Lord, start with me

What a week it’s been. Turbulent, frightening, thought-provoking, disturbing, enraging, sorrowful – you might want to add your own word there. I turned off the television last night after 15 minutes disgusted with the pundits of the Left and Right. Flipping from one “news” channel to the next I heard nothing but raw propaganda purposefully shaped to inflame rather than to inform. My time on Facebook was equally disturbing: hateful, biased, uninformed, blaming, and racist comments.  I went to bed troubled in heart, filled with questions, and fell asleep in prayer for insight, for wisdom, for change that starts with me.

I must pause to make this lengthy disclaimer –  There is enough self-awareness in me to realize that as a 65 year old white male with conservative leanings, I have blind spots, probably some big ones. This blog, as thoughtful as I may try to be, as prayerful as I am for the Spirit’s wisdom, will include “Jerry” – a man who distrusts government, who believes in self-reliance, who values order, who is a passionate about authenticity, who loves Christ and His Church, who loves grace and redemption, who has known life in largely rural settings, etc. Have my ideals evolved over the years? I certainly hope so, God helping me. Is there a ways to go? Yes, there is! Asking the hard questions of myself is unpleasant. Admitting to feelings that are unworthy of Christ, my Lord, is painful. I want to settle into my old comfortable ways, to ‘shut out’ the protests, to just get things back to ‘normal,’ like so many of us who have never known real discrimination.

America’s real problem is not political, it is spiritual. Before you heave a sigh and say, “Oh, yeah, here he goes. Here comes the old stuff about prayer in school, abortion on demand, and gay marriage,” let me hasten to say that it’s much more, way deeper, than those things. We have become worshipers of other gods – Money and Self our top gods.  Even many Christians do not truly ‘serve’ God, though they may say they do. Their “God” exists to serve their needs. Prayers are mostly ‘bless me’ petitions focused on personal health, wealth, and comfort.

Radical discipleship that calls for the death of Self is nearly incomprehensible to the majority of Christians, simply making no sense to us, for we love self-fulfillment, personal rights, and self-expression. We talk about God but the God of the Scripture no longer exists for most of us. He cannot command our hearts, cannot judge our actions because we have made Him too small, too trivial, peripheral to our ‘real’ life not the core of our existence, the One Who gives us life and meaning.  Arrogantly we define God instead of God defining us. Yes, where we are as a nation is the logical outcome of our 100 year march towards the exaltation of SELF, the gradual elimination of the holy and majestic Lord from our consciousness.  He has not forsaken us, we have forsaken Him.  We proudly believed that technology would save us, that education would reform us, that laws would restrain us. And the last 3 months have revealed their empty promises.

How can we change? The basic choices we need to make include humbling ourselves, repentance ( going past regret), entering into prolonged silence, and earnestly asking God to reveal Himself to us.

Jesus told us that there are just 2 commands.”‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’” (Matthew 22:37-39, NIV)  Ask the Holy Spirit to give understanding about what He meant. Ask yourself if you really love God more than life itself.  Ask if you love the ‘other’ (black, white, rich, poor, male, female) like you love yourself.  IF you come up short, and you will, because we are all sinners, there is an answer.  At the end of ourselves there is Jesus Christ. He is found in repentance and received by faith.

There is so much to say, but I will stop there today. Here is a word from the Word. Please go beyond just reading it. Spend some time with the Living Word allowing for the Scripture to transform your mind and heart.

“When we were utterly helpless, Christ came at just the right time and died for us sinners. Now, no one is likely to die for a good person, though someone might be willing to die for a person who is especially good. But God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners. And since we have been made right in God’s sight by the blood of Christ, he will certainly save us from God’s judgment. For since we were restored to friendship with God by the death of his Son while we were still his enemies, we will certainly be delivered from eternal punishment by his life.” (Romans 5:6-10, NLT)

“And so, dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice—the kind he will accept. When you think of what he has done for you, is this too much to ask? Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will know what God wants you to do, and you will know how good and pleasing and perfect his will really is.” (Romans 12:1-2, NLT)


Change my heart, O God,
make it ever true,
Change my heart, O God,
may I be like You.

You are the Potter,
I am the clay,
Mold me and make me,
this is what I pray.

Change my heart, O God,
may I be like You.

— Eddy Espinosa

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