i can live with that – part one

At the same time the Benjaminites did not drive out the Jebusites who were living in Jerusalem. The Jebusites have lived among the Benjaminites in Jerusalem to this day. {Judges 1:21}

I could go on about how I was in the book of Judges with no idea why I chose to go there. How I was reading along at more of a yada yada pace than taking a contemplative stroll. I could tell you about reading past verse 21, but not really because my eyes kept going back to it even though my brain kept wanting to move on. Get to something interesting. I could tell you all of that, but I won’t. I’ll just cut to the chase. Or to the quick. Whichever it happens to be for you.

What are you co-existing with that you should have driven out?

Personally, I needed a whole minute after that question. Could have been a month. A month of trying not to let it stop at conviction. Forcing myself to stay with it and not push it away as one of those oh, that’s good moments and then go back to being whatever it is that I am. Oblivious. Comfortable. Unconvicted.

I may need more time. But here is where I share my journey with whoever may be listening, so I’ll share a couple of miles or so I’ve gone with this so far.

The Israelites had been told to drive out the inhabitants that were in their promised land. Get rid of them. The promised land was the territory God had given them. Places He had given them the authority to dwell as His people.

What is the spiritual shadow being cast by this physical reality? What is my land, my territory of authority?

My home, family. My marriage. If I were still raising children, my parenting would be a place God has given to me, but now it’s my grandparenting.  Ministry. Calling. Gifting. My workplace. My relationships with God, and with others, inside and outside of the Church.

This is my land, my territory. God has planted me here and given me authority, spiritually.  These are the areas I have felt led to ask myself the question — what have I been allowing to co-exist with me here, rather than driving it out?

Some that I came up with apply to me, and some do not. Maybe they resonate with you, though.

Fear, including the fear of man. The fear of disappointing someone, of feeling their disapproval or criticism. That kind of fear will keep us in a place of striving, trying to please and appease. It will keep us from speaking the truth when truth needs to be spoken. Then there is the fear that comes when we watch the news. That’s the fear that can turn our desire to be informed into an obsession. And because we are obsessed with what is going on around us, we are continually fueling fresh fear.  And no, the answer is not to bury our heads, no longer paying any attention to the news. The news is not the trespasser on our land. Fear is.

{Also, for the record — fear includes control, because control is rooted primarily in fear.  Think about it.}

Pride, which includes a low self-esteem. Whether thinking too much of ourselves, or too little of ourselves — we are still continually thinking of self. Narcissism, which is pride on steroids, is rampant in the Church. One day on social media will confirm that, I promise.  Comparison is also rampant and is rooted in pride. Self-hatred, self-loathing, self-everything — all the offspring of pride.

Pride ensures that no matter where we look, we see ourselves.

{It also includes a judgmental and/or critical spirit, both of which can be traced back to pride.}

Apathy/Complacency. Couch surfing Christians. Those who believe they follow Jesus, but never actually follow Him past the couch. They keep their religion as a “private” matter, never talking about it with others.  Or, they post spiritual memes on their social media accounts and consider that sharing the gospel. It is spiritual laziness and we have made peace with it and allowed it to co-exist with us in every aspect of our lives.

I can think of others, can you? A religious spirit, unbelief, addictions of every kind, and compromise, just to name a few.

To figure out how and why these things are enemies that should not be allowed to co-exist with us, we have to consider what they destroy, or at a minimum, what they hinder in us. We’ll do that in the next mile. Stay tuned!

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