Nov. 21, 2020

When Feeling Low

Here are some ways to rise up! Especially in this time of chaos and uncertainty. The world is never “safe” or “secure.” The sooner we realize that the better. Because when the world offers its brand of peace and security, then comes destruction: it’s a ruse!

Sometimes I think that part of what it boils down to is more and more we need to see ourself as redeemed and precious to God, Who "cared enough", as the old Hallmark card ad said, "to send the very best." We are children of the Most High, ransomed by our Elder Brother Jesus and adopted in our Baptism into His family. It really helps to read and to think about Jesus’ incarnation, His birth - especially as Christmas approaches again. I used to think I had to come up with all sorts of high sounding things, “really spiritual” things, so to speak, and that to just go back to the old basics about Jesus and the Gospel was kids’ stuff. But it’s not! It’s so important. Because we must be as little Children, according to Jesus.

Can you imagine all He gave up to come here to this troubled planet, with its messed up people, politics, sin, suffering, and outright corruption and stench - to be born of an unwed Virgin Mother in human flesh, in a barn. To live a life in basic ignominy, and to die on a cross, so that our sin could be put to death through His death, and that we could be raised up with Him. For you, for me - with hardly anyone understanding at the time what that was all about? He did this for you, for me, for ALL! And now He prays for you. He prepares a place for you to live forever in righteousness, innocence, and blessedness! NOTHING can separate you from His love. And EVERYTHING is working for the good of those who love Him and are called according to His purpose.

After all these years of trying to be sophisticated, I came back full circle to the simplicity of the cross, and HOW MUCH GOD LOVES ME, to die for me like that! There’s NOTHING I have that He needs. I am needy, a beggar, who rejoices in His goodness. I am found by Him, like an old sunken derelict ship, dredged up from the bottom of the sea, but now undergoing salvage (salvation!!!). Oh, He wants to make me shining and sea worthy again, so I can sail into eternity on the Winds of his Spirit into heavenly glory.

He wants this for you too! 

We need to hold the focus there, a Gospel focus, a good news reality, as much as possible - yet at the same time go on to maturity. If I see myself as a doormat, only a part of the “Internet of things”, then that focus fogs out the love with which God loves me. He does not regard me as a doormat, or as an object, or a slave, but as a son. But Satan wants us to see ourself like that - as objects. He's the ultimate condemner and accuser. He wants nothing but to condemn us and for us to feel condemned and in despair. The picture he paints is always a dark one, bringing up every worry, and every regret - so that all we do is painfully pine over the past or project anxiety into tomorrow. So we see everything through a very, very dark lens! 

This is where we MUST apply the Gospel, because he's accusing and condemning us under the Law where all we do is despair! This is spiritual battle in the courts of Heaven. But we have Jesus interceding on our behalf, as those for whom He paid the death penalty already, having shed His blood to do so.

1 Thessalonians 5:12-18, reminds us, "Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you." This is a great encourager to not respond in kind (or according to our perceptions), or render evil for evil, but to rise above current events (personal or political) in the understanding of Who is really in charge. This is a wonderful admonition, especially with Thanksgiving on the way, and the Christmas season to follow.

Giving of thanks and praise helps us acknowledge this, as we receive the spiritual boost and the evil one gets the boot. It's amazing what something as easy as singing the Doxology can do, especially when in the midst of a personal pity party. (I have them too. Often!) It's spiritual warfare. 

“Praise God from Whom ALL BLESSINGS flow. 

Praise Him all creatures here below! 

Praise Him above, ye heavenly host! 

Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost!”

You’d be amazed at how often I have to do this, or something like it. And I have to keep punching it, until the clouds are pierced through by the Light of the Son! My personality is naturally a very dark, moody, brooding one, so I must arm myself like this. There are ways to row where the River of Grace does flow.

He knows our weaknesses, and still loves us so! And His promise is that, according to Romans 8:1,2 (NKJV) - “There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death.”

And one more thing: There are times when something has been communicated to us by the Holy Spirit as we read, study, and pray. God is blessing us; Satan is messing with us. The devil will challenge it. Sometimes he knocks us off our feet, like something coming out of the blue. This is how, paradoxically, we grow and learn from experience. He challenges truth. He challenges God’s Love. Always. Often by pulling us back to keep seeing things, circumstances, or ourself in a sort of dark way… Even this constant pounding at our minds that we are no more than pawns of the state or the technocrats! That is not our Father’s view of us in Jesus! So we have to learn how to fight, and who to fight, and what the game is.

Life is full of ups and downs. But we need to arm ourself with the truth of the simple Gospel: “Jesus loves me; this I KNOW!” It takes time. Simple praise helps, “But You are holy, Enthroned in the praises of Israel.” Ps 22:3. He’s in that. Keep praising Him, and the devil exits the room. Never give up. It transforms the mind, renews it - the beginning of repentance.

There are good things on the way. That too will be challenged. If the Accuser can’t rob you of the blessing, he will try to make you so miserable, you’ll miss it. He comes through the mind, the thoughts, the feelings. it helps to know that our Father in Heaven loves us enough to send His very best, not based on any merit of our own.

Soli Deo Gloria!

 

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