Random Blog Clay Feet: January 29, 2009
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Thursday, January 29, 2009


Indeed, all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will be persecuted. (2 Timothy 3:12)

I am not feeling well today. I woke up this morning right at 2 AM and had to get out of bed feeling like I was about to lose the contents of my stomach. I spent the rest of the morning huddled in front of our fireplace keeping warm and trying to position my body in various ways to appease my upset tummy and hopefully keep it contained until it recovers. As a result I will be rather late for work today if I manage to feel well enough to go at all.

As I felt a little better, at least enough to sit in my chair and read a little, the impression came to me of a verse that is well known among Christians. It is the verse quoted above. As I thought about this verse I sensed that this is yet another one of those places in the Bible that I have usually subconsciously avoided and where some of my inner discomfort gets exposed whenever I read it. I am not sure why God wants me to think about this right now, but even saying that much arouses feelings of apprehension that betray the very issues that I need to get healing for, to get freedom from.

I think it started up this morning while I was thinking about my relationship and feelings about my various blog sites. I have tried to be very careful to not allow these to become a source of pride or a soapbox for me that are used to try to force others to change their opinions about certain subjects. That is not to say that I don't think it is right to present things that differ from what other people believe. The closer I get to God and the more clear my perceptions of His ways have become, the more I feel inner urges to share these life-changing insights and discoveries with anyone that God may lead to read what I have been learning.

But I am also aware of some other dynamics that lie a bit more obscured in my heart in regards to this as well as my relationship in other aspects to those who believe differently than me. My personality has long been one that in certain respects is very timid and fearful about upsetting other people with ideas that they strongly disagree with and that might likely stir up intense opposition. I have had a life-long aversion even toward sales jobs because they almost always require that one uses pressure to change other people's opinions so that they will buy what you are selling. I used to say that I couldn't even sell a heater to an Eskimo. But what I am beginning to sense more clearly this morning is that at a deeper level, part of what I am really afraid of is persecution.

Now I feel compelled to qualify even that statement. I have seen way too many people who almost seem to thrive on a persecution complex, who seem to consider it a badge of honor or an affirmation of correctness to get themselves persecuted for being at odds with others in religious things. I am all too familiar with that kind of confused thinking and I do not want to fall into that model either. But what I am sensing is that my deeply-rooted fears of arguments and opposition, especially when they attack my vulnerable weaknesses through shame and dishonor, these fears are preventing me from fulfilling the role and intentions that my heavenly Father intends for me to carry out within the body.

I have long been very aware of Satan's penchant for using fear to manipulate and stifle the people of God. That is such a classic tactic that it should be a no-brainer to unmask and avoid. But fear lies at the very root of our fallen nature and controls us through the heart, not the mind. As such it is one of the greatest battles that anyone has to face. Feeling vulnerable to having my sense of value diminished, while cognitively is something I can perceive, still is a major threat when it comes to my heart feelings. And it is what we believe in the heart much more than what we believe in the head that determines our course of action and our decisions under pressure.

But as I thought about this verse this morning I could almost hear the Spirit say quite plainly to me, If you are unwilling to face your fears of persecution, of people attacking what you believe in the wrong spirit; if you don't deal with this vulnerability in your character, then in reality you are unwilling to live a godly life in Christ Jesus. I sense that this is simply a statement of reality, a law of the universe that is unavoidable and non-negotiable just as much as gravity. It is a choice of one option or the other. If avoiding conflict takes precedence over accountability to God's directions in my life personally, then the alternative to suffering persecution will be a life that is not godly from heaven's perspective.

I do not have to go to the other extreme and try to stir up opposition to me in order to live godly. That is just as un-godlike as avoiding confrontation at all costs. But I am realizing more clearly as I take time to meditate on this that God wants me to listen to what He has to say to my heart about this and cooperate with whatever plans He has for me in this area. I am in desperate need of boldness while still maintaining a spirit of meekness and humility. And those are not mutually exclusive character traits.

I suspect that possibly everyone is sooner or later going to have to make a decision on this point and maybe it is time for me to face it more openly. If I am really serious about living a godly life in Christ Jesus – and I am – then I have to allow the Spirit to expose these vulnerable areas of weakness in my soul and give Him permission to began seriously launching some major healing and repair operations inside of me.

As I read through the next few verses I began to also see some other exciting things that I have never noticed before. But right now I think I will leave this here since I still don't feel well enough to focus very long.

I would love to hear your thoughts on this subject if you feel convicted in this area or if you just have some good counsel for me. I am just as much in need of admonition and encouragement as everyone else in the body.