To Walk In His Presence
“… And so, since they did not see fit to acknowledge God or approve of Him or consider Him worth the knowing, God gave them over to a base and condemned mind to do things not proper or decent but loathsome” ~ Romans 1:11-12, 28, AB.
Wow. Struggling with sin, giving oneself over to it, is a sign of lack of interest in KNOWING God on a personal and intimate level. Ugh. That thought and understanding is deep and it strikes me to the heart of the issue. My absolute surrender to laziness and lack of self-control on this journey stems from inadequate desire to do the very things that God has inspired in me as of utmost importance: a goal to be reached—that I may know Him (Philippians 3:8-11, see yesterday’s blog).
This struggle truly strikes a defeating blow to the second of my life goal scriptures I am to apply to this journey of experiencing the greater depths of God on my Spark Journey: that is to know His presence with me. My second life goal passage is found in Acts 2:25-28, where the words of David are quoted, describing to us his life-practice that led him to one victory after another. In this passage, David is credited as having said:
“I saw the Lord always in my presence; for He is at my right hand, so that I will not be shaken. Therefore my heart was glad and my tongue exulted; moreover my flesh also will live in hope; because You will not abandon my soul to hades, nor allow Your holy one to undergo decay. You have made known to me the ways of life; You will make me full of gladness with your presence.”
I seek daily to know and walk in the presence of God Almighty, being directed and empowered by Him; yet daily my fall to lack of the practice of the fruit of self-control hinders the fullness of this experience.
In the last post, I mentioned the analogy I was taught long ago of picturing the Spirit-fruit flavors of love and self-control as bookends to all the rest. If one of these bookends is broken and dysfunctional, all the rest fall to the wayside.
As I looked for a picture to show the books falling because of failing bookends (I think this one is way cute and very depictive of this thought)…anyway, while finding the picture above, I saw bookends that were made as one unit and it hit me: because of God’s love in me equipping me to not only love others as He does, but to love Him and to love self, I practice self-control in all things so that I may know Him more and have a stronger love relationship with Him.
The two ends must become one unit: love combined as one with self-control to facilitate strength of structure that holds all else securely in place. When that occurs, it translates into a stronger love-walk that is exhibited through joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and yes, self-control that loves me enough to maintain a life that loves God and His ways first of all, and that, because of love, lives an exemplary life that encourages and helps others out of love. Love and self-control not only are the bookends to hold all the rest in place and in proper order, but they are connected to each other, one unable to function properly without the power and influence of the other.
Without self-control, how can I experience to the full the presence of God, Who IS Love.
“Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. The one who does not love does not know God, for God is love” ~ 1 John 4:7-8.
Because I have not loved fully as God loves: loving Him of first importance, then you as I love myself, my self-control has fallen, broken away from that which gives it strength. I pray to see that changed from here on out. Already, as I deliberately focus to practice the Spiritual fruit of self-control—applying my purposed effort with faith in God’s equipping for victory—I am feeling strengthened, experiencing His pleasure and His presence, and reaping the reward as I see the numbers on the scale drop again.
“For I am yearning to see you, that I may impart and share with you some spiritual gift to strengthen and establish you; that is, that we may be mutually strengthened and encouraged and comforted by each other’s faith, both yours and mine” ~ Romans 1:11-12, AB.
We can do it as, through faith, we walk together in love with self-control to bear all the fruit of the Spirit to the glory of God in our victorious lifestyle.
(To be continued)