Recently, I experienced an interesting situation that you may be able to relate to. About a week ago, something happened that aggravated me to my core. You know… the kind of thing that makes you gasp in disbelief, you feel your face getting hot, your chest tightening, and everything seems to go in both fast forward and slow motion at the exact same time. A literal mouth hanging open, can’t believe that just happened kind of moment.
In my renewed, cleansed life that has consciously chosen to follow Jesus, I have learned the importance of momentary silence in this kind of situation. I have learned that my initial response is most likely going to be the WRONG response. I silently pray for God to help me. I pray for him to “guard the doorway of my mouth” and I recall the scripture that says “it’s not what we put in our mouths that defiles us, but what comes out of it.” After gathering myself, I then respond (if a response is warranted or necessary). I cannot tell you how many times this has safeguarded me in recent years.
But during this specific situation about a week ago, I momentarily lost sight of this learned process. I was so totally caught off guard that my mouth just sprang into action. Sure enough, just a few words in, a curse word rolled right off my tongue. And it was a whopper!
I cannot tell you the swirl of emotions that ran through me when this happened. For the majority of my life, I cursed like a sailor. It was standard and normal in my world. But since I have chosen to follow Jesus, one of the first orders of business was to clean up my mouth. So for me to curse, it just doesn’t even match.
However, when this happened, I noticed a very interesting feeling. When I said that word, I momentarily felt like I had scratched an itch. It was a sensation of momentary relief. It was an eyebrow raising, comfortable familiarity. Yet within just seconds, I felt embarrassed and ashamed and just simply walked away from the situation altogether.
Although the situation was temporary and was resolved fairly quickly, the feeling I experienced left me to do some serious soul searching and prayer. First of all, I sat with the Lord in repentance. As I was speaking to the Lord, I was asking him what was happening inside of me to make me feel that way. I understand the mistake of cursing. Some may say, it’s not even that big of a deal. But the feeling of momentary satisfaction that came along with it was a huge red flag that I was not willing to ignore. I was confused. I don’t want for ANY sin to EVER feel satisfying or good, EVEN FOR A MOMENT! And then it hit me. God revealed in my heart that it felt momentarily good because I had given in to my “flesh.”
The Bible calls for us to DENY our flesh. Our flesh is sinFULL. Our flesh will desire to do things that will not line up with what the Lord calls us to do. To deny it feels uncomfortable at times. When we give it what it wants, it can momentarily feel good. Momentary. We must remember that giving in to the flesh will never end well.
Jesus said, “The spirit is willing but the flesh is weak.” Even Jesus was not immune to experiencing the pull of the spirit vs the flesh. But he showed us how to prevail. We keep the spirit stronger than the pull of the flesh by staying steadfast in prayer and actively pursuing God in everything we do. Every. Single. Day. Seem too cumbersome or extra? Well, think of the multitude of things that you do every single day. They are normal, not extra and are SO worth it. The feeling of a full tummy after you eat every single day, multiple times a day. The feeling of a good sleep after you wake up refreshed. Etc.
Jesus calls us to “deny ourselves, take up our cross and follow him.” Denying our flesh can sometimes feel like torture. To deny the sin that would feel so satisfying is something that we cannot let catch us off guard. We must be alert at all times! And if we do fall into sin, we must not stay there. Don’t allow that feeling of satisfaction and comfortable familiarity of days past to linger.
Call out to the Lord and he will never forsake you. Repent of your sin, then keep it moving! We must remember to not linger or sit in the shame of sin for the Lord promises to remove our sin “as far as the east is from the west.”
That forgiveness and unconditional love that our glorious Father has for us is what I choose to accept, sit in and remember forever. God is so good! I thank him for His grace and mercy.
Romans 7:15-24, Matthew 16:24, Mark 13:33, Matthew 26:41, Galatians 5:19, Psalm 103:12, Romans 8:39, Acts 3:19