Saturday, June 16, 2018

Don't steam in it any longer!

"Count yourself lucky." We use this phrase, "I am so lucky", often without realizing what it means to be "lucky". It means that we are "favored" - to find a special space or focus of attention where all is going well. We should count ourselves as specifically favored by God - an object of his special focus! Being the special object of his favor should produce within each of us a sense of awe - tremendous wonder at how the God of the universe could have favor on us. His care for each of us begins with a specific action of his love - he forgives us - giving us a fresh start. The slate has been wiped clean! How many times do we say, "I wish I could get a fresh start"? Well, we can as many times as we need that 'fresh start' - God's footstool is the place of fresh starts. Fresh starts are characterized by being able to leave all the mess of our past exactly where it is and moving on beyond that place of 'messiness'. Not only is this possible - it is a reality as we cry out to our God - an assurance his kids can count on all the time.

Count yourself lucky, how happy you must be—you get a fresh start, your slate's wiped clean.  Count yourself lucky—God holds nothing against you and you're holding nothing back from him. When I kept it all inside, my bones turned to powder, my words became daylong groans. The pressure never let up; all the juices of my life dried up. Then I let it all out; I said, "I'll make a clean breast of my failures to God." Suddenly the pressure was gone—my guilt dissolved, my sin disappeared. (Psalm 32:1-5 MSG)


Sin has a way of getting us into places where we just yearn for a breakthrough. I probably don't have to point out the misery of spirit, mind, and body that becomes the "mire" of our lives when we remain in our sinful condition, wallowing in our failures. It weighs heavy on us - bringing disease, sickness, depression, and even something scripture refers to as a "dryness". Living in the desert, I understand the effects of heat - the tremendous drying effect of the hot air and blazing sun. I have seen the sun literally turn a body that is otherwise healthy into a mess of dehydration, electrolytes totally out of balance, and the ensuing weakness absolutely destroying internal organs. Where there is "dryness", it is impossible to maintain life! The issue isn't that lack of moisture - it is that the 'heat' isn't something we are equipped to deal with!

Why is it that we live like we are inside pressure cookers? We let all the pressures of life build up, then at the point of absolute explosive capacity, we let it all out - sometimes not very well and usually making a big mess when we do! We remain in our place of absolute misery - unaware of what tremendous grace and peace lays just on the other side of our pressure cooker - and stew in our misery! When he finally "let it all out", the pressure is gone. That was not recorded for all time in the Word simply because it sounded good - God knows all too well our tendency to keep it all inside and attempt to deal with life's failures on our own terms. He also knows how messed up we can become when we do! I have a pressure cooker and when I release the steam that has built up, I have to wait a couple minutes longer to actually release the lid. Why? There is unrecognized pressure still in there long past the time I think the pressure has been released - pressure that is still capable of hurting me. I need to let the pot rest a little to ensure it is not going to bring me harm. Sometimes we need to just rest after God has relieved the initial pressure of our sinful state, not because we aren't feeling release, but because we need to allow the release to finalize!

Today, if you have been keeping it all wrapped up inside - afraid to let it go - allowing the very juices of your joy to be dried up - it is time to let it all out! Not in ways that will bring you or others harm, but under the guidance of the knowing hand and eye of the God that knows us all too well. God is not stunned by our guilt - he already has made provision for that. God is not shamed by our failures - he already has provided a way back from those failures and out of that shame. He is not intimidated by the mess of our lives - he has already made a plan for restoring the disorder of our past with the perfect peace of the present and the joyful anticipation of the future. Whatever it is that is robbing you of your joy, keeping you bound in your failures, let it out! God stands ready to relieve you of that pressure today! Not just for a little while, but for good! Just sayin!