Wednesday, July 14, 2010

6 a.m. reminder

at approximately 6:05 a.m. this morning I had a startling reminder of what carnality really feels like. Settle down. I've been recently challenged by a number of sources (friends, books, etc.) about perseverance, spiritual discipline paralleling physical discipline, etc.; so, I have (once again) reasserted my resolutions for physical discipline to exercise, get up on time, etc. to make progress in my desire for spiritual discipline. During a nice conversation with myself this morning justifying why it was OK to stay in bed even though I had purposed to get up (you know the kind...I can shave in 15 seconds, etc.) it hit me. "This is what carnality feels like." It feels like the bed, pillows, sheets, etc. forming themselves around you in the most motivation-draining way possible. It feels like the temperature of the room being perfect for indulging in just a little more sleep. It feels like the blankets being warm but not hot, and the pillows being perfectly fluffed but not suffocating. It feels like your loved one's slow, rhythmic breathing. It feels like the best, most logical thing in the world is to concede the fight for just a little more sleep in the perfect sleep environment. It's surrounded by terribly logical excuses (I need the rest, I think better after more sleep, I can really give myself to prayer when I'm not so tired). It all makes perfect sense except that it is practically opposed to what you've said you really desire--a deeper walk with Christ I say practically because it isn't always obviously opposed logically. If it were overtly opposed logically it would be easy to recognize, but the damage comes in the fact that you can't recognize the damage to the actual practice of your right intention until it's too late. Maybe sleep's not your thing, but in that moment it struck me again that (whatever the expression), the desire to cave to flesh always has a similar quality. The perfect jerk and situation present themselves at which to be unduly angry. The perfect example of God's genius in creating woman presents herself to be looked at lustfully. The perfect compliment is given from which to derive pride. The perfect insult is given from which to nurse wounded pride. The list is endless, but caving to carnality always seems to make majority sense in the moment. To be sure, it isn't the only voice, but it sure seems to be the majority that resonates with my flesh. It reminds me of a comedian I saw years ago talking about the power of her bed on cold mornings. The bed would speak to her, "Come back to bed. You can pick out your clothes from here. Come back!"

It's interesting that the things used to distract us from our ultimate goal (Christ) are often the means of grace through which God shows us His love: a place to sleep; a snuggly spouse who is a gift from God; etc. While all of these things are ordained to point us to joy, we take joy in them instead of Him to whom they point. What an insult to the Father it must be that I so often treasure the gift over the Giver. What an amazing grace it is that He persistently calls to me through my blanket cocoon reminding me of my intention for fellowship with Him, promising me that I won't be disappointed, and empowering me to continue trying.

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