Wednesday, May 27, 2015
My youngest son, Jesse, loves to put a quarter in the gumball machine at twelve oaks mall.
It sits directly in front of the pet store and he knows the route in which to get there.
He bubbles up with excitement, as he white-knuckle grips his precious and sacred quarter in the palm of his left hand, while holding my hand in the other.
He eagerly expresses to me, repeatedly, how excited he is to get his gumball, all while skipping from the car directly to the pet store.
Over the last number of months, his eagerness has been met with a simple white sign that states "out-of-order" taped to the front. His lit-up joyous face takes seconds to dissipate. His joy is stolen. His eagerness is squelched. His hope of what he thought would happen is shortly severed.
The question I'm asking myself this morning, how often do I live a life with a simple 'out-of-order' sign taped to my soul?
And Just as the sigh disappointment engulfs Jesse's spirit at the sight of that white paper with three words in black stating 'out-of-order,' so it is when we encounter others (or ourselves) with this same taped paper reading the words we often ache to read.
We breathe that same sigh of disappointment.
It's a let down.
It's a source of discouragement.
It's a grief felt deep in the fiber of our being.
But what if this person is you, is me, is us, is them?
What if I'm the out-of-order one who has the key to life & joy at my finger tip, but feel as if I'm a continued source of discouragement and disappointment to others & myself?
Have you ever been there? I have.
It's a slow torture knowing you've been designed for a specific task (like providing a gum ball to a child to make them smile) and not operating out of my God given design. The white paper of shame stating "out-of-order" is a blatant continual reminder I'm not living or providing God, myself and others with what I was designed to do.
Webster defines 'out-of-order' as "Not in the correct sequence."
Pausing, I stare in amazement at the the simplicity of these five words.... reminded of God's desire to keep Him first in all I believe, think, feel and do.... but do I?
Is it possible, than, if anything or anyone is first before Him, spirals me into an out-of-order life? And if so, then what?
And as God usually undeservingly does, He revealed illuminating truth off His pages of Hope yesterday afternoon.
I caught a glimpse of God declaring the deep significance of 'right-order' VS. 'out-of-order' living in James 3:16:
"For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you will find DISORDER and evil of every kind."
Could it be this simple, yet powerful verse is the key component to identifying an out-of-order life? Lets go back for a moment.... James states if there is jealousy or selfish ambition of any kind, there we will find a life in disorder (aka: out-of-order) and every kind of evil practice.
So, in other words, if I choose to dwell and meditate on jealousy, envy and selfish ambition, I will naturally usher in a life that is in disorder and suffocate any and all chances of Gods root to grow.
It's a law.
It's a promise.
It's a guarantee.
As strong and real as the law of gravity, so is the law of out-of-orderness.
If I lived my life as this truth being an anchor to my belief system, I can only begin to imagine the radical change I would witness in myself and others.
If I truly recognized the severity of jealousy & envy and making my self the god-of-my-heart through selfish ambitions, I can only imagine the beauty of the heart within.
But wait! There's more to this verse- and unfortunately, as much as I desire for it to stop here... it doesn't.
My eyes wander to the 3-D words glowing off the pages of His word....the natural byproduct of out-of-order living is evil of every kind?
I'm reminded that God designed our lives to experience His love and produce fruits- whether good or bad, each choice has a consequence. The negative fruits of out-of-order living is catastrophic.
It's a matter of life or death. It's a big deal!
Yet, in todays culture, my heart wonders and grieves over why there's such little clarity into the severity of out-of-order living?
Precious people desperate to experience the freedom and love in Christ, yet filled to the brim with hopelessness, discouragement. Church pews filled with souls desperate for more of Him, yet tangibly experiencing the impossibility of grasping a loving God with all heart, mind and soul.
So, I continue by peeling back yet another layer to this out-of-order verse and my spirit promptly poses another question... What could evil of every kind mean?
Evil is not of or from God, right?
And evil involves the actual fingerprint, the DNA, the presence of the enemy to my soul.
A common theme I often ask for during times of prayer is a hedge of protection around my life and lives of those I hold dear and near to my heart.
A thick hedge.
A strong hedge.
A protective hedge.
A tall hedge.
It ushers in a sense of protection, an assurance, a peace of mind, a provision of safety from the enemies decietful craftiness of harm.
Immediately, my heart returns to a verse a dear friend shared with me in Ecclesiastes 10:8 in which it states that through my choices (of living out-of-order) I'm actually punching a hole in the hedge I just prayed for God to build!
I'm vividly picturing myself punching a hole through that thick hedge of protection. My barrier. My protection.
It would leave an opening just small enough for a serpant to slither his slimy way into the inner circle that once was a safe haven and place of refuge.
Like a puzzle finally forming, I recognized my out-of-order life naturally opened my hedge and permitted the evil one access into the very place of protection and into my life.
Satan enjoys torment. He generally begins with the emotions, unstabalizing our thoughts and feelings. As a result,
furiously flow into the very fibers of my being.
Left with confusion, chaos and exhaustion, I look to God with a deep aching...
"Why am I not experiencing Your love, freedom and presence?"
With this question in the back pocket of the heart of so many precious souls, I'm left asking what if just maybe, possibly, somehow, God loves us enough to not rip away the natural consequences of out-of-order living, so that we come to the firm realization that nothing is worth living with "evil of every kind" inside our hedge?
I think the obvious question now is, what is a right-ordered life? Because we want it, right?
It never siezes to amaze me how God, in all His greatness and enormity, chose to give just two simple statements, through the tender lips of Jesus, that will guarantee a life of internal joy, a life of righteous fruits, a life of power, a life of wisdom, a life of love, a life of knowledge, a life of compassion, a life of holiness, a life of eternity...
Who wouldn't want this?
Okay, so back to a right-ordered life... how?
Ive pondered this question, for years, months, weeks, days, moments.
All to come to the honest conclusion that God has given us two pieces of direction for the heart, with a deep promise that will save our lives, not just eternally, but here on earth as well.
Jesus would not of promised this life can offer each of us..
connection * peace * joy * life * grace * freedom * wisdom * love.... in abundace if it weren't so.
If it's not based on circumstatnces, or perfection, or laws, than how do I obtain this life Jesus desires and gives so freely?
And that's when I ask the obvious... What if it's based on two simple statements that no longer are dictated by law, but by heart?
Could it be that once heart transformation begins to take place, all behavior modifications can be eradicated...?
And so I venture into the two most significant callings on a life.
The two callings that convert an out-of-order life of chaos into a right-ordered life of wholeness?
'Love the Lord with all my heart, all my mind and all my soul'
'Love others as myself.'
That's it? Could it be possible these two sentences hold enough power to free a soul, unchain a captive, unravel a mess, bring order to the confusion, birth life from death, catapult me out of out-of-orderness & overflow me with His spirit and His love?
Okay, but wait... so the complex God who designed, originated, mastered this intricate and detailed unfathomable universe and everything in it, chose to come to my level out of pure love, understanding, compassion, and provide only two simple sentences that have enough power and weight to provide life in abundance?
Ah, the sweet taste of a simple yes. A yes that flows a river of peace in every corner and crevice of my being, while fiercely and purposefully washing away the toxic residue of out-of-orderness.
"For God is not a God of Disorder, but of peace."