Does this sound familiar? (click here)
Have you ever felt like you were in a box and desperately needed out?Perhaps this box was a box of someone else’s design . I am not talking about a physical box necessarily but one constructed with rules and laws someone else made and held together by very strong emotions.
Recently I found myself trapped in one of those boxes. I was simply strolling along in my thoughts, meditating on the goodness of the Lord and the journey He has taken me on. A journey like nothing I could have even imagined where I’ve climbed the highest of mountains, stood breathless amazed by the view and captured by the euphoria of it all. And yet while on that same journey found myself pulled into the deep unfathomable depths of discouragement, swirling, swirling headed for despair.
As I was contemplating the mountain tops and how quickly you can plummet to the depths and how it is possible to pull out of the plunge, God spoke in that still small voice. I pressed in so I wouldn’t miss what He was saying, “Tell them what you have learned.” I ponder that for a moment, and I ask “What I have learned?” “Yes the things I’ve taught you, teach others also.”
I’ve learned a lot over the years, just what am I to share? And again I hear His voice, “those things that enable you to pull out of the plunge.” I began contemplating what those were.
In the middle of this time of contemplation David and I were writing a blog on Spiritual Disciplines. It’s really a shame that is not emphasized in our church’s much, but is key to the spiritual growth of believers. Jesus and Paul have a lot to say on the subject so imagine how surprised I was to hear the lid slam shut on a box that, up until that point, I didn’t even know existed.
We found ourselves in a dark and suffocating place, where the walls kept squeezing relentlessly waiting to hear us cry “Uncle”! I was frustrated and kicking at the sides for all I was worth. The harder I kicked and the more I tried to explain, the more pressure the hand that was clamped over my mouth exerted and the louder the hissing was in my ear. The voice that claimed to be protecting the family of God from wolves in sheep’s clothing, yet at the same time accusing us of being “one of them”.
At the point of exhaustion, I sat down, sucking in air and not wanting to let any escape.
It was then that once again, I heard that still small voice. Lest I run the risk of being stuffed back into a box I had previously been trapped in I admit, I believe God spoke to me. He said “Don’t let them distract you from what you know to be truth and what I’ve told you to do and stuff you into their box. Stand firm in the truth you know, it doesn’t need defending and you’ll never convince them otherwise.”
You know them. They are self appointed guardians of a truth of their own understanding. They make up rules and dare you to break them and when you do they go straight for the juggler ready to take you out before you even know what hit you!
But isn’t that what the Pharisees did? Throughout His entire ministry the Pharisees followed Jesus around trying to cram Him into a box that they had designed, with special attention paid to the details.They had created their own rules, 633 to be exact. They dared Jesus and His disciples to break them.
But break them they did! He
- healed on the Sabbath.
- ate with tax collectors.
- touched the coffin of a dead man when He raised him from the dead.
- spoke to an adulterous Gentile woman.
- prepared and ate grain on the Sabbath.
- didn’t wash hands before eating.
Jesus valued people over man made rules! He came to rock their world and kick the lids off man’s homemade boxes. He came to set the captives free!
Boxes come in all shapes, sizes and colors. Some are designed according to:
- How you should look or act
- What you say, not only verbally but in writing as well
- Where you go
- Who you hang out with
- What church/denomination you are a affiliated with
- What Bible translation you use and the list goes on………….
Do any of these look like boxes you have designed? Yes, I did go there. You see if we aren’t careful we all have the potential to create boxes. That is one of those things The Lord has been teaching me and wants me to teach others also. :)
So be on guard lest you find yourself designing your own line of boxes!
Let’s start a conversation! Share with us a time you found yourself inside another person’s box!
As always am blessed by your words and as always God has opened a door for me to see my ‘own line of boxes’; which today, I plan to make gifts of surrender. Love you, my friend and thank you for sharing Truth. I need you to always share it!
I love they way you said you will make your own line of boxes “gifts of surrender”. I too have “gifts to surrender”. Love you!
The boxes of our own making or by others are indeed a challenge to our spiritual and physical health. I have found it a tactic of the evil one to distract our focus from our High Priest to ourself. When I view my life from my point of view I see the limitations that my circumstances provide. However when I immediately force myself out of obedience to thank God for His character and what He has accomplished in my life I eventually begin to see His point of view. It is at this moment that I can praise and thank Him from a heart that is not only acting out of obedience but out of a love and appreciation for Him whose plans are always good.
I grew up in the very pretty box that I had made called “legalism”. I carried my box with me wherever I went, “showing it off” to everyone. I was quick to give my list of self-righteous acts that I do and not do, I didn’t see the depth of my own depravity. Oh yes Jesus had saved me but then I really took it from there and became very good on my own merits, not the prodigal son but “the older brother” mentality, spewing out judgement and condemnation, trying to keep my “box” looking so pretty, and better than others.
One day as I was listening to the preacher he said “you are an adultery, and Jesus came to your door and saw you with another lover, instead of slamming the door and walking away, he went to the cross and died for you…” The weight of those words came crushing down on my pretty box, I am no different than the prostitute on the street and yet I am working for man’s approval and to show how “good” I am. My box of self-rightous-legalism was crushed by the weight of the cross and the goodness and mercy of God.
Now my journey is in progress, but I want to follow passionately hard after HIM, not because of how it makes me look, but because of His great grace, mercy and love toward me and I want Him to get the Glory…
Teri, I so appreciate your honesty here. Most of us probably have similar testimonies if we would be honest with ourselves and others. Thanks for sharing!