A few days back I wrote about Pet sins… about my pet sin. I confessed it here because I want all to see the mercy and saving grace of my Redeemer and I want to be free of ANYTHING, that binds me. Especially things I think are no big deal but are really keeping me from fully inheriting the Spirit as God would have me.
After writing that post though I just wanted to clarify something. I in no way am condemning the eating of sweets or enjoying a piece of cake, etc. If God provides it, and we give thanks for it, we can eat and be thankful. My post had nothing to do with eating and everything to do with hiding from God.
Hiding from God, trying to find an escape and indulge self just a bit with a hidden attitude of, “Can’t I even have this!?” is the heart of this issue I was exposing in my life.
I’m not my own anymore. See, because I face daily the cross Jesus calls me to take up and follow Him with, I have a choice. I can either seek some form of escape from that cross, or I can deny myself, pick it up, and follow my King.
I face that choice everyday, and lately it seems my flesh is enticed to escape my cross via chocolate or goodies. I find myself having the thought, “I need to get away… I just need a break.” Right before I go seeking some sweet thing to eat.
But the Spirit calls me to deny myself that false escape. He calls me not to return to a well that will not satisfy when I’ve tasted Living Water. He bids me to drink of His sweetness and be satisfied, so satisfied that I can take up my cross and follow Him.
Lust is an insatiable desire. It’s not that the desire for rest and escape is wrong, but when it’s sought to be satisfied with any substance or act of the flesh its lust, its insatiable. God wants me to find rest and escape… IN HIM! He wants me to labor to enter that rest. The labor isn’t doing more of this or that. It’s throwing off the lusts of my flesh. It’s pushing away from deceptive alternatives that never satisfy.
The enemy will always entice my flesh with an alternative to the cross. And if I don’t recognize every indulging self as a refusal of the cross God’s called me to take up, following His Son, then I’m in danger of becoming hardened to the Spirit’s urging in me to do His will and experience His everlasting life right here and now and forever.
There are times where I can eat cake or sweets or whatever and its not self-indulgence. In fact, there are all kinds of pleasures I enjoy everyday, but the Spirit knows when the thoughts of my heart are to escape the pain of being misunderstood, rejected and thought a fool for loving Jesus and teaching His ways to my kids. THAT’S THE HEART OF THE PROBLEM: SEEKING TO ESCAPE MY CROSS! He knows cake, chocolate, ice cream, cookies… none of those temporary pleasures are going to take me one step closer to experiencing fellowship with Christ, in His sufferings and in His resurrection. He has no problem with me eating sweets. He has a problem with me running away from the cross He’s set before me, no matter what route of escape I try to use.
I like the way Amy Carmichael put it in The Edges of His Ways:
Luke 9:23: “If any man will come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily and follow Me.”
I think often we accept the cross in theory, but when it comes to practice, we either do not recognize it for what it is, or we recognize it and try to avoid it. This we can always do, for the cross is something that can be taken up or left, just as we choose. It is not illness (that comes to all), or bereavement (that also is the common lot of man). It is something voluntarily suffered for the sake of the Lord Jesus, some denial of self that would not be if we were not following Him. Often it is something that has shame in it (this, of course, was the earliest connotation of the word), such as the misunderstanding of friends and their blame, when the principles which govern our lives appear foolishness to them. It always has at its core the denial of self and self-love in all its manifestation. Self-choices go down before the call to take up the cross and follow. They fade away and cease to be.
I want to know Christ ladies! I want to share in His sufferings, be conformed to His death and live in His resurrection. The more I think on Him the more I despise that I still seek escape in sweets! May I not refuse to take up my cross and follow Him today by indulging my flesh in temporary escapes!