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!