Posts Tagged ‘sin’

Hiding Behind the Bed

Our Chihuahua, Miss Cocoa, prefers to hide behind our bed (see Finding Refuge) during our many Florida thunderstorms.  We don’t mind it, since it gives her a sense of security and keeps her from panting desperately in our faces.  Lately, however, she’s developed a new habit.  If we’re not careful to block the entrance, she’ll sneak away to this favored hiding place in the morning, even in calm weather.  Since we’ve entered the summer thunderstorm season (we live in the nation’s thunderstorm capital), she tries to hide before we leave the house.  I think her rationale may be two-fold:  partly in anticipation of a possible storm, and partly because she doesn’t want to be confined to her kennel. Her actions, if I read my dog’s mind correctly(a scary thought) are based on fear  and just plain stubbornness.

Maybe I know what she’s thinking because I can relate.  One morning as I watched her heading for the bedroom, her tail tucked between her legs, I sighed to myself, “Some days we all wish we could hide behind the bed.”

Just like Miss Cocoa, sometimes it’s fear that makes me want to go hide for the day,  usually fear of something that may or may not actually happen.  With help from the enemy, my mind has anticipated a problem or conflict and grown it out of proportion.  Rather than face it head-on, I’d prefer to join the dog behind the bed for the day.  Thankfully, I’ve learned that most of what I fear and worry about is not nearly so terrible as I’d imagined.

Then again, sometimes I’m just plain stubborn.  (I know, it’s hard to imagine, but play along with me)  God wants me to do something, or stop doing something, and I’d really prefer to have my own way.  I want to do things on my terms,  without having to obey or cooperate with what is surely a better plan.  Someone hurt my feelings and I want to lick my wounds and stop playing the game.  I want to take control.  I’ll crawl behind the bed and come out when I’m good and ready, thank you very much. In case you were wondering, this is called SIN.   Come on, admit it, you’ve been there, too.

But here’s the thing.  As much as I’d like to, I can’t stay behind the bed.  Well, I could, but it wouldn’t be much of a life.  Besides, I don’t fit!   To live a victorious life, the life God intended for me, I have to experience the joy and the pain, the fear and the peace, and even an occasional storm.  And here’s the good news:

“The LORD your God is with you, He is mighty to save.  He will take great delight in you, He will quiet you with His love, He will rejoice over you with singing.”   Zephaniah 3: 17 (NIV)

Hey!  Come out from behind the bed!  God is singing over you.  You don’t want to miss it.

Copyright 2011 by Mary Egidio.  Permission is granted to share this work, but with attribution, and not for commercial purposes.

Who Am I to Disagree with St. Augustine?

“If you believe what you like in the gospels, and reject what you don’t like, it is not the gospel you believe, but yourself.” (St. Augustine)

portrait of St. Augustine by Philippe de Champaigne

Saint Augustine - portrait by Philippe de Champaigne

I remember the shock of my first encounter, as a fairly new Christian, with someone whose actions reflected this premise of Augustine’s.

I’m not talking about the fellow college students who shamelessly thumbed their collective noses at any kind of moral, much less biblical restrictions.  I’m talking about a refined young woman who claimed to be a Christian, read her Bible and prayed daily, and was an active member of her home church.  I took her to be a believer from her actions and words.

The aforementioned shock came when she announced that her boyfriend was coming to visit, she was planning to get a motel room and would be staying there with him.  Given that we were college students, we all assumed that what happened that weekend probably wasn’t going to be prayer and Bible study.

After our initial astonishment, my roommate and I logically and calmly challenged her thinking, saying,   “What?  Are you crazy?  Do you hear what you’re saying? Do you realize what’s going to happen??”

“Yes,” she replied calmly.

“How can you even think about doing this and call yourself a Christian?  How can you ignore what the Bible says?”

“If it’s right with my spirit, it’s not a problem.”  Those were her words.  Right with her spirit.

I told her that she couldn’t just decide what parts of the Bible she wanted to believe and pretend the rest didn’t apply to her.  My passionate argument didn’t move her.  She had made up her mind.  As Augustine described, she no longer believed in the Bible, she believed in herself.

While it might be easy for me to point a ‘holier-than-thou’ finger at her hypocrisy, I must allow my own actions to suffer the same scrutiny.  Am I anchored firmly, or have I allowed myself to drift in the tide of moral relativism and situation ethics?  I dare not compromise God’s teachings to embrace a ‘less offensive’ version of spirituality.  The stewardship of my time, talent and resources must reflect a life surrendered to God.  In reality, my daily life will reveal whether I pick and choose what I want to believe, or embrace the entire Word of God.

“All a man’s ways seem right to him, but the Lord weighs the heart.” Proverbs 21:2 (NIV) St. Augustine understood this.  Do I?