The Real Me: Deceitful

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I hate to even admit this, but I have realized over the past few years just how deceptive I can be. It all started with the realization that when I was a kid, I would make things up just to look good. I would come home from school, my mom would ask how my day was, and I would blurt something out like, “I hit a home run today in softball.” A seemingly un-harmful variation of the truth, but it was setting me up for a very deceitful future.

As the years went by, I found myself lacking in self-value. I didn’t think much of who I was, so I had to paint a different picture. My inside never matched my outside. So, on came the exaggerations, amplifications, elaborations, embellishments and aggrandizements. A new version of truth became commonplace; became my reality.

Fast forward to today and I still find myself struggling in this area. “I didn’t wake up at 6am, I got up at 5:30am.” Why would I say that? Because I look better getting up earlier than when I actually did. “It took me 5 hours to complete that assignment, not the 3 hours it actually took.” Same reasoning, I’ll look better by stretching out the truth.

“A person making things up tries to make himself look good. But someone trying to honor the one who sent him sticks to the facts and doesn’t tamper with reality.” (John 7:18)

There was something in this verse that really struck me this morning. First of all, it states the obvious, “A person making things up tries to make himself look good.” Yup, I get that one. But when it goes on to say that honoring people is sticking with the facts, it makes it less about me and more about you! I want to honor you with my life, not stretch the truth with dishonor.

It has truly been a terrible curse to feel the shame and guilt that goes along with these overstatements. And, it’s sinful to boot! I end up heaping on even more shame when something shameful is actually sinful. But I need a way out of this wilderness; a rest for my soul that is grounded in truth.

I’m learning every day how to fight this twisted side of me. I’ve confessed this to my boss, my close friends, and I’ve even asked them to hold me accountable. I know I’m on my way to a more truthful future. I’m fighting this battle and with God’s help, I will win.

Why is this all coming out this morning? Two reasons. First, it feels SO GOOD to confess my stuff, to be real. I know, that sounds really strange. But, there is immense truth in confession (James 5:16). Our vision at Sandals Church is to be real with ourselves, God and others. I’m committed to living out that vision. (But please be careful who you share your stuff with. This isn’t an open invitation to just blurt out all your sins. There’s wisdom in when, how and to whom).

The second reason? I want you to find healing yourself. Perhaps you are an exaggerator? Maybe there’s an area in your life that you’re not exactly pleased with? Would you do one thing? Confess those sins to someone that loves you. Confess to a person that wants to see you heal and grow! Being real will be the best step you have ever taken. You will find yourself honoring people, honoring God, with your becoming an authentic person.

Love you all!

Shamelessly, join us at Sandals Church any time! We’re located in Riverside. You’ll see what being real really looks like!www.sandalschurch.com

It was Time to Clean House

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My life was in a state of unbelievable chaos. I was experiencing some of the worst pain I could have ever imagined. Divorce, loss of a job, inability to see my kids, drug abuse and so much more. My life was in shambles and everything was coming to a major head.

At the time I didn’t understand what was happening. I was one of those “sort of” Christians. You know, I said I loved God, but I didn’t actually live it out. Some of you might be feeling the conviction of that statement right now. But that was the truth. I had one foot in the world (well, maybe a foot and a half) and the other in God (at least in my mind). I wanted God. I wanted Him to rescue me, lift me up, change my circumstances, make all my problems go away, but it was me that wasn’t wiling to commit my life to him one-hundred percent; not even fifty-percent if I were to be honest.

“When the Passover Feast, celebrated each spring by the Jews, was about to take place, Jesus traveled up to Jerusalem. He found the Temple teeming with people selling cattle and sheep and doves. The loan sharks were also there in full strength. Jesus put together a whip out of strips of leather and chased them out of the Temple, stampeding the sheep and cattle, upending the tables of the loan sharks, spilling coins left and right. He told the dove merchants, ‘Get your things out of here! Stop turning my Father’s house into a shopping mall!’ That’s when his disciples remembered the Scripture, ‘Zeal for your house consumes me.'” John 2:13-17

What I love about this picture is the compassion that Jesus has for you and me. “What compassion” you might be asking? Listen up. When you see the temple talked about in the Bible, it is always a picture of our own personal lives. When Jesus went into the temple and took care of business on behalf of the Father, you just need to put two and two together; it’s a picture of Him cleaning up the junk in our own lives. There is no more veil between God and man. The curtain that separated us has been abolished. The law has been completely fulfilled through Jesus. The temple where God resides is now in our very hearts.

Jesus saw that the temple in Jerusalem was being abused. He cleaned house on behalf of his Father just like he did in my own life so many years ago. Everything about me was a complete wreck and Jesus wasn’t about to sit around and continue watching me squander away the gift of life he had provided for me. My hope is that this begs some questions in your own life…

Is your temple a place of worship or a place that Jesus needs to do some cleaning? In some respects, we all need an occasional garage sale in our temple. But, is your temple where mine was many years ago; a complete mess that is in need of a serious scourging?

I love the last line of verse 17, “Zeal for your house consumes me.”

Your Dad in heaven loves you so much, His zeal for you is so consuming, that he will not allow you (or any of us) to continue living in a way that will destroy us. That is what a loving Dad does. That is our Dad in heaven.

Prayer for the day… Dad, would you reveal to me the temple of my heart? Would you show me what trash needs to be taken out to the curb? Would you give me the strength and courage to make the choice to invite you in to clean out my temple? I love you Lord and I need you. I also thank you for loving me enough to take me through whatever is necessary to change the course of my life.

This may be a painful process. It was for me. But its all about God’s love for you. He loves you enough to clean house when it is necessary.