Perfect Isn’t a Thing

In my quest to memorize the chapter of Romans 8, I last memorized verse 5:  For those who are dominated by their sinful nature think about sinful things, but those who are controlled by the Spirit think about things that please the Spirit.

romansTime for verse 6:  So letting your sinful nature control your thoughts leads to death, but letting the Spirit control your thoughts leads to life and peace.

The meaning behind this verse permeates the online Bible study I’m currently doing.  Every participant in the study is trying to reach the place where the Spirit is in control (perfection).
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Today in the online webinar I learned perfect isn’t possible.  It isn’t even a thing.  Uggh!  Even for this overthinker, because my overthinking is overlaid with a tendancy to put everything in black and white, this is very hard to procsess, but . . . I will attempt to do so.

I would assume the teaching refers to our bodies (sinful natures) and souls; i.e., our humanness.  Because our spirit, the main part of us, was already complete (perfect) when it came to life at our salvation.  If our spirits were in control, we would not have to achieve perfection; it would already be present.

Unfortunately most of us live with our humanness in control, rather than our spirit.  We are not predominately led by the Holy Spirit.  Therefore, it’s not possible to be perfect in this life, it is not possible to be 100% Spirit led 100% of the time.  The goal is to each day give up a larger percentage of our self (body & soul) to the control of the spirit alive within us who are born again.

There is a song currently popular in CCM called “Hard Love” by the group Need to Breathe.  One of the lines goes like this:  “It’s not enough to just feel the flame.  You’ve gotta burn your old self away”.  This is so radical.  I don’t even like feeling the flame!  Burning my old self away?  But consider:  When we let God “burn away” our old self (humanness/sinful nature) we will be free to experience life, real life, and peace of the supernatural variety rather than sin and death through Jesus Christ our Lord (Romans 7:24 & 25), the only human being who ever was or will be perfect.

Note to me:  Quit trying to be perfect, let the Perfect One lead you.

Finding Balance

Although I try to keep my posts as positive as possible, I know transparency is of vital importance in benefitting anyone, especially me. So. . . here goes.

Today (written on Wednesday, January 24) was an all-out binge. I will probably put in my hand-written journal what it consisted of, but not here.

Yesterday was quite different. Felt like I walked in victory all day, thanking God for my lunch and asking him to help me stop when it was time—and He did. But. . . then I went out to Wal-Mart to kill some time before going to work and picked up ingredients for what is probably my current favorite binge. I did not binge yesterday, though.

The binge started today.

So, I guess the fail started yesterday at Wal-Mart and tonight as I sit here typing this, my stomach is about to bust out of the surrounding layer of adiposity—the large layer of adiposity; I am extremely uncomfortable physically. Because of this I am asking God, once again, to help me to turn and stating I will do my best to do so. My best in this area isn’t very good—that’s why His help is essential.

So does that mean I’m victorious since it only took me, what 29 hours from the fail to the repent. I do believe this is true repentance based on my current understanding of repentance. I’m not crying, I’m not deeply sorrowful, but I’m in enough physical pain to not want a repeat tomorrow. But at the same time, I’m scared it will happen anyway, no, probably not tomorrow, but perhaps as early as Friday.

I’m saving this until morning to post.

My plan is to rise an hour and a half earlier than necessary and spend the time with God, in prayer, Bible study, Bible reading, and meditation and to start memorizing Romans 8:5. Signing off 5:55 pm. . .
. . .
5:21 am Still in some physical pain due to the binge but of a different nature and not as intense. More like a 4 instead of the 7 it was last night.

And I caught a side glance of myself in form-fitting leggings in a full-length mirror as I walked past it. Not an auspicious beginning to my day. If I continued to walk in my flesh (sinful nature), I would be setting myself up for failure today. I cannot worry about tomorrow (Friday) because today has its own worries (Mathew 6:34)

But. . . I am still resolved to walk in the Spirit today. Yes, I saw my flesh in the mirror, but I will not be led by it. Interestingly, and so like God, my next verse to memorize in Romans is verse 5 which reads “Those who are dominated by the sinful nature think about sinful things, but those who are controlled by the Holy Spirit think about things that please the Spirit.”

Yesterday, I was dominated by the sinful nature. I thought about God from time to time, prayed several times throughout the day, and read about Him, but I was not controlled by the Holy Spirit. He is alive and well within me, but I chose to let the sinful nature be in control.

Today I choose to let Holy Spirit be in control. Thank you, Jesus, for sending Him as a comforter and guide.  It is now 5:31 am.

7:27 pm  Was I Spirit led or soul/flesh led today?

If I were to judge by my feelings, I would say the latter.  I did not feel particularly spiritual or spiritually insightful.  But, the Spirit was leading because there were no binges.  None.

The Lord did it!  (2 Samuel 5:20)

Devotionals

 

What do you think about them? Love them? Disdainful of them? Letting them collect dust on a shelf? Don’t throw them out yet. God speaks in a variety of ways, and today He spoke to me through one of them.

I have at least half a dozen—probably closer to a dozen—different devotionals in my library. Jesus is Calling, Pearls of Great Price, Starting Your Day Right, among others, and I have read daily devotions from each of them on various occasions, sometimes even from more than one at one sitting. I also have a couple I receive as emails.

Earlier today I read a blog by someone who had issues with devotionals in part because they sometimes take Bible verses out of context. I respect this particular blogger; she is spiritually wise, and she makes me think.

A minute ago as I sat down to write, I saw My Utmost for His Highest on top of a stack of books next to my computer and picked it up. The focus verse for today is Isaiah 45:22 “Turn to me and be saved, all you ends of the earth; for I am God, and there is no other.”

This goes along well with an online Bible study I just became involved in which advises against following our own plans to solve our problems. Rather, we lean into God or turn to him.

In previous years, I have been taught that repentance requires tears and brokenness. Undoubtedly, turning from our own will and intellect and looking to God does require brokenness, even ultimately coming to the end of one’s self, but I don’t believe God always requires the production of tears before He will consider a heart repentant. In the right situation that even seems like it would be kinda’ fake. Don’t get me wrong—there are those who cry easily, and tears in those individuals could show true repentance. Even one who doesn’t cry easily may sometimes be overwhelmed by the magnitude of God’s love for her in spite of a willful and sinful heart.

So I did some research and found that the Old Testament word for repent is “sub” which in today’s jargon is a shortened form of the word substitute. Think of when a benched athlete is replaced with a sub. Perhaps the player being benched is wiped out, perhaps he has committed too many offenses to participate in the game well. It doesn’t mean he is no longer in the game. It only means he needs a sub.

I need a sub. I need to turn. To God.

God is talking to me, telling me to forget my own plans for salvation from bad habits. These plans have never worked and have little likelihood of working in the future. This was taught in the online session last Tuesday of my Bible study. “Forget your plan.” “Lean into God.” I didn’t understand it. How can this bad habit be eradicated without a plan?

My overthinking brain tries to plan everything! How can God expect me to give up this plan? Surely I will fall into total abandon to the sin.

God is stronger than my plans. God is stronger than my sin (bad habit). God is wiser than my intellect can begin to comprehend. So today, this minute, 10:54 am on January 22, 2018, instead of thinking about my plan, I turn to Him, sub my plan with my Abba Father, and I will be saved.

Father, I pray that everyone who reads these words, including me, would remember that this turning is not a one-time thing; it must be done daily, hourly, minute by minute, and even moment by moment. I pray we take captive every thought produced by our mind, examine it, store it or cast it away, relinquish our plans, and turn to you.

 

Why Now?

This is not my first attempt at a blog.  A couple years ago I was encouraged to create one by my publisher to promote “Fearless In Euroclydon”.  That publisher went out of business.  The website, likewise, no longer exists.

So why revisit blogging?  Why now?

While still dealing with some of the storms described in the book, more Euroclydons have hit:  the loss of my husband to death, the loss of my home to bankruptcy, and the loss of my identity.

Whoa. . . . !  Hang on a minute there.  The loss of my identity?

Let me rephrase–the loss of my identity as I knew it.

I am no longer a wife.

My children are grown, and though I’m still their mother my role in their lives is significantly reduced.

I no longer have my own home, my own space.  I now live with my mother.  While there are benefits in this arrangement to both of us, I definitely miss my alone time and take it where I can find it

So. . .

I have thrown off my earthly identity (or was it ripped from me?) and am taking on a new one.   One that has been with me for 40 years but I couldn’t recognize it through the layers of other roles I put on myself, some good, some not so much so.

My true identity is that of a daughter of the Living King.

The problem?  The old me, Jacqueline Lisa McDougall (JLM) still wants to be in control of her life both in and out of storms.  The real JLM (Jesus Loves Me) is learning how to relinquish control completely to the Lover of my soul.  Such a slow and, yes, painful process.

At this point, I don’t plan to promote this site; that may change in the future.  If you happen on it by accident and find within my ramblings something that speaks to you, come along for the ride.  And I would love to hear from you.  My email is jacquelinemcdougall@ymail.com