Checking back in after a few days without a chance to write.
Here’s my summary of the last three days’ obedience:
Thursday breakfast: Went fine.
Thursday lunch: I also managed to obey, barely.
Thursday tea: Messed up. Went overboard, ate too much.
Friday breakfast: Had a coffee though I knew I was called to fast. Afterwards I knew I’d done the wrong thing.
Friday lunch: …and yet I went against His leading again and ate a meal.
Friday tea: Again, I ate. Once home I decided to trust God, though, and said no to temptation.
Today breakfast: Totally overate, and allowed lust to drive.
Today lunch: Managed to avoid the usual weekly temptation (afternoon tea) at the class I teach at on Saturday afternoons.
Today tea: Went OK… but then I got home and bailed on following my conscience, and overate.
I feel so lonely and awful now.
And it stings a little to say it, but I know I need to forgive myself now. It stings because I knew I was doing the wrong thing. I was abusing grace.
Of course, in all of this, it isn’t merely about not committing the act. Something larger is going on here – the need to walk out repentance, “produce fruit in keeping with repentance”. I can avoid the act of sin and still not have actually repented. What Jesus wants is a new heart, a renewed relationship with me. “It doesn’t matter whether we have been circumcised or not. What counts is whether we have been transformed into a new creation” (Galatians 6:15 NLT). I can approach this as “to do or not to do” — as if the only thing that matters is perfect behaviour. Or I can approach this as an opportunity to trust God, and then to ‘vote with my feet’ — put legs to that trust. Outward obedience without inward transformation has God yawning in boredom, I think. But He’s heaps keen for fellowship! I know the problem here isn’t merely unhealthy eating — the real problem is that I love something else more than God, and don’t yield to Him as King, or trust Him in this area.
But there’s a key in there. Have I been “transformed into a new creation”? Yes, I have. So this isn’t merely power of positive thinking type stuff: if I believe the truth and get revelation of the truth, I am connected to a heavenly reality. It’s more than just an attitude shift in me. I believe this — and yet I haven’t seen it manifest in my life in the way I want to. I need to see myself according to what is actually true about me, what heaven says about me.
I’ve been considering making a covenant with God about this, but I don’t know if I should, because I honestly don’t know if I’ll actually follow through with it. It’s hard for me to trust myself, given my track record and the attitude of heart I can so easily slip into.
“It is a trap to dedicate something rashly and only later to consider one’s vows” (Proverbs 20:25 NIV).
“When you make a vow to God, do not delay to fulfill it. He has no pleasure in fools; fulfill your vow. It is better not to make a vow than to make one and not fulfill it. Do not let your mouth lead you into sin. And do not protest to the temple messenger, ‘My vow was a mistake.’ Why should God be angry at what you say and destroy the work of your hands?” (Ecclesiastes 5:4-6 NIV)