Monday, January 25, 2016

Brick or glass - you decide

There are times in this life when it just will seem there is absolutely NO way of escape - times when it just seems like no matter how hard you try, the thing you are running from will catch up with you and you will be overtaken.  We all face those moments, no matter how sophisticated, "deep", or "spiritual" we might appear.  If we were more honest with each other, we might not feel so bad about the times when we just don't "do as we should", even when we "knew better". We do a disservice to each other to never show our failure to others - for it is by failure we have an opportunity to learn from not only the thing we failed at, but from what others have experienced in the same circumstances.

Any temptation you face will be nothing new. But God is faithful, and He will not let you be tempted beyond what you can handle. But He always provides a way of escape so that you will be able to endure and keep moving forward. (I Corinthians 10:13 VOICE)

I like what Paul writes to the Corinthian church about temptation and learning from the examples we have which are recorded for us throughout scripture.  He reminds them (and US) of the times the "forefathers" of their faith had failed miserably - from times when they complained bitterly about their circumstances, to the times they outright disobeyed what God asked them to do.  All of these examples were recorded, not for our entertainment or for us to compare our actions to those of another, but because we are to learn from them!

Here is the hard truth:  ANY temptation YOU face will be NOTHING new.  There is absolutely nothing each of us face which we can say is totally unique to us - someone else (probably thousands of others) have experienced the same thing - just in a different place, time, or surrounded by different circumstances.  The temptation is NOT unique, though.  This should give us some encouragement, my friends.  Why?  This means there is nothing any of us faces which cannot be shared - there is nothing unique in our temptations!  Someone else has gone through it, is going through it, or will go through it!  What is unique is how well we share these things and get the help of others to walk through them without compromise!

The place of temptation comes with two options - give in or run from it like our very life depended upon it!  We can either embrace it or flee from it - there is absolutely no middle ground when it comes to temptation.  When we realize this, we might just recognize a way of escape a whole lot sooner!  If we actually develop this thing I will refer to as "transparency" - looking through glass instead of brick walls - we might just find the support in others we need to get out of the "middle ground" and into our running shoes!  Too many times, we erect brick walls to keep others from seeing the ways we have compromised in our lives - because those compromises don't actually do much to show we are committed to this walk with Christ.  

If we begin to view compromise as a means to overcoming, we might just begin to face our temptations in a completely different manner.  At first, that might not make sense, but bear with me.  When we actually begin to share our compromises with another, we can begin to "unwind" what led up to that compromise.  If we hide behind brick walls, not allowing anyone to know how miserably we can and do fail, we are just isolating ourselves from what may be the very thing we need to actually be free of that temptation once and for all.  Yes, glass houses are kind of revealing - and yes, they don't make it possible to hide much.  Maybe this is why they are such a good illustration of how God wants us to live with other believers.  

Truth be told, you may have already dealt with what I am presently struggling with, and the same may be true of your present struggles.  My struggles are not unique - I get angry, depressed, down on myself, too drawn into some things, and not into the things I should be into at other times.  I face loneliness, struggle with unwholesome thoughts on occasion, and even find myself complaining when I have nothing to truly complain about.  I get into messes because of what I say and I back-peddle to get myself out of other messes.  See, we are not so unique!  We share some of the same "issues" and we need not erect those walls to hide behind - for when we begin to reveal the "real us", we might just find the "real freedom" we are looking for so desperately.  Just sayin!