(This is Part 4 of our devotional series “A Fortified City”.)
Good morning, peeps!
I want you to look at the picture and then look at the title of today’s blog. Go back and forth as many times as you need to. Yes, that IS me – when my hair was bomb and I didn’t have to hold my stomach in for pictures. Look at how lost in thought I was as I was unknowingly being captured on film. Oh my goodness! I can’t even go to the park in peace. The paparazzi! First of all, I was offended that this picture came to mind when I thought of the title this morning. Excuse me! Secondly, I wasn’t lost in deep thought. I just wanted to appear that way for the picture. In fact, I was extremely focused. All of my thoughts were zeroed-in on what was happening right at that moment:
It is hot out here~how do you look like you’re lost in thought~what~look off into the distance~fine~but the sun is in my face~why does the distance include the hot-as-heck sun in my face~I wonder if too much of my chest is out~I want to use this for ministry one day~I hope that is sweat going down my back and not a bug~I will rip these clothes off and run out of this park naked, I ain’t playin’~it is hot~I can’t wait to cut my hair~wait~ what is buzzing by my head~is that a bee~oh Lord, it is a bee~it better not land in my hair~wait, it stopped buzzing~is it in my hair~my head itches now~hurry up and take the stinkin’ picture, dangit~oooh, I cannot wait to cut my hair off~I heard something moving in the grass~what is it~oh~I almost beat the snot out of that bird~I’m cutting my hair off tomorrow~hurry up~
(Random: Did you know that the human mind processes 11,000,000 thoughts per moment? Only 40 of those thoughts are conscious – the remaining 10,999,960 are unconscious. I want you to look at my picture again and the dialog I was having as I tried to appear to be in a state of mindlessness and ask yourself: What do I want my 40 thoughts to be?)
Let me be completely, 100% honest with you: I didn’t know where this series was going. And that’s the God’s-honest truth. Is that using His name in vain? I hope not. I really didn’t. As I told you on Monday, I was set to do something completely different, but was stiff-armed like a mugg:
neck ego is still smarting from that block. I think God tried to soothe my pain by giving the following scriptures, but it hasn’t worked:
Philippians 2:5 – “Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus…”
Romans 12:2 – “And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.”
Mark 12:30 – “And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment.”
This morning I told God, “You need to tell me where You’re going with this because I am not sure I know what I’m doing. This has thrown me for a loop. I know I said that you begin with the end in mind, but I don’t know how to tie all of this together with Mark 1—… never mind.” In Part 1, I listed the above scriptures and said that even though Jesus’ statement in Mark 12:30 came first, the order is actually reversed: Philippians 2:5 has to happen first before you get to Romans 12:2 and only then can you execute Mark 12:30. And I wondered aloud why Jesus didn’t lead off with the other stuff.
He started with the end in mind.
Let me remind you of what I said last week: a country is only as strong as its infrastructure. So that would mean in a war, the country that will come out victorious is the one with the strongest infrastructure. We are in a war, peeps, and we are only going to be as strong as our infrastructure which is the mind. So…our goal is to love the Lord with all of our heart, soul, mind, and strength, right? Well, the first thing we have to do is let the mind that Christ Jesus had be in us (Philippians 2:5). In order for that to happen, ours has to vacate the premises. Not pack up its stuff and leave, but be carried out in a body bag. It has to die. It is only through this death that we can be transformed (Romans 12:2). Remember the caterpillar. I really feel like I need to apologize to somebody’s child for that. We have to die in order to be and none of this, not a single bit, is something that we can just phone in. It has to be intentional. We have to be focused and use all of our 40 conscious thoughts because things like this don’t just happen. And that is the message God has been trying to get across to me. The time of walking in a state of mindlessness is over. It’s time for me to really get focused. That’s the only way I am going to win this war.
And I am going to win this war.
This entire series I have let you in on my journey of resistance. This is hard for me because this is the first time in ministry that I have questioned my ability to do this. I had a brief space when I first started where I wondered if I was supposed to preach or teach, but I’ve never questioned whether I was actually called to be a minister. This is the war I told you I was fighting at the beginning of the last series – my declaration after hearing TobyMac’s song “Til The Day I Die” put me squarely in the line of fire and it has been hard. The war against my mind has been kicking my butt. Both my jeans and my Chucks are dirty, and I do not let my Chucks get dirty. It’s gotten so hard that this week, I asked God if He was sure He still wanted me to be one who carries His message because I don’t know if I can. I don’t want to die. I kid you not. I do not. I want to minister, yes, but man! Die?? *sigh*
I asked God this morning why He has me doing this series. And not only that, why do I have to chronicle this part of my journey with people looking on? Because I want them to see you now with the end in mind. When I started this blog, I began with the end in mind: to love the Lord with all of my heart, soul, mind and strength. And that would mean you’d be privy to all of it: the good, the bad, and the sho’nuff ugly. This is me, Deone, in my jeans and Chucks. My Chucks won’t always be clean. And I may fall down sometimes and get my jeans dirty. I am not perfect and am completely under-qualified to do this. I don’t have a degree in ministry-anything and I don’t spend hours upon hours poring over the scriptures. But He uses me. By the equipping of the Holy Spirit, He uses me. In my seemingly few and far between moments of submission, He uses me. Because I let Him. Because I show up to the battlefield every single day. He takes what He can get because, well, that’s all I have to give. And He works it. This morning, I was reassured of that. HE works it and is still working on me as He uses me.
So, here I am. I am one God is using. And I am amazed every single day. I almost want to look up at my ceiling right now and say, “You like me. You really like me. I don’t know why, but You do.” This journey doesn’t always make sense, but here we are. Here I am…in my jeans and Chucks. And sometimes, my Chucks are covered in mud. Have a great day.