Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Baptism Delays

I've done some work on the baptism theme, but can't seem to get enough uninterrupted quiet time to make any progress. For now, I've decided to go over some past journals and pick out things God has taught me about grace and legalism and post some of it here. Right now I'm going through 2004 and it's a bit disturbing how pious my personal private prayer/meditation journal is sounding to me. Why all the big spiritual sounding words? Example:

"Lord grant me strength and humility for this day. Help me walk with the knowledge that you are walking with me. May I look to you alone for direction and wisdom. Provide opportunities to share the wonders of your grace with others--both those who are already yours and those you are still calling."

What I mean is, this is not the way I normally talk. And so far, my journal is full of accusations against myself more than full of love and gratefulness toward God. I'm not talking about conviction, I'm talking about intellectual assents to the fact that I was wrong and sinning, without any true concern about it. I was more concerned with technicalities and appearances and failure to perform up to standard. I actually considered it more spiritual to recount my failures and feel guilty and feel guiltier for not feeling guilty enough than to live joyfully in my Father's presence without any worry perfectly trusting in his love. So I'm afraid that during these years (sparse as my journaling was) I'll be learning more about legalism than grace. I guess for the grace part I'll have to go back much further in time, but that's o.k.

Here's an excerpt from July 1999:

"How is it that after being washed completely clean in the blood of Jesus, that it is our job to continually scrub every inch of our lives with a toothbrush and cup of water? Ever since I got saved I have run around hectically trying to keep clean. The problem is that as soon as I leave one room to clean another it's dirty again. I never accomplish anything except making myself so tired, bitter, and discouraged that I have no time or desire to spend time with my God, the one I thought I was cleaning for. He is the one who first made me clean, and is also the only one who can keep me clean. I only succeed in making an even bigger mess. When he shows me a place that needs to be clean, I invite him to take care of it. All I do is follow any instructions he gives me, and trust myself completely to his care. He is most happy when I depend on him."



Baxter's Boy said...

I think that was always my problem with SGM. I couldn't get my head round the pious-sounding phrases that they liked. "Evidences of grace" - "Courting" - "Identifying areas of growth" - etc etc! Why can't we just be ... normal!? I will bet Jesus was!!

jul said...

I know what you mean. And for one who has always prided herself on not following the crowd, it's very humbling (and frightening) to look back and see how easily I accepted so many things, including legalism, without much of a fight. I hope I've learned a lesson I'll never forget. To be fair, over the eight years we were there we also learned some very valuable things. It's now up to us to use discernment so that we leave behing what should be left, and take with us the good stuff God knows we'll need in the future. It can be very tempting to throw the baby out with the bath water, if you know what I mean.