I was having my morning devotions this morning, and I had reached a point where I was reading Psalms 35, where David is praying retribution from God against those that are seeking his downfall. I had just read verse 24, which says, “Judge me, O Lord, my God, according to your righteousness…” and a thought occurred to me. It was not an altogether pleasing thought, because it revealed my own character to me, and I saw what I really am. It wasn’t pretty.
I realized a lot of things in a flash, a half-second of time or less – and I am still mortified by what I see. It will take me significantly longer than a half-second to try to explain it to you, so please bear with me.
It came to me in the form of a question. “Who are you living your life for?” I know what the answer is supposed to be, because Jesus said that he who seeks to save his own life in this world will lose it. I began a mental reply that was along the lines of, “You only, Lord…” when the Lord allowed me to see it.
I am a selfish, self-serving individual that is only interested in his own comfort. It is an axiom of life for me. I live my life to avoid pain and discomfort, I seek only my own pleasure, and I am really not interested at all in anyone else or their problems. Allow me to enumerate to paint a picture for you.
For many years, I have been a TV addict. I get up at 5:45 a.m. so that I can sit quietly with a cup of coffee and have my morning devotional time with the Lord. Now if I did that, I wouldn’t feel as I do at the moment. Instead, I sit there and groan that I’m getting too old for this, and I flip on the Space channel to watch a favorite old series of mine called Andromeda, during which I sip my oversized mug of coffee (gluttony), check my email (some of which are devotional in nature, so it isn’t all bad, except that I sit there and judge the contents, the people who write them, the translations for the Bible they use, their age, their gender, you name it (condemning spirit). Then I catch up with my Facebook friends, seeing who put what up for laughs, or judging the lack of comedy, compassion, or whatnot (also judgementalism in the bad sense). After that, I catch up my games (dissipation). By now, the kids are getting up and ready for school, so I see them out the door.
Now – there wasn’t a thing wrong with anything I did on the outside. But who am I really living for? Certainly not the Lord, or I would have already done my reading and praying for that time. And that’s the problem.
The revelations of my true character continued. For those of you who know me, or have seen me, you all know I have a weight problem. I know I’m diabetic, but I love chocolate and sneak it or Tim Horton’s donuts every chance I get. Then I wonder why my blood sugar is high every morning. Look, I do 72 units of fast-acting insulin per day. And donuts and chocolate are decidedly NOT on the diabetic diet. Why? Well, because it pleases me. I like it. There is nothing wrong with liking it. But I’m actually overdosing on it and slowly killing myself. In an attempt to “raise my quality of life” (trying to save my own life), I am actually putting it in jeopardy (losing it). I’ve already had a heart attack – I don’t want another. I am literally a glutton for punishment.
I don’t get enough exercise according to my doctor. I have a reason – I’m in pain most of the time. I have degenerative disc disorder, and sciatica as a result of work injuries when I was a firefighter many years ago. It’s a legitimate reason. Or am I just hiding behind it in an effort to minimize my own personal pain? Paul never let pain slow him down. There were many times he was stoned and left for dead – and he got up and kept right on doing what he knew God wanted him to do – be an apostle to the Gentiles of the world. Jesus knew the kind of pain He would face himself on the cross beforehand – and He still went, and that voluntarily. I find myself ashamed at their great examples, and so I should at trying to hide behind injuries that have long-since occurred.
I won’t post photos, but my house is a mess. I have three teenagers and a wife who admits she never learned how to clean house. What’s wrong with me? Well, I begin to suspect that I am supposed to be working to better that situation. But am I? I tell myself yes, but I know it isn’t really true. I am instead just mailing in the effort.
But I have great hope. God has revealed this to me about myself, and how it is holding me back. I can (and do) choose to live for Him and not myself. I will be smart about it, I will make a plan that will be as pain-free as possible, one that uses all the tools I have at my disposal (which are considerable), but I will execute it whether or not i feel okay. I will repent of my selfishness. I cannot do this alone, so I will speak to my pastor as well.
How about you? What are YOU living for?