My Soul’s Compass: Four Directions, One Person

(originally posted December 17, 2013)

In contemplating what goes on inside my mind from day to day, and the struggles I face, I thought I’d share with all of you my frustrations. This is all in hope that you would draw nearer to Jesus, and less to yourself each day.

North:

This is my direction, my destination. I am led here, and uncertain of the paths along the way. It is Christ who descended to die in my place, and ascended in resurrection, for my victory, not defeat. I know this is my identity, this is who I am: I am dead to sin and raised with Christ. My sin died, and so did its power over me. I no longer aim my life in the direction of selfishness and the character of Hell, but I delight in Christ above all else. There is a new heart with new affections and a new life, there is no turning back. I cannot revoke the gift of Christ and His transforming work taking place.

South: The old has gone, the new has come. Yet, sometimes I try to find freedom in the old ways. Lies ascending from Hell’s depths, threatens my obedience, and shuts the doors to joy while promising an assent to happiness that fades as quickly as a burst of flame. The lie that God is withholding my good and the acceptance that my judgement is greater than His. Sin can be contained, it can be controlled. Consequences can be taken care of. If I think I can control sin then it is already controlling me. How I can feel tossed to and fro from delight to delight, which one is real? I need Christ to be my North Star, resting over the place of His salvation.

East: Oh, how I love to work! To succeed and accomplish goals. To lead others, to be an example, genuinely motivated to love everyone. Not people pleasing, nor appeasing the smallest tendencies of others, to adapt my character to suit their interests. Oh, but I want to know their interests, in order to be of interest to them of Christ! Becoming all things to all men, because I am like all men, but now have been changed. Moving myself further towards new goals, levels of success, depths of obedience, and faithful leadership. But, I don’t listen as I should- I think ahead, not with, the people I speak to. I speak to others, not sympathize with them. I drive them to do what I think I am already doing, instead of to Christ who did everything.

This part of myself is not wrong: I need to work, I need to succeed, I need to lead others to Jesus. But, I cannot be everything to everyone. My interests cannot perfectly align with theirs. My personality cannot mesh with all, but my love can be manifested to them. Even if they don’t accept it, I can love them the way Christ calls me to, and even if that love is not returned, God’s love for me will always be enough. His acceptance is all I need. His gospel will never be unfruitful in my heart, as long as I trust the Christ the gospel proclaims.

West: Oh, the joys of listening! Of being with a group of people and talking with them- of rejoicing together in the gospel as equal members of grace. To be alongside believers and walk with them through their darkest moments. To seek Christ in the morning as a man in need of grace, asking for the power to obey. To be dependent on another, not just lead them in my own strength. Growing in relationship with others by being with them. It’s such a heavenly joy to sing together as members of the same body.

The beauty of reading a book and not thinking ahead, but taking in what the author intended. Discovering the depths of world views by digesting each statement and putting them together. Grasping logic and gathering information to discern from what is right in front of you! Oh, the joys of listening! Rest, how peasant it is, to gather strength and meditate on the word of God. Such a sweet peace to have, when ones soul is quiet and able to see things from a greater height. There is nothing quite like being able to listen to others because ones soul is at peace, not trying to create a sense of authority or importance about oneself.

Yet, I do not speak up when I should. I do not act as I should. There is no passion in my soul, no drive to do good, no vision to lead others. How helpless I am! I can see but not feel, dream but not achieve, think but not act!

Somewhere in the middle, I struggle with all sides. However frantic I may be, I must find my identity in Christ. His word is my lamp, and He has walked the path before me. He was a passionate listener, a humble doer, a serving leader, and my Savior and friend. Lead me, dear Jesus, I am a broken man with useless talents, I cannot use them without you.

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