Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Outbreak (04/07/11)
TITLE: Keychain Keepers
By Kim Hamlin
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Gates are abundant in the Bible. Just in the books of Acts, Esther and Luke, gates lead to houses, temples, palaces, camps, rivers and prisons. Land was sold at the gates in Genesis, redeemed at the gates in Ruth. Markets were held at the gates in II Kings and proclamations made at the gates in Jeremiah. Councils of State were held at the gates in II Chronicles and public censures were passed out at the gates in Isaiah. The gates were shut at night-fall in Nehemiah and battering rams were used against the gates in Ezekiel. Gates were burned in Lamentations and idolatrous rites were performed at the gates in Acts. Criminals were punished at the gates in Deuteronomy, and in Genesis, people just sat at the gates.
There are other gates too, certainly not less common now than they were for our Bible heroes. They have many names, including intimidation, fear, addiction, hopelessness, failure and depression. I call them gates because it is possible to get through them, once you use the keys:
A)In the book of John (10:9), Jesus tells us that He is just like a door. Through Him we shall be saved, and shall “go in and out”, and find pasture. Jesus says that, through Him, salvation is certain. He also said, we “…shall go in and out”. This phrase points out our freedom to act or not act. Jesus is the Good Shepherd. He will conduct (not take hostage) his flock to the fields of good pasture and watch over us (not tie us up). We only have to make a decision to be in His fold.
B)Surrender seems to be an oddly shaped key to a gate. But, if you remember most of our species are control freaks, it starts to make more sense. Most people cannot be controlled, particularly kids, bosses, spouses, parents, siblings, and other drivers. To be blunt, you should mind your own business. I know, I know. Your kids and your spouse are your business and I’m all about the discipline of kids and a certain spouse, if I can get away with it. But, that’s not the same thing as control, and you know it. So, move on and remember to take care of you. Let other people worry about their own actions. Most of our anxiety comes from trying to control the actions of others. Let them go!
C)Patience is a dirty word in our society. That’s because this key is a prolific ego-trampler. The eye rolling and pouting are the first symptoms of the ego-trampled, immediately followed by delusions of superiority and anguished disbelief. The “wait-requester” must be a far less intelligent life form. They have failed to recognize both our importance and the preciousness of our time. We take special care to ensure that we never wait, sometimes risking our lives. You know who you are, Ms. Red-light Runner. Once we realize our own egos are part of the problem, our lives and our gastrointestinal systems are safer. Please practice using this key, it’s a process. Bring a book to read or use that time to pray, since you don’t do that enough anyway. Thank God for what He’s possibly saving you from, now that you are where He wants you to be.
D)Obedience is the, even uglier, brother of patience. We only play with obedience when we are the commander. But, like patience, it allows our lives to be lined up with what God wants for us. If we don’t use this key, we are still demanding control. Once we realize that control is a myth and a gatekeeper, we know it must be defeated to obtain entrance. Obedience could be the hardest key to use, but if we wiggle it just right, it opens to a path of learning who Christ is, and who we are…in Him.
God is closer to us than our thoughts and is waiting for us to get through these gates so we can know His heart. We are so preoccupied by our egos, our possessions and those we try to control, we don’t even comprehend His divine reality. Jesus, our surrender, our patience and our obedience are the keys to set us free.
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