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I had a lousy attitude on Saturday.
I'll spare you the details. They aren't pretty.
At one point my children were off on a whining binge about some tragic problem like "not being able to play the exact computer game they wanted to play at the exact moment that they wanted to play it," and I launched into one of my usual "mom sermonettes." You know the kind, I'm sure.
After a while it occurred to me that I should have listened to myself. After all, I'm almost(?) always guilty of the same sins that bug me in my kids. So I began to tell myself some facts that I thought I needed to hear, so that I would be more grateful for what I have.
My voice, preaching to myself in my head. Who was missing there?
I'm good at "preaching," teaching, writing, lecturing, making points. But am I the main one I need to be listening to?
How well do I listen to God? Am I drowning Him out with my own sermonizing?
What's the difference? If I'm teaching God's word or a truth extrapolated from it, shouldn't I be listening to myself?
My heart balks, because I know the difference.
You see, I'm very accustomed to the sound of my own voice. It doesn't impress me, as of course it shouldn't. There isn't as soul on this planet who should (or does) tremble at "thus saith Betsy."
So when I preach to myself, it tends to be an intellectual exercise which I listen to with a "take-it-or-leave-it" attitude.
Even if what I'm telling myself comes straight from the Word of God, my voice in my head makes it sound like my own thoughts, with the same impact as, "I ought to go change the laundry loads." It's a good idea, and I'll get around to it, but there's no urgency.
Even if I'm deeply impressed by some truth that's struck me, I tend to be more delighted by its genius, more intellectually satisfied by having found a lost puzzle piece, than I am to bow and humbly, wholeheartedly submit.
I've forgotten, "Thus saith the Lord." The Master. The King.
I claim Him as my Lord, my Master, my King, and by His incredible grace, that's what He is. But how seriously do I really take Him?
Rom 12:2 tells us to be transformed by the renewing of our minds. I've often heard people explain this verse by saying we should control what we think about, as we're instructed in Php 4:8. And of course that's part of it, a very important part. But is that all there is?
Can any mind be called "renewed" which has not bent all of its powers toward obedience? Does God grant us understanding so we can admire our collection of "truth nuggets" on a shelf?
Who on this planet ever knew more, ever had a more brilliant mind than Jesus Christ, the Creator of all things?
Who was ever more perfectly obedient?
This kind of thinking scares me to death. Intellectual pursuits feel so much safer and more comfortable than bent-knee obedience. One feels powerful. The other is humbly dependent.
My flesh wants to believe that an un-renewed mind is safer than a renewed one. Boy, do I want to believe it.
But everything depends on my not believing it. And that's terrifying.
Whether I like it or not, the fact is that I don't need to preach to myself, convince myself, or lecture myself.
I need to listen to the Holy One with an eager mind that believes, "Whatever He says is right, perfect, and just. I will obey, no matter what."
Pray for me.