Thursday, January 14, 2010

Spiritual Emergency Kit

Have any of you ever felt like you didn’t belong somewhere? You know, that uncomfortable feeling that everyone knows the social secret and you don’t? Have you ever felt like a struggle you’re dealing with is so unique, or so terrible, that you shouldn’t share it because people wouldn’t like you anymore? That’s me.

In Genesis 2:18, before the fall, while the world was still perfect, God said, “it is not good for man to be alone.” What did he mean by that?

Most use of that passage focuses on the issue of marriage. But I think it also speaks to an issue that extends beyond the marriage relationship. I think God meant it for all of mankind. Adam did not look at all those animals paired off and ask God for anything – he did not ask for a being like himself. GOD knew that Adam needed to be with another of his kind. What had God placed in us that would only be satisfied by fellowship with another human?

H e knew that we would function better if we were together. Together we would encourage one another and would be his hands and feet to one another, would direct one another back to him – and because the world was still perfect, we would worship him together. So he created Eve. And all was perfect for a while. But then the Enemy crept in. And notice, he got them separate from one another, and then appealed to her pride. And instead of owning it, she immediately shared it with Adam. Thus, the man and the woman were banished from the garden for their

disobedience, and we began our struggle against the fellowship need God placed within each of us.

Our struggle against that fellowship need creates isolation.

Isolation is defined as:

  • a state of separation between persons or groups
  • a feeling of being disliked and alone

Some of its synonyms are: separation, loneliness, alienation, disaffection, estrangement

When we are isolated, it gives the enemy the opportunity to play the tape loop in our head that makes us doubt our worthiness before the Lord which makes us judgmental and critical.

Most of my life I’ve thought I was missing some essential secret that everyone else knew instinctively. From not being athletic, or witty or charming enough, along the way I learned that I always needed to be “better”. I was concerned with pleasing other people and trying to fit in, but no matter what I did, it was rarely the correct solution. That began to change in 1993 when I surrendered my life to Christ, but in truth, I struggle nearly every day with whether I’m measuring up to some standard that I don’t fully understand and I will probably always struggle with believing that I am “good enough”.

People would say, “but you know the Lord! How can you think that way?” Yes, I know the Lord, and I suspect that many of us who do know the Lord feel this way at least on occasion. We feel like we don’t belong. And we feel like we’re "bad" Christians for feeling this way. So no one ever talks about it.

So we draw away from one another. But Hebrews 10:24 says, Let us not give up meeting together. Why? Because when we are not in fellowship together, we are often in isolation.

And the enemy loves that.

There ARE times we should go away from one another. It just depends on what we’re listening to when we’re away.

When we go away to be with God, it’s completely different. I call it Be Still time.

Be Still time is drawing away from one another so we can be with the Lord. And that is often my error. When we parted for the break, or I part from my church fellowship, I often do not depart with a purpose. King David was often away from everyone. God didn’t always answer David right away. Psalms 10, 11, and 13 tell us that David was desperate to hear from the Lord. But David had enough humility and faith to engage in Be Still time, reminding himself of God’s character and promises, pouring his heart out before the Lord, asking the Lord to search him and convict him of his sin. And when David finally did put aside his own agenda, the Lord answered. Psalm 21 is a great example of that. Of course, the Lord had always been there – David just hadn’t been willing to listen.

Now I don’t want this to sound like another admonition that you should be doing more quiet time. That’s between you and the Lord. This is just a reminder that when you are away from fellowship with God’s people, have your purpose clear.

Our study of Elijah showed us that the point at which we are most vulnerable to the lies of Satan is when we are hungry, or tired, or feeling lonely. Hunger, fatigue or loneliness can be physical or spiritual. The physical is easy to fix – go eat, rest, or get around people. But if we don’t fix the underlying spiritual deprivations, those physical fixes won’t be a lasting balm for our wounds.

When Jesus went into the garden in Matthew 4:1, he went to pray and fast. And who showed up? That’s right, the enemy. Satan, in essence, challenged Jesus that He was not worthy of wearing His father’s mantle. And Jesus verbally and spiritually wrestled with him until Jesus won. There are a couple of important things I drew from this passage. First, Satan showed up when Jesus was physically hungry and tired and alone. Jesus was human so he suffered physically the way we suffer. But Jesus had been in prayer. So he was spiritually fed, alert, and aware of the presence of his Father. This enabled him to be fully ready to fight Satan. That leads to the second point I drew from this passage. Jesus used scripture to defeat Satan. If it’s good enough for Jesus . . . it should be good enough for me!

When we hear the tape loop in our head telling us we’re not worthy, what scripture should we use to defeat Satan’s lies? Here are some examples.

In 1 Cor 3:16, we are told that God's Spirit lives within us. And Romans 8:15 tells us that we did not receive a spirit that makes us a slave to fear, but we received the Spirit of sonship. He knew us before we were born (Ps 139:13-16 ). He loves us because we are his creation and if we are believers in Christ, he sees us perfected. So we need not buy into the lies. I want to challenge mature Christians, particularly, to ask the Lord to make you sensitive to women who are dealing with this feeling and ask the Lord how you can interact with them in a way that encourages and builds them up in their relationship with the Lord.

Now, because I am a very practical person, I am going to give you some very practical ways to battle these feelings of isolation.

In our household we have a big emergency kit in the kitchen. It has everything in it from sutures to a blanket designed for muffling fires. I think we need spiritual emergency kits and I’m going to help you start one.

If you'd like a spiritual emergency kit, click here. Once you're at my e-mail place, you can leave me your mailing address and I'll send you one. Promise! Or you can make your own.

The kit is an envelope, small enough to put into a purse and carry with you. One the outside, you write down the number or name of a friend or friends to call when you’re in spiritual need. First, talk to God, and then call this friend and ask her to pray for you. I know you can pre-program it in your phone, but I like the idea of writing it down. If you don’t know who that person is, ask God to show you. He will and it may surprise you whose name He places on your heart. There may be someone near you who has a gift of encouragement that you haven’t ever realized was there.

Second, I have placed three verses in each envelope. These are ones that God gave me in connection with this devotion. They are the foundation for your Spiritual 911 kit. These are verses that really build me up when I need to remember who I am in Christ and what price He was willing to pay for me. I challenge you that as you study His word, you will write down other verses that he gives YOU particularly, that you can use to encourage yourself. Put them in your envelope. Tuck them into a purse, a bag, the car -- to take with you. Modify it – in my home emergency kit we have epi-pens because of my son’s allergies. Your home emergency kit will be different. Similarly, your spiritual 911 kit will be different than mine too – as God speaks to you through different verses.

Third practical solution. JUST SHOW UP. When you feel least inclined to be in fellowship with God’s people, it’s the time you most need to be there. God’s word says in Matthew 18:20, where two or three come together in my name, there am I with you so if you just show up where His people are, you will find Him as well.

1 comment:

quilly said...

Kelley -- what a remarkable ministry! It is certainly needed and I hope you get many takers!