Sunday, February 3, 2019

I need a little 'filler' here God

I have been around those recovering from alcohol or drug addiction and heard them say things like, "When I hit rock bottom..." or "My rock bottom came when..."  Their meaning was that life had to reach a certain 'low' in order for them to realize just how far they had fallen into the hold of their addiction. They are indicating that 'bottom' isn't the same for everyone - theirs was different than yours or mine. There is a point for each of us, though, when we finally realize we have 'hit bottom' in some area of our life and that 'bottom' feeling leaves us desirous of getting help to finally be free of the pit we have dug for ourselves. It may not be addiction to a substance, but we all have a 'bottom' in terms of something we need to say a final "no" to in our lives. It may be some secret addiction like pornography, or something very 'out there' like the use of food to deal with some sense of frustration or disappointment in our lives. Regardless of what 'bottom' we have hit, the same assurance is there for all of us - God is there in the bottom just as he was before we even took up the shovel to start digging that pit! Some 'pits' are deeper than others. Some may resemble a deep well, while others are kind of like a shallow grave. Either way - the way out is the same!

So let God work his will in you. Yell a loud no to the Devil and watch him scamper. Say a quiet yes to God and he’ll be there in no time. Quit dabbling in sin. Purify your inner life. Quit playing the field. Hit bottom, and cry your eyes out. The fun and games are over. Get serious, really serious. Get down on your knees before the Master; it’s the only way you’ll get on your feet. James 4:10 MSG

The way out is to say a firm "no" to the influence and a quiet "yes" to God. Why a loud no to the influence? Why a quiet yes to God? Seems like we'd yell out to God, doesn't it? Like we'd plead for mercy, crying aloud about our helplessness over the thing that so easily trips us up - right? What we are being told here is that it isn't the 'loudness' of our voice as much as the determination of our hearts. A determined heart acknowledges there has been wrong choices leading to a whole lot of wrong actions - and admits there is little one can do to stop those actions in their own power. God isn't impressed with the loudness of our pleas as much as he is moved by the conviction in our hearts and submission in our spirit.

He is looking for us to say a firm "I don't want this anymore" to the sin we have been pursuing. That is the beginning of the deliverance - the grave or pit can no longer be our habitation because we are about to be taken from the place of rock bottom. Do you know how pits get dealt with? There isn't a whole lot of safety in just covering over them. If we want to be sure we don't fall into that pit again, we fill it in! We do more than put a barrier between us and the depth of the pit - we allow the pit to be filled with something that keeps it from becoming a place we can inhabit or be tripped up in again. Too many times, I think we just want a 'lid' put over the pit - reminding it is there - but not really dealing with the depth of the issue. Whenever we don't deal with the depth of the pit, we are apt to find ourselves exploring it again!

Conviction is the beginning of repentance. Repentance is the beginning of starting afresh. But...the break with the past 'pit' must be made 'stone by stone', level by level. God will take great care to help us fill those spaces which have been steps into the depths of that pit by 'filling' them with his presence, peace, strength, and power. His Word becomes powerful 'back-fill' for those pits - like a stone upon a stone, one promise builds upon another until we see there is no way we are ever going to stumble back into the depths of that compromise again. The 'bottom' is no longer there because it has been filled up. God wants us to be safe, so he does more than provide 'covers' for our sin - he provides all the 'filler' we need to be sure those pits are no longer going to be our places of captivity. Just sayin!

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