September 2023


I think he’s on to something here.

For example, I’ve often wondered why it’s so easy for me to get frustrated and angry. My default answer was that it’s just my ‘sin nature’. And so, I went on trying different ways to change my behavior, which is important, but there’s something bigger going on here. My sin nature is only part of the equation.

If my understanding of myself is simply that I’m a sinner and that I’ll be dealing with this issue of frustration and anger the rest of my life, I open myself up to all kinds of conclusions and agreements about myself and God that are harmful. Two of the worst are, ‘I’m stuck in this cycle ‘til Jesus comes’, and the second is that ‘God either doesn’t care or He’s really disappointed in me’.

Either of those can lead me to agree with the enemy that I’m unworthy and/or disqualified from any type of service until I get this straightened out, which leaves it all up to me. (No matter what the issue might be) But what about this . . .

“I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope and freedom to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people, and his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is the same as the mighty strength he exerted when he raised Christ from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms.”

“As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our flesh and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature deserving of wrath. But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved  . . . For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”

That doesn’t sound like He thinks we’re unworthy, or disqualified, or that our righteousness is up to us. He’s taken care of all that. What I’ve found is that He just wants our hearts and minds focused on Him like the writer of Hebrews says . . .

“. . . fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.

What He does in us when we intentionally focus our hearts and minds on Him is to ‘open the eyes of our hearts’ to a deeper understanding of His heart toward us and who we are in His story. Part of the reason He does this is so that we won’t ‘grow weary and lose heart’ trying to make ourselves worthy.

The issue of our ‘stuff’, like frustration and anger, began in Genesis when God made us in His image. The members of the Trinity know and are known by each other which is essential to healthy relationships.

Stay with me now – because we’re made in His image, we have a desire to know and be known. It’s one of the deepest desires we have (if not the deepest), and it ‘drives’ our intellectual, emotional, and spiritual hunger and energy. But because we live in a fallen world, and because we used to follow the ways of this world and of the ‘ruler of the kingdom of the air’, and because our desire to know and be known is so strong, we are easily ‘hi-jacked’ by ‘impotent lovers’ offered up to us as the solution to our frustrations and lack of joy. We expect people to pay attention and listen to us and we expect things to give us joy.

The problem is that they don’t work. Over time, they serve only to increase that frustration and anger because the world and the ruler of this world don’t care to know us on the deepest level, and they only listen long enough to figure out how to draw us in and use us to their advantage. This only serves to discourage us and frustrate us to the point that we either withdraw into our own little world or we take on anyone that seems to be ignoring our desires.

We weren’t made to be ignored. God pays close attention to our hearts and our desires and wants us to experience the joy and freedom He’s given us to live in this world without being a part of it.

It’s all part of The Story we’ve been born into.