1Peter 4:1-2 (the message) Since Jesus went through everything you’re going through and more, learn to think like him. Think of your sufferings as a weaning from that old sinful habit of always expecting to get your own way. Then you’ll be able to live out your days free to pursue what God wants instead of being tyrannized by what you want.
My Pastor growing up would say, It’s the little foxes that spoil the vine. I always thought it was just a saying but turns out it’s in the Bible. Smile. (Song of Solomon 2)
Sometimes we find it easier to make what we see as the “big” decisions correctly but then get lost in the details.
But life is in the details, right?
I so identify with the scripture above right now. I’ve been stopped by it before and this morning I went searching. The idea of being tyrannized by what I want, what I think I need, is completely relevant to me. The idea of suffering through this weaning of expecting to always have my way is relatable.
I’ve known freedom from the tyrant. I’ve experienced the letting go. I marinated in joy, peace and quiet strength as I discovered I could not get my way and still enjoy my life. I’ve lived a truly spirit-filled life as rivers of His presence flowed through me. I’ve seen and tasted the fruit of His nearness in the details.
As I look outside I see a few brown, crunchy leaves hanging onto the tree branches in my backyard. They remind me of me.
Dry. Crunchy. Hanging on. Tyrannized.
Self-absorbed people are generally the most negative and discontent. Sometimes our focus turns inward because of big life events, but if we are not alert spiritually it will be in the details, the little foxes, that we begin to lose our freedom.
Our thought life…you know what we meditate on and think about. Daydreams, what-ifs, reliving the past…the places we allow our minds to wander.
Our attitudes and words. They flow from that thought life. What a man thinks in his heart, so is he. Is my attitude pathetic? Are my words clipped and harsh? Do I end so many days wishing I hadn’t said that…or said it that way.
Emotions. Good God in Heaven I can be emotional. But see it’s all mixed up together. There is a cascade effect that happens in the details of life. I can keep making the big choices…attend church, serve, tithe and even do a Bible study or small group. And that’s good…
But it’s true, it’s the little foxes that spoil the vine. That’s why sometimes we can do the big things and still suffer terribly from the tyrannical force of having our own way and getting our needs met the way we think they should be. Simply put, an all-about-me kind of life.
Then one day you’re like the ugly brown leaves that won’t let go in my backyard. Depleted of vitality and life, maybe even angry…not a pretty sight. As I view these hangers-on from a distance I want to whisper, Let go, just let go. I wonder does He feel the same as He looks at me.
Deep inside I know I will live in freedom again. My life is proof positive of what trusting God can do and I can’t get around it. Those little foxes…fatigue, self-pity, spoiled mentality, offense and unforgiveness, emotional outbursts and an unhealthy preoccupation with my own needs and wants…they have been spoiling my vine. My heart-connection with God. Oh I know He is still with me. But I’m war-weary from the battle. I’m tired of hanging on to my way and my wants and yet I feel shackled.
See, Peter is right. My soul-suffering is simply a raging reaction to this weaning…this extraction of myself from myself. Jesus is alive in me. Alive in me. He will never let me live content in tyranny. I can keep kicking and screaming and holding on or I can let go.
Rediscover the safe and soft landing that is Jesus.