Today as I was studying Galatians I reread something that just jumped out at me like never before. I knew that it happened but when I started to dig a little deeper into why God started revealing different things to me. I love it when He does that. He likes to get me all stirred up!
Anyway, after the day I had yesterday I was expecting a stirring! We see in Galatians chapter 1 in verse 11 Peter is confronted by Paul. These two men were used in mighty ways by God yet they differed on opinion on how the Gospel should be expressed. Imagine that! Brothers in Christ having a difference of opinion based on how the Gospel should be taught! Peter was at this point teaching the Gospel one way and living another way. He was the very essence of a hypocrite. Paul saw that this was not a lifestyle consecrated for Christ and He confronted his brother. (I John 5:16 "If any man see his brother sin a sin [which is] not unto death, he shall ask, and he shall give him life for them that sin not unto death. There is a sin unto death: I do not say that he shall pray for it.") Paul wanted to make sure that he shared with Peter the burden he felt for what he was doing.
Paul says in vs. 14, a "man cannot be justified in the eyes of God simply by following the religious laws created by a man." That becomes idolatry to doctrine or to a man made ritual religion. (Proverbs 14:12 "There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof [are] the ways of death.") Many times we are led away from the truth and the direction that God wants us to walk because we are more concerned with pleasing man then we are pleasing God. (Proverbs 21:16 "The man that wandereth out of the way of understanding shall remain in the congregation of the dead.") We must be certain that we are walking in the understanding that God wants us to walk in. The only way we can be certain we do this is to be obedient to what He tells us to do.
He goes on to say that if we truly seek Christ we will quickly acknowledge we are all sinners. However, that doesn't mean that Christ approves sin. It means we are to die to self and allow Christ to live in us. When we destroy the "old man" and crucify our flesh as Christ did for us, it is no longer our desires we live out, but we begin to walk in the will and purpose if Christ. (Ephesians 4:24 "And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.") Christ is our way to life, or else His death was in vain. (Galatians 2:21 "I do not frustrate the grace of God: for if righteousness [come] by the law, then Christ is dead in vain.")
Philippians chapter 2 talks about how God has exalted Christ the name above every name. He was exalted because He humbled Himself even unto death. Christ was a man. Born of the flesh sent by the Spirit yet walked in complete obedience unto His death to redeem those of us who at times have a hard time even controlling our temper. At times I feel so ashamed of the way that I "glorify" God. All the little petty things that I get worked up over at times are so meaningless.
When we read on in this chapter we are told to work out our own salvation with fear and trembling with the assurance that (13) God is working in us both for His Will and also of His good pleasure. Hallelujah! God enjoys perfecting His Will in our lives, as long as we are willing to obey. We are all a continual work in progress, as we search out the will of God in our lives each and every day.
His Word here instructs us to do everything without complaining or arguing so that we may be a blameless reflection of His love unto a generation of darkness and turmoil. WOW.
So, yesterday as I was on my way home from work I was a bit emotional. This week had been a very trying week on my faith. Yesterday morning as news came in that a dear friend of mine had been in a life threatening car accident, you could say that was the straw that broke this camel's back. Anyway, I was listening to the old song "Stomp" by Kirk Franklin and the one verse where the lady says "When I think about the goodness and the fullness of God, makes me thankful, pity the hateful, I'm grateful the Lord brought me through this far" was about to be birthed in my day.
A couple hours later I went to go cash my check and go to the grocery store. When I was leaving the store I was putting my groceries away in my car and the wind was blowing kind of strong. I was holding my foot on the cart while transporting my groceries and the last thing I needed to get out of the cart was my 25-pound bag of Alpo. I wasn't able to keep my foot on the cart while I moved it but was certain I would have time to reach back and grab the cart quickly afterwards. Next thing I hear is "BANG".
The lady in the car got out and I said,
"Oh my gosh I am so sorry."
Her response to me was,
"God-Da*&^, God- D*&^^."
I said, "I am sorry."
As she began frantically using her sleeve to wipe the unblemished door of her car that had not been damaged at all she screamed,
"SORRY? Why don't you pay F*&^%% attention to what you are F*&^%% doing! God *&%$^*."
I said, "Mam, I am truly sorry it was an accident."
It was at this point that the Holy Spirit had placed my flesh under arrest because with the way things had been going that day I could have relentlessly cut loose on this woman with some unholy reciprocating verbiage.
She then looked at me and said,
"You F*&^$ idiot why don't you let me take the cart and bash it into your F**&% car a couple of times and see if you F*&^%$ like it God D&^%$#"
At this point in time I think the Holy Spirit placed me in a straightjacket because my flesh wanted to say, "F*%$ you! You stupid B%$#^! It was a F*&%$ accident, but I would love to purposely lift the cart up now and jack slap you in your RUDE A%$ mouth! How would you like that?"
But I stood there frozen in my Holy Spirit Bubble, and I simply repeated, "I am sorry, it was an accident." She was storming off and I recalled the words to that song and I said out loud "I pity the hateful." Then I said a prayer for her soul and thanked God for helping me maintain my composure and giving me the strength (Philippians 4:13) to maintain my walk as I strive to be a light shining in this dark world. May I always strive to reflect His image with temperance and love at all times regardless if I am wrong or right.
Matthew 5:44 "But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you;"
As I was walking back to my car I thought about how God had just tested me. I was not tempted in this situation. It was a test. You see, Paul says in Romans 7:21 "I find then a law, that, when I would do good, evil is present with me." You see even though I did not break and revert back to my "old nature" that instinct was still there. If I would have ignored the spirit of God in my life I could have very easily been calling 911 in Kroger parking lot for hitting a 50 year old woman with a cart. Ok, so maybe it wouldn't have gotten that dramatic, but I could actually standing there hear myself saying those exact words to her. Yet, everyone at Kroger's knows that I am a Christian so what kind of witness would that have been?
Luke 6:45 "A good man out of the good treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is evil: for of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaketh."
Have you studied what your heart is saying to others? More importantly have you asked God what your heart is revealing to Him? We all need to yield ourselves over more to God. (Galatians 5:25 "If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.") Be Blessed in the Lord this weekend!
Proverbs 25:21-22 "If thine enemy be hungry, give him bread to eat; and if he be thirsty, give him water to drink: For thou shalt heap coals of fire upon his head, and the LORD shall reward thee."
Proverbs 25:26 "A righteous man falling down before the wicked [is as] a troubled fountain, and a corrupt spring."
Proverbs 25:28 "He that [hath] no rule over his own spirit [is like] a city [that is] broken down, [and] without walls."
Glory be to the Name that is above all names! One day every knee shall bow!