Instead of facing your troubles, do you try to avoid them, avoid the pain of your situation?
I know I do, and I have. But at BSF (Bible Study Fellowship) this year I have heard two things that have stuck with me daily-
1. Stop Escaping.
2. Walk Worthy.
We all have different ways we escape. Food, TV, movies, alcohol, video games, shopping…and please note- none of these things are necessarily sinful in and of themselves- it is the intention of our heart.
Are we going to these things to escape the reality of our life- to avoid dealing with problems-to reward ourselves for all that we have dealt with that day?
That’s what I am tempted to do, especially with food. I see food so many times as the one thing I can do for myself, my reward, it is the way I relax and something I enjoy. Eating is very comforting to me.
However, I also deal with guilt afterwards, regret for consuming so many calories, and conviction that what I have just been doing certainly seems to fit the definition for gluttony.
And I have been able to hide my habit of eating for comfort because I also love to exercise, and sometimes I do that in excess as well.
Becoming obsessed with our physical appearance is dishonoring to God and a distraction- and unfortunately there have been seasons of my life when I have fallen into that sin.
Truthfully, I have a perfectionistic and obsessive personality- and that can be a good and bad thing. I work very hard, I demand a lot of myself- I have very high expectations- but I also tend to take things to the extreme.
Sometimes, I swing to avoidance, if I don’t think I can successfully master something or just don’t want to commit to it, I instead do nothing- or the opposite. One of my friends described me as an all or nothing type of person (I definitely agree).
God has been showing me that some of the habits that I have formed, and even aspects of my personality, needed to be surrendered to Him. I need to stop trying to control everything, and give Him control. I need to recognize His sovereignty and rest in His Strength.
I get worn out and need to escape b/c many times I am trying to do it all alone- I don’t seek Him- and find myself worn and weary, beaten down by circumstances and trials.
28 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”
2 From the ends of the earth I call to you,
I call as my heart grows faint;
lead me to the rock that is higher than I.
3 For you have been my refuge,
a strong tower against the foe. 4 I long to dwell in your tent forever
and take refuge in the shelter of your wings.
God is the rock that is higher than I- I need Him- I need to pray, to study His Word, to fellowship with Him- that’s how I will find the strength to successfully face what this life throws at me.
Here are excerpts from two of my favorite songs on this topic:
Blessed be the Name of the Lord written by:Clinton Utterbach
The name of the Lord is, a strong tower. The righteous run into it and they are safe (Proverbs 18:10).
Your Love oh Lord by: Third Day
I will lift my voice to tell you you’re my King. I will find my strength in the shadow of your wings.
James 1:1-12 is one of my favorite passages about trials and perseverance. It is concise and to the point- frank and poignant.
2 Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, 3 because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. 4 Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.
Consider it pure joy- when you face trials. I am not there yet- but with God’s help I pray that one day I will face trials with joy, knowing that God is building character and maturity in me through the struggles that I face.
Don’t escape- perseverance requires a never giving up attitude. A consistent desire to work toward a goal, to not let set-backs derail or stop us.
And I hope that in sharing these things with you, maybe you will take some time to consider what might be your escape- or how do you deal with the stress in your life, the times of trial?
The second point at the beginning of this post- something I am trying to do in my life- Walk Worthy.
Walk worthy of the gospel of Jesus Christ- there should be evidence in my life that Christ has changed me- how do we know if we are walking worthy? Test our thoughts and actions against God’s Word.
16 So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. 17 For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other, so that you are not to do whatever you want.
1 Follow God’s example, therefore, as dearly loved children 2 and walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.
5 Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry. 6 Because of these, the wrath of God is coming. 7 You used to walk in these ways, in the life you once lived. 8 But now you must also rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips. 9 Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices 10 and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator.
1 John 1:5-7
5 This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all. 6 If we claim to have fellowship with him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live out the truth. 7 But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin.
2 John 1:5-6
5 And now, dear lady, I am not writing you a new command but one we have had from the beginning. I ask that we love one another. 6 And this is love: that we walk in obedience to his commands. As you have heard from the beginning, his command is that you walk in love.