Standing at the chalk board next to the farmhouse table. I'm writing scripture on the wall. There's worship music playing in the background.
One kid takes from another kid and I glance over at the kid who took. And without warning my mouth spouts out harsh words. Why can't they just get it together and get along? The expectations are laid out clearly in this place. There's accountability, grace and love. And yet every morning is the same. Every morning I wake up to fits and tension and bickering.
I go back to the chalk board, continue to write out the Word...
"If the One, The Spirit, who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, then He who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will give life to your mortal bodies also, through the Spirit that dwells in you..."
"Will give life to your mortal bodies..." If that's really true then how do I know Christ and still feel so run by my flesh?
I'm asking the Lord these questions with earnest as I write.
Another brawl breaks out.
My heart doesn't soften, it rages and I want put the fighting kids in their room and ignore the heart work that I know needs doing in ALL of us. I rudely grab the toy from the kid who keeps stealing the toys for himself and I harshly instruct, "STOP TAKING FROM YOUR SISTER!!! For goodness sake, BE KIND!" I walk away.
Ironic. I know.
To expect the fruits of the Spirit in them, all the whileI'm choosing the flesh.
I go back to the chalkboard and continue to write...
"So brothers. We__are__debtors. But not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh. If you live according to the flesh, you will die..."
That's how I feel. Dead. Far from God. Unable to say a kind word to the treasures that I'm longing to minister to each day. I'm constantly preaching His Word to them... Reminding them to put themselves aside (Phil. 2), to speak words that make souls stronger (Eph. 4:29),
It is one thing to preach... it is another to LIVE what one preaches.
I keep writing on the wall...
"BUT, if by the Spirit, you put to death the deeds of the body, you__will__live!"
"If by the Spirit." That's the thing, in my own flesh, I'm failing. I'm not living what I long to live. I keep forgetting that, "Apart from Christ, I can do nothing." (John 15:5)
We live in a world that makes so many choices based on feelings. And what I'm coming to realize is that Christ is a constant choice (not a feeling) that I have to continue to choose, despite what I may be feeling on any given day. The steadfastness and truth of His Word doesn't change because of what I feel.
Christ is either good, or He's not. He's either faithful or He's not. And His Word is either true or it's not.
None of these things shift simply because I'm struggling through a day.
Today as we began another week, I feel far from the Lord, entangled in my own sin, feeding the flesh more often than I'm listening to the Spirit.
My eyes keep scanning the pages and they fall on these glorious words...
"What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies. Who then is the one who condemns? No one. Christ Jesus who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? As it is written:
“For your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.”
No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord." (Romans 8)
On the hardest of days, there is always, always truth to stand on. For nothing, can separate us from the unfathomable love of Christ. Nothing. Not one thing. Not my mistakes or my short temper. Not even my yuckiest sin days. Nothing.
I put down my chalk and walk over to the kid who's sitting heart-broken over his Mama's tone on the step leading into the sunroom. I get down low, look into his eyes, apologize for my harsh words. I ask the boy for forgiveness.
Confession and humility bring a fresh start and him and I, we begin the day again, and move forward with the help of the One who promises to always be our help in time of need..
Which in this house__ is all_day_long.