Doing enough…

Then He will say to those on His left, ‘Depart from Me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. For I was hungry and you gave Me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave Me nothing to drink, I was a stranger and you did not take Me in, I was naked and you did no

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t clothe Me, I was sick and in prison and you did not visit Me.’

And they too will reply, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry or thirs


Then the King will answer, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for Me.’
ty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not minister to You?’

And they will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.”

Matthew 25:41-46 https://biblehub.com/bsb/matthew/25.htm

Before Christians start in on me about ‘you can’t do enough to earn salvation’ let me reassure you that I get that aspect of Christianity.  But here is the catch and I think it is important.  Salvation is a gift that is meant to be used.  And in my own life that gift is not used.  And when the gift is not used then the gift either was never given or will be taken away – depending on whether you are an Armenianist or Calvinist.

I see my own life and the depth of failure that I attain on a daily basis.  I am a bad father.  I am a bad husband.  I constantly mess up in numerous ways in life.  By whose standard you ask?  Well, that is the crux of the question isn’t it.  I would say by God’s standard but that would imply that I fully understand all that God would have me do and I do not believe that I am anywhere close to that.  So it is the standard that I set for myself based on something, but I am not sure what.

Let me give you examples.

I get upset over very little, some would say trivial, things.  We are currently on a work/vacation trip.  I am scared too death that we will have a repeat of last year where we are charged for something that happened as a result of one of my young children or us taking care of our young children.  Eating on the bed that has white linens?  That freaks me out.  Crumbs on the floor?  Seriously!  I am about to loose my mind.  Sand from

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Utopian organization for me PHOTOGRAPHY BY: MATTHEW WILLIAMS 2017

the beach getting into the van, on the seats, in the floor, saturating the back of the van where all the gear is stored?  I need to sit down.  My blood is boiling at this point and I need organization, structure, cleanliness, a dark cold room to sleep in until the world is back in order again.  Maybe some of you understand, but the Christian side of me is conflicted.  I think, God wants us to be orderly and clean as a way to tell the world that following the Christian God means you let God into all aspects of your life and you see all your choices as reflecting that God.  Therefore messes equal a messy life and this dishonors the organizational and clean standards that I believe reflect God’s character better.  Then the other part of me is like, ‘have you lost your ever loving mind?’.  It is just sand.  You are at the beach.  You have five children 10 and under.  If you make a mess in the room then pay the money and be

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How my world feels most of the time blog.organizetosimplify.com

done with it.  Stop worrying about what other people think (I never have that thought by the way but I know that I should).

And all of this leads to the mindset that I can never do enough to reflect my beliefs without sacrificing my life in a hail of bullets or at a burning stake or by being beheaded for yelling at the top of my voice, ‘REPENT AND BELIEVE IN THE GOOD NEWS OF JESUS CHRIST!’  Anything less than that means my faith is not real and that I do not understand the seriousness of life on this earth and what the after life entails.  I am caught up in the ways and things of the world, having loved the world more than I love my God.  This is how I normally think and you can imagine the weight that it has on the various relationships I have from projecting unrealistic standards onto my family to stressing over every minute word and action I take at work or at the gas pump or in a grocery store or at our hotel.

Another example.  During lunch today I was with two new coworkers who do not know me from Adam.  I do not know what others have told them but in the middle of a conversation about something that I am very passionate about from a military perspective I dropped a couple of swear words.  This may seem small to some of you but it is BIG GIANT NO NO in my world.  I shattered my character by my own standards.  If anyone from the church where I go heard me then I would expect to be shunned or gawked at like I had just walked through church naked.  I know it is not the end of the world, but it is a set back for me.  Now I did do something later that gave an indication that my worldview was a little different, but I do not know that it was noticed.

I can never do enough.  I really do believe that with my head.  But in my heart and in a deep part of my psychology, I know that I can do more and I can be more and that I am called to be more.  Not for my own sake.  But so that my faith is seen as legitimate by others and that it points them to someone greater than this world and our lives and our desires.

Keith

6 thoughts on “Doing enough…

  1. “The fruit of the Spirit produces love, joy, patience, goodness, kindness, gentleness, and self control. Against these things there is no law.”

    The fruit of the Spirit. Not what we demand of ourselves. No matter how much WE try to change ourselves, we cannot do so. We cannot change our nature or our hearts. Only Jesus through the power of the Holy Spirit can do that. It’s all about surrender, allowing Him to work within us and through us. You, my brother, are a control freak. I can say that, because I am also one. But I’m learning to surrender. Not once, but every single day. Let go. The 2 greatest commandments are to love God and to love others. You live like that, and surrender control to God, you’ll be amazed at the changes within. I love you.

    ~Sissy

    1. That is my point though. It is easy to say but extremely hard to do. You are telling me to not be a control freak by believing that God is in total control (sovereign control). But at the core most (99.9%) of us don’t live like that. I don’t know that it is humanly possible to be in that state of mind and function psychologically. God is not going to vacuum out my van. I hear what you are saying. I really do.

    2. Tommy (Sandra) Monts

      We all have our weaknesses and frustrations. No one is perfect, but if we don’t realize our weaknesses and ask Him for help, that is the worse thing that could happen.
      I try to live a life as close to Him as possible, but, oh, no, it’s not easy for this old woman either.
      You are a father that non other can come up to in doing whatever it takes to help your children and Heather.
      I love you, and this post hits so very many. I pray we will all be as thoughtful in our actions and words.
      Granny

  2. Ma Kim

    As a fellow neat freak and previous control freak, I can agree that while it is absolutely true that God isn’t going to vacuum out your van, you can ask Him to help you not to freak out about it (and other things that drive you crazy). Seriously. I had to pray years ago for God to help me pray and read the Bible, even at times when my house wasn’t as perfectly clean as I wanted it to be. I can honestly say that He answered my prayer–I can now spend time with Him and the dust doesn’t bother me at all, and the vacuuming can wait. Regarding the control issue, I have a great book to recommend: Out of Control and Loving It by Lisa Bevere. I will look for it for your birthday next month. It is very easy to read, but it is also very profound, and it was life changing for me in many ways.

    I will add that Jesus isn’t nearly as hard on you as you are yourself. If you get to know God’s character, you will find He is filled with such tremendous LOVE and grace and mercy and compassion and kindness and patience, and when we mess up, He is so ready to forgive. I John 1:9 is such a tremendous, powerful verse. Not only are we forgiven, but our sin is immediately forgotten. I call that divine amnesia. Only God can do that. And there is so much mind warfare that goes on when we aren’t perfect, as the enemy continually beats us up for our imperfections and mistakes. And then we come into agreement with him, and beat ourselves up, instead of walking as completely loved, forgiven, children of God. God LOVES you. He loves the imperfect you. He is FOR you, even when you mess up. He doesn’t love you any less on your worst day, than He loves you on your best. He cheers you on when you get it right, and is cheering you on to get back up and try again when you fail. You don’t give yourself enough credit. You are NOT a terrible father and husband. You are a human one, and I believe with all my heart you get it right far more than you get it wrong. YES YOU DO! God is the only perfect one. And the things you want to change–He can and will help you. Praying for you!

    1. Thanks for all that, Makim. I go in spurts. Some days my OCDness is bad. If I don’t have order then I am unable to think. A huge chunk of my counseling a few years ago was dealing with this very issue. One of the take aways from that is to not project my standard onto evety one around me, from my family to my coworkers. If I don’t like the sock being on the floor in the living then I need to realize that is my issue, not whichever kid left it there, and then I have a decision to make – leave the sock, remove the sock, or have a conversation with the child about whether sock should be there or not. It sounds silly but it was huge for me. I look forward to the book. I know I have changed through the years but this is one area that is my nemesis. Part of it too is that we have small children (mainly T and G) who are still learning about picking up after themselves. And J can get into moods where every book on the shelf ends up in the floor. It gets old picking up the same 100 books three times a night or on the weekend. But at least he is using his fine and gross motor skills, chuckle chuckle.
      I still haven’t vacuumed out the sand and we still haven’t fully unpacked. It never ends. It would be nice to have EVERYTHING in its place just once. But it wouldn’t last and that would just drive me nuts more. I try to value the small victories. A clean spot on the table or a clean kitchen for five minutes. Haha!
      Practice in the Presence of God had similar themes that you mentioned. He was all about laboring in God’s grace. If he messed up he repented and moved on in praise because God’s grace is enough. As Paul says, it abounds more and more wherever sin exists. We don’t have to do anything for grace to be enough (repentance receives it).
      Thanks again.

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