Friday, August 9, 2013

Lead or Feathers

Have you ever been asked the question: Which is heavier, a pound of lead or a pound of feathers?  And of course the intent of the question is to trick you into saying lead is heavier.  When in reality we all know, a pound of anything is still a pound.  Right?

This will be short I promise.

I ponder that question because pain, burden, loss, betrayal, or even entangling sin (Hebrews 12:1), tends to weigh upon a person.  And from a distance it’s easy to criticize one who is laboring under that kind of weight.  We would look upon their situation and say something like; “Well it’s only a bunch of feathers!”  Versus our shared (yet ignorant) recognition that lead is heavy and surely all of us would crumple under its burdensome weight.  But feathers?  Aren’t they lighter than lead?

Let me tell you.  A pound of feathers and a pound of lead; are still a pound.  They are still the same weight regardless of how they look from a distance.  One can only know the true gravity pull of a pound, by actually bearing such a weight.  And that is my point.

Christ alone is able to look at all the nuances of a burden borne by the broken hearted (Psalm 34:18; Isaiah 61:1-3; Matthew 11:28) and not stand in judgment.  For each of us tends to make all things relative to our own experience, yet that allows for no understanding or empathy to the one who is close to that breaking point; regardless if the weight be Lead or Feathers.

Let me encourage you this hour.  Never look upon someone else’s burden and say that it doesn’t appear to be that heavy.  Because a pound is a pound; be it Lead or Feathers.  Pain is pain, burden is burden, loss or betrayal and even entangling sin are all part of the weight humanity tries to carry, all the while attempting to look like it’s an easy load.  Yet unless we come to Christ, who promises to take the crushing load off our backs, we live with nothing less than the equivalent weight of Lead or Feathers.  A pound is still a pound.

Keep that in mind the next time you mentally judge someone who is close to breaking under the weight of a pound of feathers.  All the while thinking; "It’s not that bad, it’s only feathers... right?"

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Discipline VS Devotion

I barely recollect the first time I heard the word governor used outside of state politics.  It was an early on in life conversation with a friend about a go-cart motor we had bolted on a rusty old frame.  We wanted the thing to be fast (dangerous) but just couldn’t get much more out of it, until it was suggested that we take off the governor.  That would allow us to run that bad boy all the way to red line.

I can’t remember if we blew the engine, but we took some part off the motor and indeed it went much faster.  Curious and fun is how I remember those early years.

This morning I was considering my faith journey.  For many years I believed I was compelled to growth in the Lord because of my devout heart and understanding as to what God had done for me.  Yet in recent months and through various pains and trials, I’ve been awakened to the fact that I may have been fooling myself all along.

Let me add a disclaimer:  I believe discipline is critical, necessary, and actually the ninth Fruit of the Spirit.  Therefore in no way am I rejecting its importance to our lives.

But what I am considering these days is this.  I may have misinterpreted my own disciplines as true heart devotion, when in reality they weren’t.  I may have acted in a “discipleship” manner toward the things of God, with the intent of personal growth and availability for the Master’s use, all the while believing I did so out of devotion to God.  Yet in reality using those spiritual disciplines as though they were talismans that gave me favor with God and power over the enemy or obstacles I may face on my journey towards my own desires.

I’ve really been taking a deep look at my life and ministry motivations.  Not to say they’ve been sinful or misguided, but if my hypothesis is correct, my life has been governed by attempts at Discipline Versus Devotion.  All the while believing I was devoted, yet in reality I may have been trying to work my evangelical magic through a self-efforts mentality.

Please don’t miss what I’m saying.  I believe I have a measure of devotion to God.  But I further believe that I have unwittingly operated with the idea that if I “do” certain Christian or biblical things, then I should “get” certain results or rewards.  Never believing that my salvation was predicated upon my works, but ever living as if doing “gets” me more stuff and good feelings from God.  All of which is bearing out to be quite a painful fallacy.

I pray to learn this lesson: That my spiritual disciplines are not exercised because they “get” me something, but because I love the Lord and am devoted wholly to Him.  God forgive me for living my Christian life with a misplaced governor of spiritual disciplines upon all I do and say.  May I with His help; remove this governor of perceived good works, done without true devotion to Him and nothing less.

“Lord, please root-out my core motives that are based upon lies I believe to be true.  And free me by your truth that I may fulfill the rest of my days by devotion alone.  And as you work in me, remove and keep at bay that governor of false Discipline Versus Devotion.  For by that fallacy I’ve kept myself from being all you created me to be.  In Jesus name I pray.  Amen.”