Yesterday a friend of mine texted me to let me know she liked my new hair cut. Her “tween” daughter told her that the new hairstyle made me look more approachable. I laughed at the way she expressed her thoughts. Approachable. If she only knew. It is one of the things I have struggled with my ENTIRE life.
A few years back on December 31st I decided I would make a change in myself to be exactly what that young lady referred to me as, approachable. I wanted to become more kind. I envisioned myself turning into a meek and quiet lady with a graceful response to everyone. Music notes would softly play as I walked through the rest of my life. I would be charming, polite and gentle to all those who crossed my path.
Challenges are my fuel. I would burn my old habits like kindling. My rudeness would melt until nothing but ashes of my standoffish personality would remain. And I would sweep those ashes into the breeze as I transformed into “Sheri – The Approchable One”. I could do it! Nothing would stop me.
I didn’t even make it to midnight.
The ball had not even fallen in NYC Times Square before I had dropped the proverbial ball in my own life.
What a fail my resolution was.
What a weak person I was.
And to beat all, it was my mother in law who was the recipient of my sharp, unkind tongue.
Yes, I apologized (quit judging me!). I cried. I felt horrible. I felt defeated. And the new Year slapped me in the face with a good old reality check.
“….for by strength shall no man prevail.” I Samuel 2:9b
I am by no means knocking change, or trying to improve areas where we have severe character flaws. Trust me, we should NEVER be satisfied with anything less than our best. But when your best is as filthy rags in the sight of God, maybe we need to return to WHERE we can find the best for our lives and rely on HIM instead of our own strength.
The idea of dwelling in God is not one of sheer meditation or human will power produced by our sinful flesh. It is the absolute opposite!
It is dying to ourselves. And not dying through will-power, but by praying, supplicating, confessing, praising, yielding, acknowledging.
It is us dying to any claim we think we have to proprietary rights on righteousness as unworthy sinful beings.
We are only saved and cloaked in HIS Righteousness and justified and called God’s children because of His Grace and the faith whereby we trust His death, burial and resurrection. How can we think we can do anything in our own power? It’s ludicrous.
Paul said, “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.” Galatians 2:20
Paul knew what it meant to dwell in Christ. He knew he was incapable of convincing people to quit trying to exert spirituality through their own deeds performed in the flesh. He knew he needed to teach them to die to self and dwell in the knowledge of living and dwelling in Christ.
How I wish I could learn this lesson.
Because! Who is more approachable than Jesus Christ? If I could die to Sheri and quit trying to change myself with my own strength, then He would be the transformation of my unapproachable demeanor. By dwelling in Christ it would be Christ shining through my eyes, my smile, my words, and my actions.
It isn’t mystical. It isn’t an achieved upper level leading to Nirvana. It is simple, basic Christianity.
You can choose to dwell in Him and His Word and let His Spirit abound in you producing His Fruit, or you can shut the door, dwell in your own strength, never prevail and do the work of the flesh. If you choose the latter, you will wear yourself out, live in defeat and blame it on everything and everyone else around you.
Choose to dwell in Him. His Spirit provides rest from working in the flesh and His movements in your life will be as fluid as the water flowing down the peaceful stream.
“For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.” Romans 8:6
If you failed miserably yesterday, confess it to God. Ask Him to help you. He will.
Dwell in Him.
Until Next Time, Lord willing!
READ THE BIBLE THROUGH WITH ME IN 36 WEEKS!
Today’s reading: Genesis 4-5 / I Samuel 3 / Psalms 3 / Matthew 3