Untangled in Love

I never thought I’d be one for mushy stuff. Anyone who’s heard my commentary during chick flicks knows I’m not a romantic.

But there’s this guy.

The one I moved seats to be near the first day of class. The one whose shenanigans had my head and finger wagging from the start. The one who asked me to date him after I spent hours telling him every reason not to love me. The one who led me to my Savior.

His eyes were fixed on Christ even as he took my hand in his. I thank the Lord he has little regard for any other sight.

During more than 6 years of knowing each other now, I’ve witnessed a faith-skill of his I pray the Lord helps me hone as my own.

He’s an expert disentangler.

Ironically, this only applies spiritually. When it comes to being entangled physically, he’s got a knack for being wound up in cords, having limbs stuck in furniture, nearly strangling himself with ties, and being unable to remove himself from places he climbs into (AKA…dryers.) Some evidence:

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Spiritually, though, my husband is quick and nimble to:

“throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles.” –Hebrews 12:1

What I’ve noticed most in his way of staying free and ready to obey the Lord is an attention to who He is serving. 2 Timothy 2:26 warns of being enticed into entanglement in the enemy’s snare. The verse says our enemy captures us for the purpose of having us do his will.

We are never entangled in sin for the purpose of serving God.

So, when we are entangled, we’re serving the will of the enemy.  It might be through self-serving or through people-pleasing. We may be money-driven or fear-abiding. Whatever the case, when we’re entangled, we’re not fixed on the purposes of Christ.

This is one of the ways my husband’s “black and white” thinking helps.

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He isn’t easily entangled because His eyes are fixed on Christ intently. He notices when he is looking at someone else. He notices when what he’s doing isn’t serving the Lord.

And when he notices, he turns from the dark to the light. He shifts his eyes to Christ. He throws off whatever is bidding him to pay attention to or serve anything else. Whatever it is, it’s not worth missing out on beholding the Lord.

I’m blessed when he helps with my writing because I know he won’t fail to point out words that hinder instead of help the gospel. As I analyze, assess, and plan in life I am grateful to have by my side someone with foresight and discretion regarding the Lord’s will.

Among the most precious aspects of our marriage is my husband’s habit of getting my attention to direct me to Our Lord -who has his attention.

He hates to be entangled, and he hates to see me tied in knots too.

Praying this Valentine’s Day you and your loved ones can help each other disentangle to fix your eyes on the One who matters most.

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I’d love for you to guest post on First and Second! Especially for an upcoming series…more here.

Saved From Self-Condemnation

Photo from: pixabay.com

“This is how we know that we belong to the truth

and how we set our hearts at rest in his presence:”

-1 John 3:19

            Oh, those words. That verse. How enticing it is to our souls. To mine, at least. A person naturally quite keenly aware of her sin, it’s never been as natural to me to find myself at rest or at peace with anything.

But rest, peace, and a sense of belonging are what I long for. They led me, years ago, to take up an independent study in college. The individual class was designed to answer this question:

how, in a broken, sinful world, are humans able to find solutions to problems besides simply Christ?”

Although an academic study on non-profits in practice, in truth the matter was personal. I’m a fixer. I’m a problem-solver. And I’m a sinner. These conditions are contradictory.

I’ve been executor and witness of the problems I have “solved” falling apart over and over again. My response, rooted in fear, used to allow my awareness of my own sin to hold me back from trying to fix anything for fear I’d make it worse.

Inaction marked all that mattered to me. If “it,” whatever “it” was, might be Spiritual or impactful, I’d gladly leave “it” up to another sinner. I didn’t want the mess of trying to do good without having any goodness in me.

You are letting your fear of sin overrule your fear of Christ. That’s what my professor said when it became apparent in conversation that the study was hitting me personally. He said it more kindly, and in more words. But the sentiment has long remained.

The truth of what He said was undeniable. Choosing inaction, choosing fear, was just as much a sin I wanted to avoid as the sin of not offering adequate solutions.

My lack of a sense of belonging to God changed. My restlessness with what to “do” in life turned to resting in His presence. My heart found the peace I was rejecting before my Savior, because I understood the rest of the verse:

“If our hearts condemn us,

we know that God is greater than our hearts,

and he knows everything.”

1 John 3:19-20

We can’t solve anything without Jesus. Not really. None of us can adequately offer hope or joy or righteous change in this world apart from Christ. We don’t have it in us, we are sinful. But He, within us, can.

Our hearts condemn us because we know the sin in them. What we forget is that the God who is greater than our hearts works in us and through us. He works through the sin and the muck to solve and fix and heal.

He knows how to save and redeem every bit of this world according to His will. That’s why we can belong to Him. That’s how we can put our hearts at rest in Him. There is no need to act in fear, even when the fear is rooted in our knowledge of self.

The Lord knows, and He wins even the battles in our hearts.

This post is being shared on: #LifeGivingLinkup #TestimonyTuesday, #RaRaLinkup, #Intentionally Pursuing, #WomenWithIntention, and #TellHiStory