Occupy My Thoughts

Occupy my thoughts
Invade my mind
Captivate my heart
Fill me with your Spirit
Surround me with your love
Consume me with your presence
Let all that I do bring glory to Your name
May my reflections be pleasing to You
Cause my speech to be seasoned with Your word
Save me from myself
Forgive me of my sin
Transform me into Your likeness
I am at your disposal

I Hate Myself

I hate myself. It is not what it sounds like. A video on YouTube by Boyinaband of the same title as this post expressed certain fears and insecurities that Dave was experiencing. This talented intellectual musician struck up the courage to announce to the world what he was going through in order to keep himself accountable and genuine. I will now attempt to do the same. Would someone ask me if I struggled with self-image issues or insecurities of that nature, I would not admit to it — not because I am in denial but for the reason that to simply say yes would not nearly encapsulate the reality of my situation. The truth is that I love myself too much to love myself at all. The definition of love that I have for myself is governed by my desires, lust and selfishness. However, what I want is so often not what is best for me. My choices and actions may bring me transient gratification, but are often detrimental to my health: physically, emotionally and foremost spiritually. I deny the indelible fulfillment of my wants and needs that only God can provide. What He has for me and is to me is not simply better; it is the only solution in existence. The disparity between my knowledge of this panacea and my self-gratifying decisions leads to a cascade of implications. Not only do I devalue the gift of God, I refuse to accept His value for me. It is not possible to attain a higher level of value than what God attributes to us. But as soon as I separate myself from Him, I assume a lesser view of myself, though I may think it better. This very act is hatred towards myself as I denounce the value God has placed on me and withhold the blessings He chooses to give me. My love for others and for myself can only mature in relation to my love for God and acceptance of His love for me.

The Betrayer

I identify with Judas Iscariot. Jesus has called me to be His disciple. He has worked in me and through me. I have personally witnessed His power and authority directly in my life. Yet I have decided to exchange Him for a meager thirty pieces of silver. I was so caught up in what He could do for me or give to me; and when I found out that I had to give up control — that I would not see the destruction of my enemies, that I would not have a share in an earthly kingdom — I betrayed Him. I sold HIM! I gave up the most valuable thing in the world for instant gratification of my flesh. Now my own blood is poured out, because I would not drink His cup. He offered His own body and blood for me. He gave everything for me, and I took all I could get. He trusted me with His money, His authority, His life. I should have come running into His open arms of forgiveness as He hung on that tree. Instead I hung myself on a tree, and have cursed myself.  I have rejected my place in His ministry and apostleship and turned aside to go to my own place. I have sinned by betraying innocent blood.

Is It I

When Jesus announced that one of the disciples would betray him, each one asked “Is it I?” in turn. This response demonstrated tremendous humility. Each man did not presume that it was outside the realm of reason that they might be at fault. They recognized that they are sinful and prone to leaving the Lord they love. I long to exhibit this response in my own life. I so easily defend myself and refuse to take blame. I place blame on others and hold grudges while claiming to have owned up for my own wrongdoing. If I cannot forgive others, then I have not received forgiveness myself. Not that forgiveness has not been given, but that I refuse to accept it because of my unwillingness to truly repent. I must become overwhelmed with my sin. I must not feel shame for what I have done, but sadness for being a person capable of doing such things. “Against you, you only, have I sinned…” (Psalm 51:4)

Make Me Whole

Father, my heart is so divided. My bifurcated nature is as split as day and night. The diabolic side is rampant with anger, lust, selfishness and pride. Many people have been hurt by the words and deeds of my flesh. For the sake of your Son, make me whole through the washing of His blood. May I be crucified with Him. May my sinful nature be buried and raised to new life. Save me from myself, for I am a wretched man!

You Have Healed Me

When I present my problems to God, I often come to Him with a set of constraints or possible solutions which I hope He might help me with. Instead of laying everything before Him and letting Him pick up the shards of my life, I treat Him as a tool; a means to my own end. But God does not work according to the plans of man. He has broken me until I had nothing left of myself and restored me to new life in Him! “O Lord my God, I cried to you for help, and you have healed me.” (Psalm 30:2)

What Do We Want

Last night, a friend of mine asked me in a joking sort of way the following question: “does anyone really know what they want?” Being the over-thinker that I am, I realized that this question is actually rather profound. The passions and desires that we define as wants indicate that we experience a lack of something good. We often define these good things for ourselves, but so often we settle for less than what is best. Ultimately, God is the fulfillment of our every want. Every desire we have is an expression of our need for Him. “The Lord is my Shepherd; I shall not want…”

Better Than I Wanted

So often I want things to go a certain way which is far more complicated than what could be. I try to manufacture relationships that are just not meant to be, at least not in the way that I wanted. When I find out that I cannot get what I want, it is easy for be to become discouraged and maybe even upset. Yet God always has something better than what I want. I need to learn to want what is best instead of settling for what I think is best.

Lament

God has been teaching me a lot about lament lately. Lament is an expression of desperate discontent with the way things are in relation to how they should be. In order to lament appropriately, I must understand and connect with the heart of God in order that I might know how things should be. I must understand the creator of all things, including myself, and respond with destitution of spirit. Then I can truly pour out my heart to the one who knows me better than myself.