I am not sure about the rest of you, but my six year old son is intrigued with octopusses and also lions. He absolutely loves God's creatures and has hundreds of questions ranging from T-Rexes to dolphins. Lucklily, I am able to hold my own with him so I am not too intimidated by the childs inquiries. This past week I have been on vacation with my family and have been enjoying the solititude with my wife and kids and other family members along the way.
This morning, the teaching Pastor that is visiting from Bethel University asked a poignant question, a question that really struck a chord with me and I am wrestling through this one thoroughly. It lead me to title this entry, "Do you ever catch a lion backing down?" God created this wonderful animal. Some call the lion the King of the Jungle. C.S. Lewis referenced on of his main characters, a lion, called Aslan who has a striking identity to the Lord Jesus Christ (nice symbolism C.S Lewis). The answer, simply put, is never. Never do you see a lion backing down. The other important point is that we never saw Jesus backing down from any situation that he was put in here on earth. When he was tempted, he quoted scripture. When he was fatigued and struggling with the stress and magnitude of life, he went to prayer. When his disciples (and friends) were in need of direction and comfort, Jesus was there to comfort, encourage and urge these men to do better in life.
When Jesus was faced with the ultimate struggle, that is, to lay one's life down for his friends, he did just that. Yes, he struggled with it and yes he asked his father (in prayer) to take this burden (this cup) from him, but he never backed down from his responsibility. He prayed, to his Father, "Not my will be done, but your will..." This is what we call unbelievable grace and a guarantee that those who call Jesus Lord and Savior can be assured that no one, no thing or no power in hell can ever take us away from him.
So back to the Pastor's question, "What is the condition of your heart?" That really is a loaded question, because that can reflect negative feelings on so many different levels. For instance, do you struggle with image problems (if only I could lose 20 pounds, or lift weights more), or do you struggle with pornography (read Galatians 5 on this one), or do you struggle with bitterness, that is, has someone or some event in your life wronged you? Are you alllowing any of these things or other things affect the condition of your heart? If you are, you are letting God down!
Whoa, did I just say that? Yes I did. We are the clay and he is the potter. We are his instruments and he is the master. We are hear because he made that so. He has made each and everyone of us special and unique and we are fearfully and wonderfully made. Why do we allow the ways and things of this world detract from us and rob us of communion and fellowship with God? Why do we refuse to move closer to God (Read James) and move further to the pleasures of this world?
So what is the condition of your heart? Is their bitterness and grumbling for circumstances that you or someone else has put you in? Is there an event or a circumstance that has robbed you of this complete Joy with God? If the answer is yes, then there is a way back to this wonderful fellowship with God (I am working my way back there this week). First, pray and read God's word daily. Second, talk to God about whatever it is that is keeping the condition of your heart in a bad place and ask him to make you anew and to change you from the inside out. Thirdly, wait on Him. The Bible says, "Strength will rise to those who wait on the Lord." Finally, when you seek Him, pray to him, not my will, but your will be done.