Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Made to Crave Study, Chapter 17: The Very Next Choice We Make

Continuing with the Made to Crave Bible Study hosted by Proverbs 31 Ministries, Chapter 17 discusses sustaining the discipline we've developed. If we "diet," reach our goal weight, and then abandon our diet, we'll end up right back where we started from. To get to our goal weight, we have to make sacrifices. But we grow tired of them after a while. How to keep on?

We can't in our own strength. Remembering that discipline in this area is part of our overall pursuit of holiness helps.

Lysa says, "It is good for God's people to be put in a place of longing so they feel a slight desperation. Only then can we be empty enough and open enough to discover the holiness we were made for. When we're stuffed full of other things and never allow ourselves to be in a place of longing, we don't recognize the deeper spiritual battle going on. Satan wants to keep us distracted by chasing one temporary filling after another."

"The gap between our frail discipline and God's available strength is bridged with nothing but a simple choice on our part to pursue this holiness. Moment by moment we have the choice to live in our own strength and risk failure or to reach across the gap and grab hold of God's unwavering strength. . . the more dependent we become on God's strength, the less enamored we are with other choices."

II Corinthians 7:1 says, "Having therefore these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God."

Lysa comments, "Holiness means to be set apart for a noble use. The very next choice we make isn't really about whether or not to eat [the wrong foods].  It's about whether we are going to stay away from those things that are not beneficial for what we are created to be. We are 'taught, with regard to [our] former way of life, to put off [our] old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of [our] minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.' (Ephesians 4:22-24)"

"Victory isn't a place we arrive at and then relax. Victory is when we pick something healthy over something not beneficial for us. And we maintain our victories with each next choice." 

Romans 6:19: "I speak after the manner of men because of the infirmity of your flesh: for as ye have yielded your members servants to uncleanness and to iniquity unto iniquity; even so now yield your members servants to righteousness unto holiness."

We have to continually yield, "tapping into God's strength," every moment, not just in a once-for-all expression at an altar or bedside. Prayer and Bible study are a part of that, bur Lysa maintains  that another part is "getting to a place where our lack of strength disgusts us," "at the bottom of our excuses and rationalizations . . . when our efforts fail time and time again." Along those lines Lysa asked God to "unsettle" her, which didn't make sense to me until she described it as asking Him to "rattle loose my complacent excuses and break apart my stubborn refusals to  . . really look at whatever pulls my heart away from God."

Lysa describes her study through Psalm 78, about God's blessings and care of Israel from Egypt through the wilderness, and they're forgetting. She quotes verses 17-18 and 21 from the NIV, which say, "But they continued to sin against him, rebelling in the wilderness against the Most High. They willfully put God to the test by demanding the food they craved. When the Lord heard them, he was furious." She says, "I guess the reason this hot me so hard was because it so specifically addresses inappropriate cravings and the reality of how God feels about them."

"Crave means to long for; want greatly; desire eagerly. Pursuing holiness means God is the only One we should long for; want greatly; desire eagerly. The only One worthy of worship."

"Discipline makes disciples who truly understand what it means to delight themselves in the Lord. For the Lord has been allowed to rewrite the desires of their hearts. It's a place not wrought with sacrifice but rather a place where they see healthy choices as overflowing blessings so pure and rich, they'd never trade them."

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