“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law” (Galatians 5:22-23).
I have already revisited this post, but I find that God occasionally has more to say on a particular subject. So, here we go…
When God lead me to start blogging, I NEVER dreamed how much of myself I would share, because I am a VERY private person, so much so, I am even private about boring and mundane aspects of my life. Despite my tendency to keep things to myself, I have written about everything from spiritual encounters, to struggling with anxiety and depression, to addiction and promiscuity, opening up about my sexuality, and all of the excruciating heartbreak that accompanied. In the past, I have tended to downplay the heartache, but the tears I shed shouldn’t be belittled. “Jesus said to him, ‘Shall I come and heal him?’” (Matthew 8:7).
A particular thorn in my flesh has been one of the greatest blessings of my life. Through what has easily been the greatest pain I have endured thus far, God has brought joy into my life. Through what the enemy intended for my destruction, God Almighty used to show me his immeasurable and abounding grace. Through repentance, God breathed life into my brokenness; He continues to breathe into it today. We are all born into brokenness and sin, so the “I was born that way” justification doesn’t hold water biblically. I was born with an infliction; I came into this world a homosexual. And please spare me the well-intentioned comments that I could not have born gay, for that is not the issue on the table today. Indeed, God made me perfect, but whether I like it or not, sin corrupted me the moment I came into this world. So now, let us move on from that potential stumbling block, and be all that more grateful for the redeeming work of Jesus Christ in our lives.
Jesus said in Matthew 19 that some were born eunuchs, some were made eunuchs, and other chose to live like eunuchs, and Jesus, Himself, stressed that this was not an easy teaching to accept. In fact, I suspect that Matthew 19 was a tough day, all the way around, for those listening. “Jesus replied, ‘Not everyone can accept this word, but only those to whom it has been given. For there are eunuchs who were born that way, and there are eunuchs who have been made eunuchs by others—and there are those who choose to live like eunuchs for the sake of the kingdom of heaven. The one who can accept this should accept it” (11-12). God spoke this word to me, and the word convicted my heart, and although it would take nearly a decade later to begin to manifest in my outward life, I finally began to step into part of my calling for the sake of the kingdom of heaven. As Paul wrote to those in Corinth, “I wish that all of you were as I am. But each of you has your own gift from God; one has this gift, another has that” (1 Corinthians 7:7). And I share this private, sensitive, and yes, even embarrassing, witness in order to boast in the Lord.
In reference to the title, this may not turn out to be my greatest thorn, although it has been plenty great, and my greatest blessing has been the redeeming work of Christ putting together the broken pieces of my life. Again, I recognize the miracle revealed in endurance; there’s a reason why God’s power is made perfect in weakness (2 Corinthians 12:9). Therefore, have I arrived at the finish line? Do I have all the answers? Do I claim to be anything mighty in of myself? The answer to all these question is the same; a resounding no. Therefore, I won’t be bestowing any lofty titles upon myself today, nor will I claim to have my ear to God’s lips. Not at all. It’s easy to exalt ourselves, as many do, but it’s a long way down from atop that pedestal. “For those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted” (Matthew 23:12). I struggle too much with pride as it is; I don’t wish to consciously give the enemy any leeway to gain entrance to wreak havoc in my life. I wouldn’t be here if it weren’t for the love of God. God pursued me, even in the midst of willful depravity, God pressed me, and when the appointed time arrived, I surrendered, and the Lord was there, with a smile on His face no less, ready to embrace me. Oh what we might have said of Paul just one day prior to that faithful trip to Damascus; probably nothing different than the apostle may have said himself.
“But the one who does not know and does things deserving punishment will be beaten with few blows. From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked” (Luke 12:48). I hear (present day) prophets speak, and some messages I reject right off, while other messages, which the Spirit has confirmed to me, I accept, but in just about in every case, which I’ve encountered, so far, I find each prophet’s message somehow corrupted with their humanity; their brokenness is made apparent in their interpretations. I recognize that we’re all broken and other than scripture, which I believe to be infallible and inspired by God, I struggle with anyone who sets themselves high atop a pedestal. In my spirit, I can give exceeding understanding to the humble, but to the proud, I have less to give. If you herald yourself as being in close communion with the Spirit, or bestow upon yourself some lofty title, then I expect close to perfection from you. What’s more, I believe the church is much further off than most realize, both corporately as well as individually; this is what God has spoken to my heart. It is for this reason, at least in part, that I must be bold, including boasting about my own thorns, all the more, and all the more, in turn, glorify the power and goodness of God. We must all decrease, so that He [Christ] may increase (John 3:30), and by Christ increasing, He lifts us up to heights we can’t even begin to imagine! (2 Corinthians 12:1-5). After all, if the more God gives us, the more that will be expected on the day of judgement, then how much more might God expect from those who give to themselves?
What a day so far! Watch, the post in which I air things most personal will be the post more than 50 people read lol, but that’s actually a good thing! God has been most patient with me, but the time for being timid and subtlety is over. Besides, I’m happy to play the fool, if I play the fool for the Lord. Agree or disagree, I pray that everyone who reads this post, if nothing else, recognizes that it is heartfelt. I am not my own; I never was. Christ has set me free! May God bless you, who read this post.
The biblical account of the faith of the centurion has always touched my heart in a special way (Matthew 8; Luke 7). The Roman Empire was an extremely oppressive regime, and centurion work was a brutal and bloody business, so I can’t begin to imagine the reality and depth of the brokenness of that man. Yet, the reality and depth of his faith was one of the two times, in scripture, I believe Jesus is said to have marveled. The centurion didn’t consider himself worthy to come to Jesus in person let alone that Jesus should enter his house, and like the centurion, I realize that I am not worthy. But also as with the centurion, my faith redeems me, except that faith is not of myself. “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast” (Ephesians 2:8-9). Now, I’m the one who’s marveling; therefore, I will continue to speak boldly about my own walk with the Lord, but I will continue to tread neither blindly nor with indifference, but lightly, most certainly, where others are concerned, especially where I clearly recognize God’s grace at work. God is changing my heart and my life in His time and in ways I do not so far have words to adequately express. “Then Jesus said to his disciples, ‘Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it'” (Matthew 16:24-25).
“Or do you not know that wrongdoers will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor men who have sex with men nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God” (1 Corinthians 6:9-10). And let’s not forget about greed and selfish ambition (Galatians 5:19-21), both of which the world, including much of the church, has distorted into a virtue. Therefore, it would be easy for me to give myself an extremely self-righteous pat on the back, but then I’d have to question what other idols remain (Insert the sound of a record player abruptly stopping here). Indeed, I may no longer be mastered by my sexuality; I may have set down the desire for human love and companionship, and yes, sexual relations, before the Master’s feet, but what else endeavors to enslave me? What other strongholds are the Spirit still working out within me? I can think of several, in fact. Enter God’s loving patience, which is leading me to repentance, and I find that out of my profound gratitude, the Holy Spirit producing good fruit in me. “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law” (Galatians 5:22-23). I spent several years, in the beginning of my walk, approaching scripture in order to justify desires of my flesh; desires that seemed to be of my heart. In hindsight, I sought what I could do and still be saved, but the Lord was patient with me then, as He continues to show me kindness and patience now, as I continue working out my salvation (Philippians 2:12).
In. Genesis 3:1, the serpent, which was more crafty than any of the wild animals God had made, asked Eve, “Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden?’” Satan assured Eve that she would not die; furthermore, the fruit was good for food and pleasing to the eye. We know that Satan masquerades as an angel of light (2 Corinthians 11:14), and his works can appear godly in order to deceive us (Isaiah 5:20), but you don’t need to be an apostle or a prophet to hear from heaven. You don’t need to have dreams or visions to discern God’s will. To hear God, you need only His Word and to listen. Scripture provides perfect direction on handling any and every situation life throws at us; the answers are all there. In the same way the believers at Philippi had been plagued with internal strife, the apostle Paul gave them the antidote, which they were to apply (2:12), by having the mind of Jesus Christ. God is good!
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