In my last post I shared the great and glorious truth that I’m learning in Romans, but today I think it’s time for a different kind of truth.
I’m rebellious. Really rebellious.
I came on staff at a church over 5 years ago and I found myself face to face with more rules than I liked. I rebelled. It got to the point where I would be told to bow my head in prayer, and I would feel resistance in my heart. To praying. I’m insane.
And I have thought these past five years that – sure, I’m a sinner – but also, I’m just the kind of personality type that doesn’t respond well to that kind of ‘rule’. I don’t respond to rules.
I thought to myself: that’s just who I am.
But these past weeks in Romans God has spoken clearly through His Word. That’s not a personality trait. That’s sin. That’s my flesh.
So today I’m repenting. I’m repenting for the ways I’ve blamed ‘rules’ for my rebellion. I’m repenting for the ways I’ve asked my community to navigate around commandments when communicating with me because I don’t ‘respond well’.
I’m repenting because it’s not okay to walk by the flesh when Jesus paid such a huge price to make it so I could walk by the Spirit.
And I’m sharing this with all of you because I want you to know that all of this leaves me with two overwhelming feelings: (1) sadness over my sin (2) joy that God is real and He speaks through His Word.
To hear from Him has been a process. I didn’t just open to Romans and read it once and feel the weight and truth of the Scripture pressing down on me. I’ve been in this book for months. I have the words of Paul’s letter running around my head over and over. I listen to it while I drive. I roll up my sleeves and dig, examining sentence structure and word choice and observing over and over again.
I have been following the command to think hard because I want to have understanding:
And every now and again the world around me gets quiet, and in the dirt and messiness of grammar and boredom and frustration, the words line up and come together and God speaks. He speaks through the pages of this book – through the intentions He placed in a man’s heart thousands of years ago. And by His Spirit I hear and understand.
It doesn’t happen that way regardless of all my thinking, but through my thinking:
Think over what I say, for the Lord will give you understanding in everything.
(2 Timothy 2:7 ESV)
It’s not elegant. It’s not like Moses, who had the burning bush, and it’s not like Joseph who had great dreams. It’s messy. It’s common place stuff (like dissecting words and sentences) through which God speaks these days.
But I guess that makes sense.
Because it’s December. And in December we remember one very common place, messy and dirty stable. Jesus wasn’t one for glitz. He didn’t show up on a cloud, shiny and clear. His glory was hidden underneath the dirt of the wrapping of human flesh.
I love Him. And I’m near Him right now. And that’s all. Fabs, signing off.