Our study for the fall of 2016, Falling in Love Again with Your Lord, has come to an end. I have taken this study before, but honestly, the study felt new to me this time. Life changes, but the Word of God does not. It meets us where we are.
On our last day of study, Laurie asked us to give serious consideration to these questions: “What do I cling to?” and/or, “Where am I tempted to place my hope and trust – other than the Lord?” Laurie then asked us to email our thoughts to her.
I thought about these questions for many days. I ended up appreciating Laurie’s “assignment” because the Lord used it as a helpful exercise for me – it made me honestly apprise where I place my trust.
To start with, I thought a lot about the word “cling.” The first image that comes to my mind when I think of this word is a child clinging to a parent. When I volunteered in the church preschool ministry, I saw many a child cling to his or her mother or father before coming into the classroom. With that image in mind, I asked myself: Is there anyone or anything I hold onto so tightly that I would have to be torn away from it? Yes – my family. I don’t want to lose them. I hold tightly to them, if not literally, certainly emotionally. I also hold tightly to what I know, what I can see. My flesh rebels at the thought of letting go of what I perceive as control. My flesh longs to feel control. My flesh yearns for predictability, stability, comfort, ease.
Underneath the “clinging” image were the answers to where I place my hope and trust:
My Performance/Approval of Others
I know my salvation has nothing to do with works or how good I am. Christ has redeemed me through His blood! But it is still very important to me for others to think I am doing a good job – whether it’s working inside or outside of my home. I think the need to feel recognized for a job well done goes back a long way, to my childhood. My identity is strongly rooted in how well I do – at anything. (As a sidebar, the Lord is lovingly rooting this out in my life. Through physical affliction and ultimately, disability, the Lord has literally made it physically impossible for me to do what I think I need and want to do. I am facing the hard fact that my eyes are not fixed on God’s kingdom, but my own).
It is tempting to place my trust in others – especially “professionals” – versus taking my concerns first before the Lord and seeking His will and direction.
Sometimes, I find myself clinging to my feelings instead of the truth. That way, I can stay mad, hurt, discouraged, or distant. My flesh has lots of excuses for why I am entitled to wallow in my feelings.
So, now that I have a better understanding of where I am tempted to place my hope and trust, how do I change? How do I place my hope and trust in the Lord? The eternal versus the temporal?
Laurie gave us a helpful acronym to help us battle our flesh:
C L I N G
C – Confidence in Christ alone
L – Looking to Christ alone
I – Intimately identifying with Christ alone
N – No, No, No to sin within
G – Gripping Grace
None of these behaviors are easy and they do not come naturally. I am going to make and carry a “CLING” card, to remind myself of how to cling to the Lord. I am weak and subject to all sorts of distractions and failures. But the Lord is able, and He will fight for me!
Lord, help me to truly believe you and cling only to your hand.
Growing in Grace