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Dodging the Specifics

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

23Search me, O God, and know my heart! Try me and know my thoughts! 24And see if there be any grievous way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting! — psalm 139:23-24

Did you ever play dodgeball as a kid? I remember, clear as a bell, some insanely competitive games of elimination dodgeball in my elementary school gym. The teacher would roll the ball into the middle of the floor and shout, “Go get it!” All the kids would scatter away from the ball, and the biggest kid (not me) would saunter to the center of the floor, pick up the ball, and start firing rocket shots in all directions like guided missiles. We would huddle together and hide behind each other, terrified of being hit.

Sometimes I observe followers of Jesus playing a spiritual version of the same game. Most Christians agree in principle that God is trying to change them, but they dodge the specifics.  Change? God change me? Absolutely, we often say. But in reality, we are dodging the process. Willing to buy into change in general terms, we squirm, twist, and dodge when God uses a person or circumstance to point out the specifics. 

In my own life, I remember a time when I was frustrated while trying to leave for work. Just as I was about to leave, my oldest son, Luke, came into the room, whining and complaining about how his pants were ruined because he had forgotten to take an orange marker out of his pocket. I reached the boiling point and communicated with much intensity that it was inappropriate to vent his frustration on others, simply because he was working through something that bothered him. It occurred to me, about halfway through, that I was doing exactly what I was exhorting him not to do. Ouch!

God is at all times and in every way working to make you more like His Son. But, that cannot happen unless you allow Him to point out both the specific sins that have to go and the specific good things that need to be added to your life. As long as you relax in the land of generalities, you will never experience the life-altering power of the gospel. 

Are you ready to get serious about transformation? Listen, there can be no true commitment to personal life change without a willingness to get specific. — James MacDonald 

Prayer: Dear Father, forgive me for living in the “land of generalities” and not paying attention to the specific areas of sin You want to remove. Help me to want to change, because I won’t if it’s not with Your strength. Thank You for loving me so much that You show me how to become more like Yourself. In Jesus’ name, Amen. 

Journal:

  • What situations has the Lord allowed in my life lately that are showing me specific areas where I need to change?
  • What will I do about it?

 

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