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Friday, July 25, 2014

Dethroned

Some of you know that Psalm 42 is pretty much my salvation chapter.  It was the thorn in my side, stabbing the contentment right out of me, using pain to open my eyes to the lies I was listening to.  Over and over I read the first five verses, trying to figure out why they pricked me.

"As the deer pants for streams of water, 
so my soul pants for you, my God.  
My soul thirsts for God, for the living God.  
When can I go and meet with God?  
My tears have been my food day and night, while people say to me all day long, 
'Where is your God?'
These things I remember as I pour out my soul:
 how I used to go to the house of God 
under the protection of the Mighty One
with shouts of joy and praise among the festive throng.
Why, my soul, are you downcast? 
Why so disturbed within me?
Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him,
my Savior and my God."

That was when I realized I was listening to the lies of the devil, "You're good enough"; "You're going to church and answer everything right in Sunday School; that's enough"; "You have good morals, you don't need to be reading your Bible outside of church".  This was three years ago at a Student Life conference.  There, I was challenged with the concept of being devoted to God, something that I'd never attempted.  Through the entire week, I  struggled with feeling discontented with my spiritual life, as well as feeling the weight of the lies on my life.  It wasn't until the last worship session--the morning we left--that I made the immediate, somewhat spontaneous, decision to let Christ hold my life.  This was honestly the third time I'd "accepted" Christ, but the first time I'd done so with an unselfish reason.  I didn't know how to do this whole "devoted" thing, but I wanted it more than anything.

I still don't know how to do it.  It's a daily struggle, to devote my life to Christ.  I knew that going into it, but it never really clicked until last night.  I shared my salvation story and these verses with one of my closest friends a couple days ago, and it stuck with me differently than it had the previous times I told the story.  I kind of pushed it away through the day, not wanting to focus on the nagging feeling.  I just wanted to enjoy the day.

But on the drive home alone later that night, dozens of thoughts began bouncing off the walls of my brain.  Now, this is pretty typical of me, but these were more overwhelming thoughts than usual.  I realized that I was starting to revert back to the excuses I'd given into in high school.

Some of you know how lately I've been feeling more driven to God and the Bible, wanting to know Him more.  So why am I still going back to simply being content with my spiritual life?  Because of excuses.  I am the queen of rationalizing.  I give a solid argument (well, I think it's solid...probably wouldn't hold up in any court) for almost any side of any problem I've faced.  But when it comes to God and the Bible, the queen needs to step down from her throne and bow down to the King of kings, no matter what.  I am the deer; I pant for God, yet I don't put forth the effort that I should.  I can't live a life of excuses.  A life of excuses is not worth living.  Now don't get all freaked out on me.  I am not saying that if you're living a life of excuses that you should take your life.  What I mean is you need to end the excuses, not your life.  Excuses keep you from growing in your faith and shining the light of Christ.  Excuses hold you down like shackles.  And if anyone knows me, I hate being held down.

So this is me, again, saying enough of the excuses.  I don't want to live that way.  I want Christ to permeate my entire life, my being, my words, my glances, my everything.  This isn't going to be the only time I do this.  I forget that most of all, that I daily have to wake up saying, "Today, God, I devote my life to you.  Do with me as you will."

So what about you?  Do you hold onto your excuses?  Do you like being a prisoner to them?  I challenge you today to look at how you're living your life.  If you're using excuses for remaining where you are, push them away.  You have potential to do amazing things, but you'll never get there if you don't take the time and put forth the effort to be better than you are.  You are amazing and beautiful and powerful even now; think of how much more you will be if you get rid of the excuses.

Will you stand dethroned with me?

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