Sunday, January 16, 2011

The Ways Diverge

photo via flikr by Simon Whitaker
I saved a poem off of a church bulletin many years ago, I cannot find it right now, but I think I have it memorized, so here goes:

The ways diverge,
I stand and look them over
and hot thoughts surge about my heart.
And this I know,
I must choose one by which to go.
This one is flower strewn I see,
that one is rock strewn,
steep and foreboding,
dark and grim,
yet Christ walked there,
I'll walk with Him.

If you have read my blog off and on over the years, you might have glimpsed that I love contrast. Maybe it has to do with my "artistic leaning" (though I don't consider myself great at any of the art forms...I love dance, design, decorating and drama~well, at least watching the drama...)

As shadows enhance the light in paintings, I delight in observing how the bitter in life enhances the sweet. I love that in God's word we often find contrasts: Dark/Light...Evil/Good....Strong/Weak...etc.

Life is characterized by contrast and I feel it as well within my own heart. A contrast. Perhaps a synonym would be more appropriate: a conflict or divergence...

Since I invited Jesus to take ownership of my life, I desire to please Him, but often end up doing the opposite of what I want to do. Paul talks about that in Romans 7:21, 22 ...when I want to do good,, evil is right there with me. For in my inner being I delight in God's law; but I see another law at work in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind... and it hurts. It hurts when I fail...It hurts God, me and others.

...but he gives us more grace...(I am forever grateful!)

I sense contrasts in our society today as well; there are conflicting beliefs and ideas that are bringing a spirit of disunity. The devil is up to his destruction~inducing schemes. But we, His followers must not get weary, we need to remember the opposition Jesus endured and be encouraged. And we must remember what he instructed us to do in the face of conflict. Love and pray for our enemies, speak the truth in love, and do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

That is a tall order for someone who confessed a paragraph above that I don't do what I want to do...(being obedient in these areas), but the good news is found a couple of verses later in Romans 7:24, 25...What a wretched man I am!Who will rescue me from this body of death? Thanks be to God-through Jesus Christ our Lord!

What that means is that I cannot do it. In my human strength I cannot love my enemies or overcome my sinful tendencies. That is humanly impossible. But by the grace of Jesus, after being baptized into him, and by His power in me, I can...I can! We can! You can!

Look at these contrasts: (I saw these on LPM blog today)

In the last days, God says, I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Acts 2:17 (GOOD!)

But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. 2 Timothy 3:1 (BAD)

Contrast?!? Yes! As we increasingly see the disunity and bickering, finger-pointing, and deception, immorality and rebellion, we will also be seeing more of God. (WAAAHOOOOO!!!)  That is what I am determining to focus on and look for from this day forward. You see, it is easy to see the darkness closing in, but it is an act of faith to see past it to the Light that overcomes the darkness!

Lord, help me abide in You, to fix my eyes on You, the Light of the world!



Joan Davis said...

I, too, will fix my eyes on Jesus!
"Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God." Hebrews 12:1-2

Blessings to you, Joan

D.J. Hughes said...

Oh, I love this post. I can relate to the "artistic leanings" yet not feeling truly great at one particular thing. I do love dance and design and drama too!

Your mention of "contrast" reminds me of quilting. I love to select colors to go together in a quilt, but I've noticed, through trial and error, that even when all the colors are "pretty," if they are all the same intensity in shade, then they quilt doesn't quite come together.

A quilt is the most beautiful with the fabrics have a variety of contrast between light, medium, and dark shades.

Thanks for this thoughtful post!


Dakota said...

Hey, I just came across your blog by doing a bit of blog-surfing, and I'm glad I did! I've added myself as your newest follower, and I hope you'll check out my Christian devotional site as well:

Have a blessed day!

In Christ,

Karen said...

Great Post my friend.. loved it..
great poem..
Have a blessed weekend..

elaine @ peace for the journey said...

In recent days, the green-eyed monster named "envy" has visited me; I thought I was past giving in to his taunts, but alas, the flesh took over, and I was undone with my failing along these lines.

I know the trigger... one I've struggled with before, but I haven't quite learned the lesson. I think about this as I think about Christ's power at work in me. Without his strength, I'll fail every time, not just with envy but with other sins as well.

How I desire to be fully transformed by the working grace of his Spirit residing in me! I'll take the harder path if it means that Jesus goes with me. Always.