"You Call Out To God For Help And He Helps—He's A Good Father That Way. But Don't Forget, He's Also A Responsible Father, And Won't Let You Get By With Sloppy Living."
1 Peter 1:17 (Message)
I love the Message Bible, however, I do not use it on a daily basis. More likely than naught, you will find me with the English Standard Version, unless I am studying for school - I use the King James Version (which is required) and if I am doing Bible Study, then I use the New International Version.... But for this post, for that passage above... The Message is appropriate.
The thing that stood out to me in this passage of Scripture was the two little words ~ Sloppy Living.
When you think about someone who is sloppy, normally your mind will go directly to their appearance or the state of their house/car/desk etc... You think of clutter, lack of order and (at least in my mind) some form of dirtiness. I do not like slop, period. Not in any form of my life, but most especially where my living quarters are concerned.
Everything has its place and it would be so much easier if I could get Tigger to understand that when he plays with something, just put it back where you found it. Because we share a room and this is also where I work and study, I have got to have some sense of order... No matter how much I fight him about it, I do not have order LOL.
Chaos reigns supreme, where this 9 year old child of mine is concerned. He puts dirty clothes BESIDE the laundry hamper, instead of in it. His shoes sit OUTSIDE the closet, instead of within it. Wet towels are deposited ON the floor, as opposed to hanging them up on a hook. You get the idea? Chaos! I walked in the room the other day to check on something and I had to walk right back out due to the fact that I swear I started shaking in panic.
All the animals that go on top of the bed in a neat and orderly fashion, were strewn about the floor, the nicely made bed, had the covers ripped up from the corners and haphazardly thrown on top of the mattress, pillows were all over the place and there he sat, innocently at the computer, playing a game.
"Dude! What happened in here?" (Yes, I call my son "dude" sometimes lol) I asked... He pauses his game, looks around, and says "What do you mean? I was playing and I cleaned my mess up." That would be the day I contemplated that school should be year round.
I have found that a lot of us are like my 9 year old son, when it comes to the way we decide we should be able to live our lives.
God is the master of organization, not the author of chaos. Where you find chaos, confusion, and lack... You will find the enemy, chillin in your easy chair, drinking your favorite brand of coffee, laughing, as he watches you, trying to bring order to the confusion he has caused.
It never ceases to amaze me the lengths Christians will go to, in order to continue to live their lives, the way they see fit. I hear more justifications than I even have time to list, I witness more sinful behavior than I have ever thought possible, and I am now privy to a host of excuses uttered, that I never thought I would hear. It all leads up to "sloppy living."
Now before I go any further, I will make it known that, contrary to what people say about me, I am not perfect. Don't worry, I will wait while you pick yourself up off the floor from that little knowledge nugget... All good?
I have never once claimed that I am perfect, nor have I ever claimed that I am without sin... My claim is to live a life as free from sin as possible, striving for (but knowing it will never be achieved) perfection.
Here is another nugget for you... I sin daily.
There you go, my secret is out in the open. My mind is a cesspool of sinful thoughts and I have learned that where you find confusion (in my mind), you will find sin. Some days my thoughts are better to control than other days... The key is to continue to strive to keep my thoughts, aligned with His word.
Isaiah 55:8 (ESV) "For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord." His thoughts are not my thoughts, His thoughts are not your thoughts... I have the fullest capability of controlling my own thought process... And so do you.
The problem lies when people do not fully understand this. We have free-will, control over the choices we make, the way we respond, and the way we live. Sadly I have found that people do not want to take responsibility for the choices they made, the repercussions that have followed said choices, and the numerous regrets that will inevitably be not far behind.
They choose sloppy living and then want to lay the blame at the foot of another, when that way of living does not pan out the way they thought it would.
As I stated earlier, my mind is a cesspool of horrific, sinful thinking at times. If I close my eyes, I can almost see good vs. evil, sparring in a ring. The question is, which one is going to win?
I would like to say that good wins every time, sadly (here comes another nugget), that is not the case. There are days that I allow my mind to wander into the devil's playground. Heck there are days I run and skip in his playground... However, I am almost immediately convicted by the One whom I trust.
Because I am a baptized believer, I can no longer claim ignorance. I can no longer say "Oh, I did not know that I was not supposed to do ______ (Fill in the blank)." The beauty of that is... God knows this and He still loves us!
He knows that ALL believers are going to sin... Some more so than others. He knows that every single believer from time to time will stumble, that some may take the wrong path, and some may even make a few, very questionable choices.
He knows that while true believers can no longer claim ignorance, some are extremely unprepared (raises hand) for the assault that the world and the enemy has waiting for them.
See, the fact is that as a believer, you are going to commit a sin, however, note this... As a genuine believer; one who has surrendered ALL to Him, you will not be able to live a life of sin. Do you see the difference?
Here is a example:
"Genuine Believer" ~ For arguments sake, let's just say that you come across someone who is wearing something that leaves little to the imagination... Your first thought? Who does she think she is? Why in the world would he leave his house looking like that? Don't people own mirrors anymore? This is judging and it is a sin. Yet during your thought process of tearing the person down, conviction sets in "Hey, who am I to say a word about that person (or something like this)?" You repent to Him for judging, you may ask Him to show you why you felt it was necessary to judge another, and then you go about your day.
"Believer" ~ This person does whatever they want, repenting here and there, yet never turning away from the sin they repented of. They continue to live the life they feel they should live, and dare anyone to question their Christianity.
The difference between a genuine believer and a believer is that the genuine one has truly surrendered their life to the Lord. They know that as they continue to surrender daily, the "world" loses the appeal it used to show. They know that the more surrendering they do, the more they will be able to discern His will in each area of their life. They are striving for having absolutely zero separation between their spiritual life and their everyday life.... The two become one.
Most believers separate the two... Sunday life vs. Monday-Saturday life. By doing this, your spiritual life has very little impact on your "normal" life.
The only way to grow and mature in Christ is to completely surrender to Him and allow Him to have complete control over every aspect of your life.
I can almost see your thought wheels turning right now... "I don't want to give up complete control" or perhaps, "I am doing just fine on my own, thank you very much."
Surrendering means letting go of the pride, giving up the control, turning over the independence, and giving up all those things in our life, that we have made more important than Jesus Christ.
Surrendering to Him means allowing Him to guide your life, and it also means bearing our crosses for His sake. It means you acknowledge Him in all things (good and bad), it is a realization that everything we have in this life comes from Him. Most of all it means that we can finally comprehend that no matter how hard we try, we cannot make it, without His constant guidance and protection.
Is today the day you surrender your sloppy living?
TENTH AVENUE NORTH
You Say Let It Go, You Say Let It Go
You Say Life Is Waiting For The One's Who Lose Control
You Say You Will Be, Everything I Need
You Said If I Lose My Life It's Then I'll Find My Soul