My sins are as consistent as the tide but yet, the “fruit” from Galatians 5 is hit or miss with me. It grieves me that I cannot say to my children, “You may watch Momma today and you will see an example of what it means to ‘walk in the Spirit’. Do as I do. Respond how I respond, children.” At this point, they would be utterly confused and in need of counseling at an early age. However, I can say I have been the “poster parent” for confession and repentance. I make lots of opportunities for that around here.

There is a book that has popped up in our last 3 homes from time to time. Jeff would read it and tell me how great it was. I would begin and then a few years later he would read it again and tell me about it. I would start again, not knowing when I actually stopped reading it. I would love what I read so I have no idea why I never finished it. We’ve always had several copies for Jeff to give away so these books really have just appeared out of nowhere while moving or just straightening up the house and putting things away. Well, in January this year, Jeff read Absolute Surrender by Andrew Murray again. He and his staff are going through it together as well as our small group from Christ Chapel. I was determined from the beginning to finish it this time and I can’t tell you how delighted I am. The late Mr. Murray has put words to this exhausting struggle and to my relief, words to the daily or rather moment to moment victory.

My favorite chapter is chapter 5 which is simply entitled, “Impossible with Man, Possible with God” from Luke 18:27. It would not be right to attempt to sum up this jewel of a book, because one, it is short enough and two, there is just too much that is of value. I will share a few quotes and hopefully whet your appetite enough for you to purchase this classic for yourself.

“Let us receive this as the first great lesson in the spiritual life: ‘It is impossible for me, my God; let there be an end of the flesh and all its powers, an end of self, and let it be my glory to be helpless.”

“The cause of the weakness of your Christian life is that you want to work it out partly, and to let God help you. And that cannot be.”

“If you felt you could not do it, you are on the right road, if you let yourselves be led. Accept that position, and maintain it before God: ‘My heart’s desire and delight, O God, is absolute surrender, but I cannot perform it. It is impossible for me to live that life. It is beyond me.’ Fall down and learn that when you are utterly helpless, God will come to work in you not only to will, but also to do.” (Sound familiar? Every page is infused with His Word.)

(I am having trouble picking just a few…)

“A good many Christians are living a low life, a life of failure and sin, instead of rest and victory, because they begin to see: ‘I cannot, it is impossible.’ And yet they do not understand it fully, and so, under the impression, ‘I cannot’, they give way to despair. They will do their best, but they never expect to get on very far.”

“Do believe that when He takes charge of you in Christ, it is possible for God to make you a man of absolute surrender. And God is able to maintain that. He is able to let you rise from bed every morning of the week with that blessed thought, directly or indirectly: “I am in God’s charge. My God is working out my life for me.”

There is obviously no “heavenly formula”. If there were such a ludicrous thing, I think a key element before the equal sign would be a big “minus SELF”. Through the years, I have felt this to be such a tiresome struggle but I believe it does not have to be. I know how days go when it is my sole pitiful effort—not a pretty picture or a fun house in which to live. By His grace, I also know how they go when it is His Spirit carrying me through the day. Night and Day. Law and Grace. Appalling and Beautiful. Chaos and Peace. Harsh and Gentle. Dark and Light.

Hopefully as Julia and I dialog about this “old in my heart” over the years, I pray our hearts open even more to the Holy Spirit’s leading in this. To let that happen, I see a need for me to learn to like the thought of being utterly helpless, to enjoy knowing I am not in control, and to love the smell of carpet in my nose. My flesh versus His Spirit.


"Bluebonnet in the snow" said...

Amazing, Friend. I am learning so much from you and Miss Julia. Please let her know that she is a great teacher.

ElderChild said...

The "I" Must Die!

In as much as i can 'see',
That which is of the 'I' in me,

So it is i yearn, and to Our Father cry,
For deliverance from all that is of the 'I'.

The 'I', born of "imag"ination and selfish desire,
As lust, greed, and pride, stoked a consuming fire ;-(

A fire burning out of control, as 'I' leads the way,
It's smoke concealing the fleshly minded lies that lead one astray ;-(

Yet even in the smoke, searing heat, and blindness of 'sight',
Truth can pierce the blackness of darkness, revealing "The Light" ;-)

And nothing can hide from "The Light", so "Light" reveals the "I",
Allowing one to "see" clearly, and clearly the "I" must die!

But to live, yet die, seems an impossible task,
And so we need of "Our Father", the impossible to ask.

Help me to "deny myself(die to self)(die to 'I')" Father!

And as HE Helps, HE reveals more and more of "The Selfless One",
The One Who leads His Brethren on "The Way to The Truth of The Life".

He Who was, and is The Messiah, The Son of The Living Elohim!

And as The Messiah desired above all else, so also will His Brethren desire,

"Father(Creator), not my will, But THY Will Be Done"!

And while there is breath(spirit) there is hope many will "see",
"see" The "I" for what it is, and then desire to be set free!

"And that Spirit that was in The Messiah shall set you free", "free indeed"!

So, There Is Hope!

For Miracles do happen!

Hope is there would be those who experience The Miracle that is receiving
"a love of The Truth" for they will "see" Reality and "see" that Life is of The
Spirit( not seen with the natural eye), not of the flesh or fleshly mind!

Peace, in spite of the dis-ease(religion) that is of this world....... francisco

Madison Richards said...

It is indeed our primary struggle. Old vs. new; earthly thinking vs. heavenly thinking...

Don't worry. God didn't ask us to be perfect parents, only perfect examples. Admitting our inevitable shortcomings and being honest about our very real struggles while following Him is all part of the package. Our kids love that we're flawed, and yet we walk anyway.

Believe me, they will love you more for your ability to be 'real' than if you had set up some unreachable goal of attaining absolute perfection! You're doing great!!

spaghettipie said...

Krista, this is absolutely the reason I walk away from every encounter with you (even if it's only 30 seconds!) encouraged and inspired. Your sweet daughter would never be able to recognize the "old" still in her heart if it weren't for you and Jeff and the infusion of the Holy Spirit throughout your home and your lives. I hope my little one has the same insight at such a young age.

Dondra said...

I have to agree with spagettipie! What an encouragement you are Krista!

Erica said...

I am loving reading about your family. I was introduced to your site by Susie. She knew I would be encouraged and inspired by the way you tenderly care for your little ones. I also plan to homeschool and am loving the ideas you have presented. You have an amazing way with words and have inspired me to work on my own blog. My site is:
Have a blessed day!

Kathie said...

Mankinds BIGGEST problem is valuing self and the creation over the CREATOR. Praise God that He sent Jesus to bridge the GAP. Thanks for sharing your heart.
Love you, Kath

TJ Wilson said...

K - carpet in your nose, huh? love this, love J's comment and that you grabbed hold of it. your learning is used to sharpen many, friend. great, great post.