The Junk in My Trunk

“Produce fruit in keeping with repentance.” Matthew 3:8

Suggested reading: Isaiah 59

Waking the Dead by John Eldredge

Imagine you’ve beautifully decorated a cake. You spent years studying how to decorate it to perfection, and all that knowledge has paid off. Your cake looks marvelous, anyone would want it at their wedding. That is unless they cut into it. You see, you spent so much time learning how to decorate the cake, you never took the time to learn how to bake the cake! Your ingredients were not measured correctly, and were not good quality. You had a beautiful cake that was inedible.

This describes the majority of us. We’ve accepted the teachings that we “should” act a certain way. So, we attempt to decorate our appearance (with the best of intentions) rather than fixing the inside. It’s called legalism. “Surely a real Christian wouldn’t act that way!” Perhaps that “Christian” has too much junk in their trunk, and they don’t realize it.

I have spent many years learning the Bible, doing studies, and attending classes, but those facts did not set me free. As a believer I continued to struggle with eating disorders, addictions, and ungodly attitudes. It was a daily struggle which often ended in despair. “I’ll never be able to do this!” There are many denominations that would label me a “non-believer” based on my actions. What was my problem?

When I went through The Steps to Freedom in Christ I started to understand what was holding me up. Yes, I did have a heart that sought after God, but I had too much junk in my trunk making it impossible for me to drive up the mountaintop of freedom. I struggled every day with wanting to do the right thing, then failing to do it. I chalked it up to Paul’s struggle in Romans 7:24, “Oh wretched man that I am!” I guess it’s the way it will always be; trying to do good and failing. I was taught and believed this was the way of the Christian life, ups and downs; failures and successes.

I had tried to forget about my past and move on for many years, yet I had failed to deal with it head on. One thing I did was list every physical act partaken of with another man that was not my husband. I had to write down their names and what I did. I even had to write down my husband’s name and everything we did before we were married. I went through the list systematically renouncing the deeds and the spiritual bonds it produced. Those were things I tried to forget for many years. I never realized that just pushing the memories away didn’t fix the problem. I had made spiritual agreements with these people and these bonds needed to be broken. Just because I had re-dedicated myself to Jesus didn’t mean the spiritual bonds of sin were severed. Had God already forgiven me? Of course! He forgave me as He suffered on the cross for my every shameful choice, but I couldn’t experience freedom until I acknowledged and renounced my actions.

Repentance isn’t for God, it’s for me.

This process was repeated in every area of my life, not just sexual sin. I’m talking about down to “obeying the laws of the government”. Yes, that means speeding and other traffic violations whether or not I was “caught”. Does this sound extreme to you? I assure you, it’s not. A lifetime of junk piling up set a wall between me and true freedom.

I am living life on the mountaintop now because I finally emptied out the garbage. I acknowledged its existence, renounced it and repented, allowing me to experience the freedom of Christ completely. We’re wearing ourselves out trying to get up that mountain with 500lbs of bricks on our backs. We’re fighting a losing battle by decorating a cake with inedible ingredients.

For the first time in my life I am “living” the way I should; not out of effort but because I have been changed from the inside out.  If my trunk is filled with junk I’ve never faced, I will have no room to retain the truth of Jesus that results in changed behavior.

Am I perfect? No, but I am equipped, armed, and ready for the spiritual battle that rages every day of my life and that has allowed me to walk in my position with Christ as a saint.

Shades of Black

“Your righteousness is
everlasting and your law is true.” Psalm 119:142 (NIV)

Shades of Black

Crayons, talk about a
color explosion. I would know because I am usually stepping on them or pulling
them out of my dogs’ mouth. There are so many shades of crayons these days its borderline
insanity.  Atomic tangerine, razzmatazz,
cerulean, laser lemon, dandelion, banana mania, tickle me pink, and tropical
rain forest were just a few I scanned at the top of the crayon box. It’s not
exactly red yellow blue green and brown anymore.

It reminds me of
people.

We have a lot of
colors don’t we? No, I’m not talking about race. I’m talking about personality.
No, not personality disorders, stay with me. I’m talking about faces. You know, the church face, the work face, the home face,
the shopping face. The face that
tolerates the tantrum from your child at the grocery store yet explodes at home
at the same attitude. The face that snaps at the spouse for a sarcastic comment
made at home yet holds the tongue in front of friends in public. The face that participates
in crude jokes at work but raises hands to Jesus during Sunday worship.

Does anyone besides
the God who sees our heart know the real us? Do we even know the real us? Just who are we when we lay our head on
the pillow at the end of the day and the show is over?

If I gave the Bible a
color I’d have to call it black. (And that has nothing to do with the average
leather binding on a Bible being black.) After all, there are no shades of
black, are there? In the same way the word of God is described many times as
being the chief source of truth. It
is not just a good idea, or a template for living, or a book of stories and
morals. The Bible is truth. We can’t
say that about anything else in the world. What else can we say is absolute?
God is absolute, and so is the word he breathed.

Have you ever thought
about degrees of truth? Ever told that “little white lie”? If it is not 100% truth then it is not truth at all! It would be like
putting a drop of poison in a liter of water and saying it is “mostly water”.
You still wouldn’t want to drink it because the rest of the water would be
tainted. When someone poses the question, “what is truth?” We have only one
answer to give, because there is only one certainty with no question and no
doubt, and that is the infallible word of God.

Do you find you
experience circumstances that are confusing and troublesome? You are lied to
and deceived, manipulated and left wondering what exactly is the truth? There
is but one source to go to for all facts, all certainty, all absolutes, and all
truth.

There are no shades
of black.

Prayer

Jesus, you are Truth! I love that
I can come to your word and never doubt that I will find absolute truth there.
Let me now rest on that promise alone!