One of the areas we talked about was how to handle Stuff in our lives that we don't want in our lives.
For instance Paul talks, in 2 Corinthians 12, about a thorn in the flesh. "
1I must go on boasting. Though there is nothing to be gained by it, I will go on to visions and revelations of the Lord. 2I know a man in Christ who fourteen years ago was caught up to the third heaven--whether in the body or out of the body I do not know, God knows. 3And I know that this man was caught up into paradise--whether in the body or out of the body I do not know, God knows-- 4and he heard things that cannot be told, which man may not utter. 5On behalf of this man I will boast, but on my own behalf I will not boast, except of my weaknesses. 6Though if I should wish to boast, I would not be a fool, for I would be speaking the truth. But I refrain from it, so that no one may think more of me than he sees in me or hears from me. 7So to keep me from being too elated by the surpassing greatness of the revelations, a thorn was given me in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to harass me, to keep me from being too elated. 8Three times I pleaded with the Lord about this, that it should leave me. 9But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 10For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.I've been thinking a lot about that, because I have things in my life that I really wish weren't there. And since really reading this and thinking about it, I have come to understand that if I didn't have this "stuff" I would be so much more reliant upon myself. Because of this "stuff" I know the importance of daily devotions, I know the importance of saying "God I can't handle this, here... you take it", I know the importance of having good Christian friends and so forth.
Then this morning I read from Deuteronomy 8
1"The whole commandment that I command you today you shall be careful to do, that you may live and multiply, and go in and possess the land that the LORD swore to give to your fathers. 2And you shall remember the whole way that the LORD your God has led you these forty years in the wilderness, that he might humble you, testing you to know what was in your heart, whether you would keep his commandments or not. 3And he humbled you and let you hunger and fed you with manna, which you did not know, nor did your fathers know, that he might make you know that man does not live by bread alone, but man lives by every wordthat comes from the mouth of the LORD. 4Your clothing did not wear out on you and your foot did not swell these forty years. 5Know then in your heart that, as a man disciplines his son, the LORD your God disciplines you. 6So you shall keep the commandments of the LORD your God by walking in his ways and by fearing him.It just seemed to all pull together a bit more for me. God gives us "stuff" in our lives that we need to deal with. This "stuff" tests us. It shows where our hearts truly lie. Do our hearts lie with our "stuff" or do they lie with God?
My prayer is that more and more, that my heart will lie with God and with the things of God and not with my "stuff". Sometimes I fear that I am far, far away from that point. But through God's help...I'm getting closer.