Starting to Blog

On January 22, 2008 by Eddie

Starting to blog?….

My wife has been telling me for a while that I should start blogging some of the things that are on my brain, the things God is teaching me through scripture and just through life in general. She says it might help people know me better, but I think she’s just tired of me brain dumping on her when she gets home from a long day at work. At least this way she can check the blog, read through what I’m thinking about, and brace herself for the long discussion that awaits her. There will definitely be rewards for her in heaven for listening to my ramblings, I know it’s tough to endure a discussion on the fascinating details of the Panama Canal or why this word is in the verse instead of another one. If you’re reading this honey, I love you, and I hope this will help prepare you for when you get home today!

All that to say, I’m not sure if anyone will listen to these ramblings, but it’s a good thing for me to write them down. It’s partly motivating for me, I love to write and it’s something I haven’t done in quite a while. I really enjoy exploring thoughts and seeing where they lead, then finding a way to express them on paper that is somewhat concise and understandable. Being concise isn’t my gift, though, I have to warn you. So, here goes nothing, guess you have to start somewhere.

Today, the thing I’m thinking about is a decision that I’ve got to make in the coming weeks and months. It’s one of the decisions that should be weighing on me constantly, but instead I kind of let it sit in the back of my mind and forget about it. This is typically how I deal with very important decisions, and it typically doesn’t bode very well for me in the end. I end up becoming extremely anxious and have trouble sleeping, all that stuff, because I’ve put off thinking about it. And I put off thinking about it because it’s uncomfortable to think about, it’s easier just to think that the decision will take care of itself and I’ll wake up one day saying, “Well God, thanks for making that decision for us, I don’t know that you could have made it any clearer which way you want us to go!” Sometimes, this does happen. Sometimes, God has changed the circumstances of life to the point where the decision is almost irrelevant, where I’d be an absolute fool not to see what the right answer is. But this definitely doesn’t happen every time, and when it doesn’t, it’s when I start to slip into the dangerous cycle of procrastination and anxiety.

So today, prompted by my wife (who would much rather tackle decisions early and be done with them), I decided to try and find a place in scripture where someone made a tough decision and see how the decision was made. Through snooping around on biblegateway, I came across Acts 20, where Paul was expressing his desire to move on to Jerusalem, despite the advice of others and the circumstances that he knew awaited him there. The phrase that jumped out to me was verse 22, where he said “compelled by the Spirit, I am going to Jerusalem.” “Compelled” is an interesting word, not something I say every day. It caught my curiosity, so I started digging deeper into that word.

I know just enough Greek to be dangerous, so please correct me if my interpretation of this word is completely wrong. I wouldn’t be surprised. But as I started digging into this word, “dedemenos”, I realized that its true meaning is “I have been bound.” It is a passive participle, meaning that Paul is not the one doing the binding, but it is being done to him by the Spirit. And the verb “deo”, which this word comes from, literally means “to bind” as in the bindings used when Jesus was wrapped in “swaddling clothes.” It’s a somewhat literal image of being tied to something tightly.

At first, this made no sense to me. Well, it made sense, but it just didn’t really mean anything. So what? You’ve been bound to the Spirit, and you’ve got to make this decision. That seems somewhat like a copout, like the old “God told me to break up with you” excuse to dump your girlfriend. And that would be exactly the outcome of this expression if Paul was opting for the easy way out. But he’s not. Instead, he’s heading straight for his own death and destruction, “bound by the Holy Spirit.” Thinking of it that way, it seems a bit Sadistic, doesn’t it?

But then, there’s freedom hidden in this word as well. And it’s the fact that we’re not the ones that have to make the ultimate decision. Paul isn’t bound by his own intellect to go to Jerusalem. In fact, if he were left to his own devices to make the choice he might find himself putting off the decision until the last minute and then sweating out long nights praying desperately for God to help him understand what was best. But instead, it’s obviously the work of the Spirit making the decision, and in a way he’s just along for the ride. Sure, he has to consciously make the choice to follow the Spirit, which he does every day, but he’s not making the grueling decision to go to Jerusalem, he’s following the lead of the Spirit, which has done the hard work of the decision for him.

This seems really elementary because it is. It’s nothing profound, but it’s helping free me right now from anxiety, knowing that I can just rely on the Spirit to make the decision as long as I keep seeking Him and trying to discern what decision He’s making.

It also brings up two other questions, though, which I’ll need to explore more later…
1. How do I know this is a good thing? It seems somewhat imprisoning and like a loss of the will… how do I know this is what is best?
2. How in the world do I know what the Spirit is deciding? Once I’ve heard the Spirit, the following should come naturally, but how do I figure out what He’s saying?

So that’s what’s on my mind this morning. I’m sure there will be more to come…

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