A Devotional by Margot Cioccio
We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.
Often when I am writing and sometimes when speaking, I find myself surprised by some of the things that come to the surface. I was sharing with someone about how the old dead nature in me tends to worry and over think things. When I start making back up plans, to back up plans,.... to back up plans I know I am living into the old nature. So my comment that surprised me was "So as long as I don't trip myself up in the whole must be responsible and go overboard in back up to back up plans and remember that I don't have to run the universe - I will be fine. I think I am doing pretty good with it but I've just described the dark and untrusting side that I have to clunk over the head with a shovel from time to time to remind it that its dead and buried and Jesus is alive in me and I don't have to live into that old dead nature. "
I dont have to live into that old dead nature any more and neither do you.
By "living into it" I mean that you feed it, protect it, make excuses for it, you allow it to define you, you may be somewhat consumed by it. I suppose in myself that it is part of a old survival mechanism that I must have put into place as a result of being let down by people I should have been able to trust, and the losses of some key people in my early life. I suppose I have came to view others as generally passing through ones life and I ordered my life in such a way as to think that I did not really need anyone. I can be very good at re-writing the script of my life and spinning it in a new direction to avoid the loss of or disappointment of people. The whole back up plan thing is pretty deeply imprinted into the fabric of my old dead life. Even now after walking with the Lord that old habit to over plan, and to think I can control, raises its head and tries to entice me back into the old way of taking matters into my own hands. I'm not saying that we should not have a plan or that we should not take action. For me it is difficult to really trust people. My experience is that they will fail you, let you down. Even good, well meaning people don't always come through like you might expect. Life happens and it sometimes spins us off in directions we never imagined.
For me I have seen God come through for me over and over. I have learned that He can be trusted. People on the other hand I'm not so good at trusting. When I start spinning back up plans for how to deal with the loss or let down of people who are in some way important to me - I know I have gone back to the old dead way of life before Jesus. That is the part that needs hit over the head with a shovel and reminded that it is dead. I have to remind myself that God is in control and I don't have to try and figure out, or manipulate or help God to make things work out according to my pre conceived plan.
I have to remember it is Gods greater story and I get to be a part of it. I don't have to make things happen for God. I may be used by God to answer some needs that people have, but I don't need to set myself up in their lives as Gods intermediary. I have learned some of this in working with the homeless. There are so many needs, sometimes I am able to do something but often all I can do is listen and pray and allow God to be God and work in their life. I have had to learn to hold people capable of working through their own issues with Gods help. I may even at times think I know what they should do and it might even be a good solution if it was my problem. I have to allow them to discover God's plan for their own situation. I don't have to try and be God and provide the answer, or the solution. I don't even need to have great wisdom to be used by God to encourage others to look to God and trust Him to show them the way through their present difficulties. Honestly our difficulties are often Gods blessings in disguise. It is often the pain of our circumstance that causes us to get off our complacent, lazy butts and make some needed changes.
Learning to trust people, for me has been a process of learning to see Jesus in other people. They are still likely to be imperfect and will still be broken and flawed but I look to see where Jesus is alive and working in them. There are some folks that I look to because I know they have walked with Jesus for a long time and that they have been through their share of stuff. I know I can trust them to help me find the college level answers that I need to figure out things in my life. I know that often they may not have an answer, but I know they will pray and not spout off some kindergarden understanding of a over simplified understanding of a refrigerator verse. (You know the ones that make it to magnets). I have a few of those kind of people. I strive to be that kind of a person for others.
I often will hear someone remark after I have prayed for them."How did you know" or "How are you able to understand?" Most often I don't know before hand what their situation is - I just pray as the Holy Spirit leads me. Its part of God's gifting in me. When I lay hands on people I am some how connected and the Holy Spirit gives me the things to pray. I prayed for one woman a while back that God would give her a voice. I had no idea that she had had surgery on her vocal chords. I thought God was wanting her to be able to be heard for what she had to say, to have a voice at the table. Often I will find myself praying out of a place that God has been dealing with me during the week. In a sense out of my own imperfection and brokenness. In those time as I am putting my own problem aside to minister to someone else God pours out his healing through me and it is not just them that receives the healing but it spill over into my life as well.
What was my point today? Oh yeah - not living into your old dead nature. We all have to allow the Holy Spirt to lead us. He is working in us to bring about changes in His timing. Often stuff I think is a big deal is only a surface issue in the mind of God. He will go down and dig up the real root of the issue and uncover other things that must be dealt with first. I look to see where I see the opposites of love, joy, peace, patience, goodness, faithfulness, and self control in my life. I look at the opposites as a a red flag that I am feeding something that should be dead. Where are you still feeding and living into your old dead nature? Let God speak to you now and show you that thing or that area that you need to allow him to come into and minister his healing so that you can begin to live in him not in the old dead life.
Dear Lord, You know those parts of our life that are not yet surrendered and crucified and dead. Help us to see that things that we are still holding on to like old security blankets when in truth we need to be looking to you. You know the areas of brokenness and lack that we are trying to solve by our own devices. Help us to trust you in those places. You alone can rescue and you alone can save us.