Tuesday, January 31, 2012

How's your blood pressure?

Wanna hear a joke about salt? Na.
“Tomorrow, you promise yourself, will be different; yet, tomorrow is too often a repetition of today.”- James T. Mccay
Even though I started off with a joke...this week I was really challenged by Tyson’s message at C4. I’m not sure how to introduce this topic, but basically it can be summed up in the question: What does the past tell you about yourself as opposed to what God tells you about yourself?

As Lot’s wife was on her way to safety and refuge, she couldn’t help but look back and thereby subject herself to the same fate of her past (in a word… destruction). She was turned into a pillar of salt! As Francis Chan would say, “Well that sucks!” Salt is described as a powdery substance that’s easily dissolved and pulverized, and Lot’s wife was turned into it all because she couldn’t let go of the past. The same holds true for us, more so in a metaphorical sense than physical, but definitely true in a psychological and spiritual sense. If we keep looking back and dwelling on the failures or traumas of our pasts, our faith will dissolve and we will be pulverized.
I know that the moment I start distancing myself from God and the support and accountability of the church...that is the moment my faith starts to dissolve. It could be because it’s so much easier to look to everything besides God, because the culture makes God a bit of a taboo subject, or because I don’t want to come off as naïve, but my faith level and dependence on God plummets the second I occupy my thoughts with other things. One thing leads to another and before I know it, I’m a functional atheist.

See, the problem about looking back at the past is that we never get the entire picture and we don’t remember exact circumstances or realities. It’s the nature of the human psyche to produce exaggerated memories about past events. Basically we don’t always think about our pasts as they really were, and if you are anything like me, mixing what we believe about our pasts and what we’re supposed to know about ourselves from God’s point of view is eternally frustrating because they almost never truly fit together.
For example, consider a victims perspective of prolonged sexual abuse. In terms of a textbook case, they might remember their past as something that was their fault, that made them dirty and unlovable, that destroyed their trust and self worth. Now take that mentality and apply the gospel to it. God says that they are not at fault (they were sinned against), they are washed clean and loved and valued so much that God’s Son died for them. See the contradiction in thinking patterns? God’s truth is something incredibly difficult to hold onto when you’re looking at your past and your mindset and emotions are so distorted and negative. Thoughts can destroy you if you let them.

The trick is to make yourself dwell on the truth of God rather than what you feel about your past, because what’s true about you is what God says about you. (And yes, I used the word “make”. Faith is an active thing; you have to work at it.)

The bible says that faith is the “assurance of things hoped for and the evidence of things not seen”. I think in this context, faith is the assurance of God’s promise to us in Jeremiah 29:11 (which just happens to be my personal favorite bible verse).
For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.
So often, we are not looking forward. We have a tendency to base our futures on the events of our pasts. We put more stock in circumstance than God because that’s where we put most of our focus. The nerve-wracking thing is that where we’re looking has everything to do with where we’re going.  So, I mean, it comes down to: What is the driving force in your life right now and what do you want it to be?  Will you leave your past in the past or let it be your downfall? Would you rather be a human being or a pillar of salt? Personally I wouldn’t want the high blood pressure that would come from being a stack of salt.

No comments: