Me-Centered Lessons

If I can save you some of the heartache and trouble of having to learn a lesson the hard way, then I'm only happy to do it. Some of us have to be smacked upside the head to learn. Hopefully, you're not one of those people and you can just read my blog, learn from my lessons, and proceed along merrily down the road. So here goes. Here are some of the lessons I've learned.
  1. Being irritated with someone or something is never a good thing. Irritation means my eyes are on me and I'm not getting what I want. Irritation is an annoyance, a slight -- not a sharp pain or a deep wounding. Irritation is me-centered.
  2. Impatience is basically just saying that I'm better than you, that my time is more important than yours. It's saying that I need what I need, and I need it now because everything revolves around me. Impatience is me-centered.
  3. Arrogance is feeling superior to someone else, expanding their shortcomings -- and then looking to me, and minimizing my own faults. It's thinking I know best and giving myself much more credit than I deserve. Arrogance is me-centered.
  4. Fear is removing God from the equation. It's looking ahead to the future -- and He's not there. It's looking around me in the present and not seeing Him anywhere. It's looking in the past and neglecting to see God's hand at work. Fear is me-centered.
  5. Unforgiveness is looking at the sin committed against me, and forgetting the sins that I have committed against my Lord. It is holding on to my right to hold a grudge or exact payment for something done against me, and refusing to see the forgiveness that God has so graciously bestowed to me. Unforgiveness is me-centered.
Notice the one thing all of those have in common? I'm sure they jumped out at you … just as they did with me as I typed them. Each one of those items above are sins. Sin is always me-centered. Sin has taken the crown from God and placed it squarely on my big, ole' fat head. Sin is pulling God down from the heavens, looking Him in the eye, and declaring mutiny.

And sometimes, God allows me to take my sin and run with it. He gives me over to my selfish desires, knowing that ultimately, those selfish desires will be the end of me. The end leads to death, to destruction, to gaining what I think I want and winding up with nothing.

Sheesh! It's how I've lived most of my life. Sin has always been, and will always be a battle as long as I live here on this earth. God knows that, and He knows me. That's why He's given me His Word, to teach me. That's why He's given me His Spirit, to open the Word to me, to reveal His truth about Himself, about me.

How I love God's Word!! How I love His Spirit who speaks to me, who breathes life to me.  How I love that even though God may give me over to my me-centered desires at times, that He may allow me to make those destructive choices, He is never far away. All it takes is a slight turn in His direction and He's there. He's there!!! He's there with His arms stretched out to me, calling me to leave that destructive me-centered prison, and come in to the God-centered freedom.

I think the most important lesson that I have learned though is the fact that even though there will always be a battle with sin, SIN HAS NO POWER OVER ME!! Yes, I'm aware I typed all of that in caps. Yes, I'm aware that typing in all caps can be considered rude and is taken to be yelling. But come on! Don't you think those words should be shouted from the mountain tops?!? I mean, seriously. That's like the best news. Ever!!

When Jesus died on the cross (for my sin) and was resurrected, He conquered the power of sin and death … not just for me, but for you! For all of us! No longer were we slaves held captive by the power of sin. That was done -- once for all. Being irritated, impatient, arrogant, fearful or unforgiving are all choices. If I'm being any of those things, it's because I'm choosing to do them. 

I can't use the excuse that it's my character … or that my environment has made me that way … or that it's someone else's fault … or I'm just responding to something that someone has done. Sin is always, always, always a choice. And many times, it's the easiest choice. It's the choice everything in me is screaming at me to make. But His Spirit whispers for me to take my eyes off of me, to remember I've been set free, and make the choice to follow Him.

Because of Jesus, because of Who He is and what He has done, I am no longer a slave. I am a daughter of the King. I have a choice. And, because of Jesus, because of Who He is and what He has done, I choose Him. I choose to live in freedom with Him. I choose to live in celebration of the lessons learned.

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