Don't Let The Camel In
One of the pastors at my church has one of the coolest sayings. She says, “What happens when you let a camel put his nose into a tent? That’s right… the rest of the camel eventually comes in too, causing chaos and damage. You have to smack the camel’s nose the second he puts it in, and get it out immediately.”
The first time I heard her say that, I giggled. Cute analogy. But then I really thought about it and was deeply affected by the gravity of that example. It has actually become one of the sayings I live by and often quote. You see, each of us has weaknesses. Just because we have made the decision to live our lives for Jesus, our sinful nature and our personal weaknesses do not disappear. We are warned in the Bible that “in this world you will have trouble...” (John 16:33) That doesn't just mean trouble from other people. Sometimes, we are our own trouble. We have sinful tendencies, attitudes, thoughts and habits that we will have to battle and overcome. Some days we will win, some days we may not. We keep pressing on, knowing that God gives us new grace and forgiveness every single day. (2 Corinthians 12:9, Colossians 3:13)
Eventually, if we just keep trying, change comes. I can say this from personal experience. Things I thought were just “my personality, hard wired into my DNA” have actually truly changed with God’s help, dedicated practice and time. Before you know it, a daily battle becomes a weekly battle, then a monthly battle, etc. Then before you know it, it’s just this thing you struggled with a long time ago. Freedom. This camel analogy is an amazing tool in the fight. Let me explain how.
All sin begins with a thought. (James 1:15) Judgement, anger, pride, lust, envy, selfishness, false reasoning, offendedness, etc. The camel is peeking his big ‘ol nose in. The key is recognizing immediately when a thought comes into your mind that could lead you down a destructive path. By taking the thought captive, you are stopping the camel. Giving the thought to God, is getting the camel out of the tent!
Ask the Lord to intercede immediately before your sinful thinking becomes sinful behavior. I love praying God’s promises back to him. “Lord you promised that you would never leave me, never forsake me. I need you right now. I am feeling… (or) I am struggling with… (or) I want…” Sometimes I just whisper, “Lord I choose you in this situation. I choose you. Your ways, not mine. Rescue me from myself, I trust you.” Sometimes, depending on the situation, I pray boldly "Lord, activate your angel armies and send them to come fight for me now. Fill me with the Holy Spirit and replace my thoughts with your thoughts."
I can honestly say that this camel metaphor has helped me more times than I can count. My prayer is that it will help you too. Stay encouraged.
"...we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ." 2 Corinthians 10:5
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.” Proverbs 3:5,6