It's ok, you can celebrate. :)
But really. 21. I was thinking about that the other day, and was wondering what I had to show for 21 years of life. What was the number 1 thing I have learned at my ripe old age of 21?
I tried really hard to narrow it down to one thing. I tried hard, but to no avail. Life has a thrown too many lessons hand tailored by God in my direction for me to narrow it down to just one.
The first lesson, is rather obvious, but profound.
God is good.
And yes, apparently it took me 21 years to really find that out. :)
Through all my trials, biffs, stumblings, scrapes and spiritual abrasions, God has never let me go hungry, never left me in a ditch, never said 'fooey on this kid' and hucked me out for the trash pickup. He has always been there, always led me ( when I would actually listen...... ) always been handling my life so I never need worry, never need fear, despite the fact that I usually did anyway.
One of the verses that has been the most comfort to me recently is Philippians 1:6 -
Being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ;
Paraphrased down to 'God will finish what he has started' for quick and easy memory and reminders.
God will finish what he has started. I cling to that promise, knowing that Gods promises are the only thing I can cling to in life, and that he will finish sanctifying me - some day.
The second thing I learned is a bit original. Well, actually it isn't really original at all, but I compiled the truth of it into an original one-liner, that I am very fond of.
We have all seen those one liner quotes from various famous or so-called smart people through time. Well, someday, I hope this quote goes that viral. It might do the world some good.
"Those who are the most surprised at your sins and your sin nature, are the least in touch with their own."
There it is. It's even in quotes - quoting me. :) So there, my first official quote. If I am to be remembered saying anything, I hope this line appears in there somewhere.
The truth behind it is as old as old, but as God has revealed this truth me to recently, I kinda compiled it down to a simple phrase for easy memory. I like simple and catchy one-liners that convey heaps of truth, because I find them the easiest to remember in a tight spot.
But seriously. Those who get the most surprised, and even offended, insulted, and upset, when they find out how much of a sinner you really are, how black your heart really is, how deep the stain of sin has really sink in your life, are the ones who are the most oblivious, or hard hearted towards their own sin-encrusted souls.
I have a friend in the web - she probably will read this and know I am talking about her - who went through some rough times recently. On being convicted by her sin, and confessing it at large on have web, she didn't receive love, compassion, and friendly and god-centered help from friends coming alongside and pointing her in the right direction, rejoicing with her in the freedom of her release from her sins.
She was hated. She was spurned. She was turned away by some of her friends, because they couldn't believe how 'bad' she really was.
She did receive comfort from others, and even help and prayer, but still, she was rejected for merely being honest.
Folks, I am sorry to say, but those people have more sin down deep than she does, and what's worse, they are blind to it, by their own choice.
The people who are really in touch with their own soul, really convicted by God as to the wickedness of their own, the ones who are starting to realize, and experience the far reaching effects their sin nature has on every aspect of their life, are not surprised when they find their friends in the same boat. They know their own depravity, and therefore understands and rejoices when someone else finds themselves in similar waters.
I struggle so much with my own lack of faith, doubt, pride, anger, lust, greed, lack of self control, that sometimes I wonder if I am the only one with such problems. Of course I know others do, but when nobody talks, nobody knows.
I will summarize the point with a resolution, in hopes of helping being the solution to the problem - To be more open. A resolution to be more honest as to how I really am. If people are having a hard time being open as about their problems, then I guess I will try to do my part to make it easier, and tell more people how I really am doing.
Which lately, hasn't been so hot.
I find myself struggling so hard with doing what I know I should be doing. My inner self is surprisingly selfish and hostile to everything that gets in the way of what I want to do. I honestly have been rather surprised at my own depravity.
I am finding out that I am a rebel. I die-hard rebel, and not just one in grey wool - one in black, or at least, with a black heart.
And since I was surprised, I guess that means I guess I didn't understand my own sin nature, which then explains why I was surprised, because I didn't understand....
Sorry, gets a bit circular there.
But anyway, It has become more and more clear to me that the only thing good in me is Christ.
Period. Flat out. No joke. I guess Paul wasn't kidding.
I thought I was a pretty good dude. You know, smart, homeschooled, didn't shoot people, was pretty nice, had lots of friends, could shoot pretty straight, hunt, fish better than most in my groups, big muscles, yada yada yada.
Your mind can tell you big and mighty things when it is trying to avoid the realization of your own real lost-ness and depravity.
But then of course, God doesn't leave you there. Thankfully. Breaks them lies. Reveals cold hard truth.
Then starts building.
He is teaching me to honor him in my heart, and not just the outside. Submitting don't come natural to me.
Yes Mullins fans, I learned that quote from him. :)
So my life is one solid battle right now, with moments of victory and moments of defeat, often not too far apart. Praying, fighting, falling, failing.
And getting back up again.
For a Righteous man may fall seven times, and rise again,
So all of you out there who think I am a little nuts - I am. Lately my biggest Public-Enemy-#1 has been myself.
But I am bound and determined, I will go down.
He must increase, I must decrease.
God will finish what he has started.
And it certainly wont be by 22. : )