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Friday, May 17, 2013

Use the peephole!

We all have various people knock on our door, or ring the doorbell.  Sometimes it is a much awaited delivery of something we have ordered and anticipated with much excitement.  At others, it is simply a nuisance, such as when it is a salesperson trying to get you to sign up for a year's worth of car washes.  Maybe it is a friend, unexpectedly stopping by, hoping to catch up with you over a cup of coffee.  Some of these knocks get answered with more gusto than others, right?  Perhaps you have a little "peephole" in your door like I do.  When you glance through and see someone standing there with their list of magazines to subscribe to, you might be tempted to not even open the door, right?  Whoever invented the "peephole" had a brilliant idea!  Whoever invented the window alongside my front door - no so brilliant!  It is hard not to answer when someone can see me looking through the peephole!  I wonder just how many times we open our doors emotionally or spiritually to things we might not be too thrilled to welcome?

Oh, that my steps might be steady, keeping to the course you set; then I’d never have any regrets in comparing my life with your counsel.  (Psalm 119:5-6 MSG)

There are two pesky visitors to our emotional and spiritual "doors" which we should always avoid answering the door to - regret and defeat.  The use of a tiny peephole might help us avoid opening the door - but when we have a full view of through the window at the side of the door, there really is no excuse for us opening the door!  Regret knocks frequently on our emotional door.  In the most literal sense, anytime we open the door and welcome in Regret we are opening the door to his companions - Sorrow, Dissatisfaction, Disappointment, and Resentment.  Whenever we open the door and welcome in Defeat through our spiritual door, we are are also opening the door to his companions - Frustration, Embarrassment, and Shame.  Unfortunately, neither of these "visitors" to our doors comes alone - they bring companions every time!

Regret, the leader of the "Downer Gang", comes a knockin' anytime we make decisions without thinking, often as a result of just responding to an emotion we might have.  The "impulsiveness" of us opening the "emotional" door in the first place is part of the problem.  We need to learn how to use the "peephole" we have been given - the Word of God tucked away in our minds, recalled for us by the Holy Spirit when we hear the knock on the door.  For instance, anger is a knockin', we are about to place our hand on the deadbolt of our emotion-door, and we hear the reminder to turn the other cheek, or to take the log out of our own eye before we go after the splinter in another's.  This is the Holy Spirit bringing to remembrance some portion of scripture we have become familiar with in the past - giving us a small window into what our response to Regret and his Downer Gang should be.  If we don't ever use the peephole, we can open up to all kinds of messy business!

Defeat, the leader of the "Demolition Derby", comes a knockin' anytime we "try" something new and find ourselves in the midst of failure.  The key word is "we" and the key action word is "try".  Whenever WE try anything on our own, we often fail, and failure invites the Demolition Derby and Defeat squarely into our living space!  So, what "peephole" actually is available to protect us from this invading force?  I think we are given insight into this one with the scriptures such as, "With God all things are possible", or perhaps even, "Seek first the Kingdom of God".  The truth is, we cannot live the life of an overcomer if we are always being overcome!  To change this, we have to change our perspective - from US changing the world within US to God changing US so we can change the world.  Failure is not an option with God - it is only an option when we are trusting in our own abilities.  Anytime we open the door to God's grace and leading, we are stepping into his victory.  We are no longer dependent upon our potential, but upon the potential he has already demonstrated on our behalf through the life, death, and resurrection of his Son, Jesus.

Regret and Defeat are two "companions" we have welcomed way too long into our lives.  For some, it is time to do some "house-cleaning" and evict these pesky varmints!  It is time to make an end to their destructive and debilitating presence in our lives.  How do we do this?  The same way they came in!  If we welcomed them in through our emotional door, they exit the same door - with the help of the Holy Spirit, we can clean house!  No one is better at helping us monitor our emotions better than he is - it is like having a home security system in our minds!  If we welcomed them in through our spiritual door, they exit the same way they came - with the oversight and protection of the Holy Spirit.  He is the one to remind us we fight not TOWARD a position of victory, but FROM a position of victory - we are just driving back the forces who seek to invade the territory which has already been declared to be ours!

So, I don't know who has been a knockin' on your emotional or spiritual doors this week, but it is up to you to use the peephole you have been given!  Learn to look first and you might just welcome a whole lot less in!  Just sayin!