Wednesday, March 14

Disciplined Mind - Poise & Balance

Achievable balance is a goal that I aim for each day. At the completion of a full week, I access the order, consistency, and purpose. It is not hard to figure out, if I have allowed myself to be distracted to the detriment of my achieving anything worthwhile. There can be so many pursuits and time wasters.

Last week, I figuratively fell into the arms of adversity. It overwhelmed me for three days, and I could not shield myself from the blows that fell. I bowed and surrenders to the burdens of life, but I did not allow myself to be broken by them.

We all have a story, and without a doubt, I know God will use my present, to heal the hurts of other's past, and inspire the lives of many women who hope and dream of achieving more balance and extraordinary goals.

There is nothing that we suffer without an Eternal purpose. Every hardship, challenge, pothole, or even pit, has a Divine purpose. We must never forget, good and bad are "Father Filtered." He allows it all!

We achieve balance by bringing all our faculties and powers under control. As a result, we have poise and grace; not panicking or indulging in maudlin self-pity when tossed by crosscurrents.
You are not alone in your battle! Fix your eyes on Jesus. The life of a Believer must come to a place of resolving that, God alone, in the midst of our trials and suffering, our triumphs and achievements, is in control and ever present in our hour of need, and our moment of glory. He is all sufficient, through our various deficiencies.

After three days of facing and acknowledging the tough stuff in my life, I aligned myself with a friend, who has suffered more than most of us will ever collectively encounter. If there were ever a female Job, my friend is a living testimony; inspirational, real, and full of grace. She has risen courageously and heroically, to meet death, life, and everything else in between - and conquer it!

We must resolutely face our duties and be governed by a sense of responsibility. As a Believer, we all have inward resources and personal reserves, which are the wonder of weaker souls. I have learned to bring adversity under tribute, and to compel it to serve me. When I am broken, my spirit still soars.

When our mind controls our actions, we will always loose. You cannot trust the inconsistency of your thoughts and actions. They must be aligned, assessed, and disciplined daily. The battlefield is not our problems. The war we face in our lives is in the thoughts and imaginations of our minds.

It is a wonderful age in which we live—an age of technology, which puts a world of information at our fingertips. Unfortunately, our fingers can do more walking down the information highway than God ever intended. There is danger on this road, and it is strewn with the carcasses of many good men and women, who never thought they would end up as road kill—men and women who partook in pleasures that were laced with the consequences of sin. The information highway is not a new road; it has merely been renamed. One man who walked this path before us was
King David. He didn't fall into sin via a computer monitor, but he fell nonetheless. And what a price he paid! It’s all recorded in one of the most famous chapters of the Bible—Psalm 51, the recorded prayer of David after he had committed adultery and followed it with a murder to cover his lover's pregnancy. Instead of a prompt repentance, David ran from God for an entire year.
While he ran, he littered the roadway with such grief and woe that he was compelled to write about it to warn those who would follow.

I urge you to take a moment and read Psalm 51 in its entirety before continuing so you can more fully comprehend the following descriptions of the awful suffering David endured because of sexual sin. Today’s lesson examines the consequences of David’s sin. David heard the story of a man’s little ewe lamb (2 Samuel 12:1-4). While still running from God, David was approached by the courageous prophet Nathan, who was sent by God on a holy mission of confrontation. Nathan wisely appealed to the protective nature of the king in relating a story about two neighbors. One man was wealthy, surrounded by enormous herds of cattle and flocks of sheep. Nearby lived a poor man whose only solace in life was a single little ewe lamb, which he loved like a daughter. It had grown up with his children. It ate from the family table, and even napped with her master.

As custom dictated, when a traveler stopped for the night at the rich man's home, his host was obligated to provide him a bed and a meal. However, instead of killing one of his own sheep, the miserly man stole the poor man’s ewe lamb, killed it, and dressed it for dinner. David demanded the death penalty for the rich man (II Samuel 12:5-6). Upon hearing this tale from Nathan, David was so angered that he demanded the death penalty for the rich man as well as a four-fold restoration of the poor man's losses. Here was a king who had stolen a wife and killed a man, and he was sitting in judgment of someone who only stole an animal. David's spirit had been drastically altered by the influence of unforsaken sin. David was confronted by Nathan about the sins of Bathsheba and Uriah in II Samuel 12:7-12. Nathan uttered the famous words: “Thou art the man.” On behalf of God, this prophet told David that God had made him king, delivered him from Saul, and given him houses and wives; and if that had been too little, God would have given David more. As Nathan spoke, David heard his most secret sins revealed.

David confessed his sin. In II Samuel 12:13, he said, “I have sinned against the Lord.” The healing began for David with his confession. He later penned Psalm 51.

Warnings for Believers

Sin soils the soul - Psalms 51:1-2 A Psalm of David, when Nathan the prophet came unto him, after he had gone in to Bathsheba. "Have mercy upon me, O God, according to thy lovingkindness: according unto the multitude of thy tender mercies blot out my transgressions. Wash me throughly from mine iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin." David asked God to relieve him of the filthy feeling that permeated his soul. David, like every sexual sinner, realized that the chronic filthiness he felt was not of the body but of the spirit. No human effort or royal power can remove that chronic, nagging germ. But if left alone, it can wreak havoc in the spirit.
This story was shared with me by one of the greatest physiologist's and counselors, I have ever had the privilege of being under. "I was a corpsman in the Navy, I sutured serious wounds in the Emergency Ward. We were trained to create a sterile field around the wound before suturing. I would scrub around the wound with Phisohex, a strong anti-bacterial soap, flush the wound with copious amounts of sterile saline, lay a sterile sheet around the wound opening, and finally don surgical gloves before beginning. The most curious step to me was why we bothered the flushing with the saline. But when I saw a patient return with an infection, I knew why. He had been sutured by a doctor notorious for his infected patients. The corpsmen had dubbed the physician "Dr. Pus Fingers" and for good reason. I saw a red and swollen wound, oozing pus and straining at the sutures. We had to cut the sutures, reopen the wound, debride the dead flesh, flush it out again, and then re-suture. A few microscopic staphylococcus germs closed up in a wound did all that damage."

Before you waste your energy trying to obtain a disciplined mind, you must first access the secret sins in your soul, or you will fail. Trying to deal with your sin without first cleaning out the wound will have the same result. You have a germ in your soul, a cancer in your spirit. It is multiplying and spreading corruption. To congratulate yourself because the wound has been closed while nobody is the wiser is the height of foolishness. Like David, you need a thorough cleansing.

Sin saturates the mind - Psalms 51:3  "For I acknowledge my transgressions: and my sin is ever before me. Day and night, night and day, David's sin thundered in his mind. When he awoke in the morning, he thought of his sin. When he laid down at night, he thought of his sin. The troubling thoughts lingered on the periphery of his thoughts, ready at the first sign of mental relaxation to reenter his mind and destroy his peace. His mind was constantly filled with the fear of his sin’s being revealed to others. When you indulged in your sexual sin, you had thoughts only for the pleasure at hand. All consciousness of future penalty was pushed from your awareness; and each time it began to surface in your conscience, you pushed it back with a new wave of pleasure. But now, the breaches of your conscience outnumber the pleasures with which to attack them. Wave after wave of guilt, fear of exposure, and the gnawing truth of your wretchedness mount an unyielding attack upon every flimsy fortress of peace you try to erect. As David said, your sin is ever before you.

Sin stings the conscience - Psalms 51:6  "Behold, thou desirest truth in the inward parts: and in the hidden part thou shalt make me to know wisdom." "The inward parts" refer to that part of man that houses the memory, the imagination—and most notably—the conscience. David knew that God wanted him to be brutally honest and totally transparent about what he had done. There is no greater a servant nor crueler a master than the conscience. No longer a servant, the conscience becomes a heartless overlord, striking with the stinging whip of guilt at any time, seemingly for its own pleasure. It is a constant challenge to keep current accounts with God and keep the conscience clean. Paul makes this clear when he referred to this process as "exercise” in Acts 24:16, which says, “And herein do I exercise myself, to have always a conscience void of offence toward God, and toward men.”

There is a higher purpose behind the conscience. It is an automatic guidance system, installed in the cockpit of your heart to ensure your safety. To ignore its signal is to do so at your own peril. How many times do you think you can do that without a penalty? Done often enough, the conscience will become dulled, then defiled. (See 1 Corinthians 8:7.) It is possible to nullify the conscience through repetitions of such abuse. In time your conscience can become seared and ultimately silent, so much so that you can eventually get to the place where your glory is in your shame (Philippians 3:19), and you call evil good and good evil (Isaiah 5:20). David had the sensitivity to the voice of God to stop defiling his conscience. He wanted to be right with his Heavenly Father. He was tired of running.

Sin saddens the heart - David lost his joy and his gladness. He appealed to God to restore them, because God is the only One Who can. David’s wealth meant nothing at that moment. Why? Mark 8:36 "For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?" Without the fellowship of His God, the offerings of the world held no interest for him.

How to Experience Absolute ForgivenessDavid knew that God was the only source of joy for him. It was David who had written in Psalm 16:11b, "In thy presence is fulness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore." What joy can a sexual sin ever give you? What life would it breathe into your soul? Paul asked in Romans 6:21, "What fruit had ye then in those things whereof ye are now ashamed? for the end of those things is death."

Please note, that David asked that the "joy" be restored, not the salvation itself. He had a clear understanding of the difference between losing his fellowship with God and losing his relationship with God.

Sin sickens the body - It is estimated that 90 percent of all physical illnesses are psychosomatic in origin. In other words, they result, not from organic causes, but emotional ones.

King David agreed. When he wrote, "the bones which thou hast broken," he was using poetic
license to describe the literal physical misery he was enduring because of his sin. The modern day equivalent of David's language would be, "I felt absolutely crushed." Have you ever been so sad, so depressed, and so miserable of spirit that you could almost feel the sensation of a physical weight or pressure upon your chest? David did because of the results of his sin. But the sickened body might not only be figurative; it can be literal. In David’s day, as in ours, sexually transmitted diseases were prevalent. James 1:15 says that sin brings death. Sins such as drunkenness and drug use have consequences that bring obvious injury to the body.

Sin sours the spirit - Upon hearing the tale from Nathan, David was so angered that he demanded the death penalty for the rich man, as well as a four-fold restoration of the poor man's losses. Here was a king who had stolen a wife and killed a man, and he was sitting in judgment of someone who only stole an animal. How critical sin can make you! David's spirit had been drastically altered by the influence of unforsaken sin. Romans 2:1 teaches that harsh judgment of others reveals the presence of similar sin in the life.

sinner wants to demonstrate an air of moral superiority and public condemnation, perhaps to put off the unsuspecting observers by his vehement piety. After all, how could such a strident enemy of immorality ever be guilty of it himself?

There is another reason for this sour spirit of condemnation. In every person there is a delicate scale of equilibrium that we need to balance to maintain normalcy. One side of the scale contains guilt, and the other side contains blame. When the finger of God pushes down on the guilt side, you feel out of kilter and off balance. At that point you have one of two options: You can take responsibility for your sin, confess it, and forsake it; and immediately the scale is back to level, because God removes His finger. On the other hand, you can choose to achieve parity by pushing down on the other side of the scale marked “blame.” By majoring on the blame game, the guilty party enjoys a perverted sense of balance and equilibrium. What is the solution? When David was confronted by Nathan, he humbly said the three words spoken by only ten men in the Scriptures: "I have sinned." He took full responsibility for his sins, blaming nobody but himself. This was the beginning place of his spiritual healing and restoration.

Sin silences the tongue - Psalm 51:14 "Deliver me from bloodguiltiness, O God, thou God of my salvation: and my tongue shall sing aloud of thy righteousness." The greatest musician of Israel had hung his harp in the closet. The most talented of her songwriters had buried his pen in the sand. Why? He had nothing to sing about. All of his inspiration had dried up. Whereas before, the joy of the Lord was his strength, he now had no energy. His honesty dictated that he not defile the honor of God by hypocritically honoring Him in song when he dishonored Him in life.

What does a Christian man have to say when his heart is wrong? How can he bring any good message out of a corrupt heart?

For one full year all David’s talent was dissipated. Think of what David could have done for God had David not left His side. Think of the wasted years of your life, dear friend. How much money have you spent on your sexual habits? How much time and energy have you pilfered in the pursuit of fleshly gratification? How corrupted has your testimony become because of your sinful heart? How many people would have heard of Christ had you been faithful? Isn't it time
you sought forgiveness of your sin so you can once again "sing aloud of thy righteousness” (Psalm 51:14)?
  • David knew the meaning of "my sin is ever before me." Do you?
  • Are you tired of running from the admission of your sin? However long the journey and however fast you may run, you can never outrun your conscience. David realized that God "desireth truth in the inward parts," and he was willing to be honest. You must choose to either tell the truth or continue to lie to God and to yourself.
  • Is the depression you now experience a good trade for what God has for you? Do you want to "hear joy and gladness" once again?
  • Do you take full responsibility for your sins? Do you confess them to God? Do you confess them to the people you have injured?
I want that "joy and gladness" amidst my trials and triumphs. It is so easy to enjoy the highs and endure the lows. God desires for us to fulfill His purpose, and embrace every day, fully trusting in His promises and experiencing victory. How much time has been wasted in life, through allowing our mind to take us to places that serve no other purpose, than self-gratification and sin? God has so much more for us.

In our next lesson, we will continue learning to discipline our minds. The greatest struggle for most of us in life, is conquering our minds.

I believe in you,

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