I do a really good job of calling myself a Christian. It's a pretty easy thing to say. I get really proud of the fact that I'm a Christian. When this happens, it seems that God somehow always directs me to a passage in the Bible that knocks me off the pedestal.
Tonight, that passage was Ephesians 4:1-3: "I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace."
Paul is speaking here about Jews and Gentiles becoming one worship body, a body that God has brought together and that should work together and be united in the church of Christ.
The only calling that I'm completely aware of is the call Christ has given me to be a member of His body. I thought at one time I was vocationally called to be a teacher. Then a pastor. And for the second time, a farmer. I'm sticking with farmer, but honestly, there are many times I consider being a preacher. What I do for a living isn't really the point, I don't believe.
The point is, I'm not very good at keeping my original calling - being a follower of Christ. Not very often am I humble. I really suck at being patient. I don't always attempt to keep unity. Basically, all of the things I'm called to do, I fail at, and fail miserably.
In verses 25-32, Paul goes on to write:"Therefore each of you must put off falsehood and speak truthfully to his neighbor, for we are all members of one body. In your anger do not sin: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, and do not give the devil a foothold. He who has been stealing must steal no longer, but must work, doing something useful with his own hands, that he may have something to share with those in need. Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Get rid of all bitterness, rage, and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you."(Bold font added by me.)
Ouch. I am terrible at every single one of those things. In my deepest sinner's heart, I am a very jealous, angry, judgmental, greedy person. I say things I know I shouldn't. I know I dropped the GD a few times today. I participated in some gossip. Every time I talk to someone about farming, I end up becoming very jealous of those who have more than I have.These are huge struggles for me. I know when I do them, yet I either cannot or will not change them. I have a hard time living a life for God and living a life for me. Living God's life is not an easy thing in our world, and most of the time I forget about God's life to save my own face.
In Matthew 11:28-30, Jesus says "Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light."
I know I'm young, and some that read this might be thinking that I should quit my complaining. Maybe revisit this topic in twenty years.
I'm here to say that I am weary. I am burdened. I want to be gentle and humble. I want the rest that only Christ can grant me. I'm having a hard time letting go of my earthly wants and worries and reaching for that yoke. Do you all know what a yoke is? It's a piece of wood that is used to tie two oxen together so that they may work as one. My yoke most days is firmly in place with the world. I do what Paul says I should not - I complain, lie, curse, slander, show anger, etc. I want to be yoked with Christ. I want to work with Him, not the world. The world's yoke seems to always lean my way. I'd like to feel that yoke of Christ, the one that does not weigh me down.
I don't know how to get there. I only know that Christ is the way, not the world, so I continue to strive for His yoke. I am thankful for the celebration of His birth that is upcoming. It gives me hope to continue on.
I generally hesitate to ask for prayers. That's the Lutheran blood in me. Paul asks for prayers in chapter 6 of Ephesians, saying "Pray also for me, that whenever I open my mouth, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel for which I am an ambassador in chains. Pray that I may declare it fearlessly, as I should," (v19-20). Paul was speaking of actual chains - he was in prison when he wrote this letter. I'm chained down by the sins I commit. We are all ambassadors of the gospel. We should all declare it fearlessly, myself included. With this thought, I'm asking for your prayers. If you should take the time for me, pray whatever is in your heart, keeping in mind my struggles. I am thankful for you thoughts and prayers.
Psalm 94:19 - "When anxiety was great within me, your consolation brought joy to my soul."