Sunday, March 20, 2011

Lift Up Your Hands!

Isaiah 61:3 "To grant those who mourn in Zion giving them a garland instead of ashes. The oil of gladness instead of mourning.  The mantle of praise instead of a spirit of fainting. So they will be called oaks of righteousness The planting of the Lord  that He may be glorified."

All of week one in "Breaking Free" was so powerful, but day 5 was huge for me.  I have so many things I want to be freed from, but pride was not one of them. Pride didn't really enter the picture until this week.  I felt like it wasn't that big of an issue for me and I would deal with it later.  Some of these other things seemed so huge and overwhelming to me, but the study kept coming back to pride. You see, I'm not saying I don't have an issue with pride, I'm sure I must.  Everyone is prideful in some way, right?  I've just never been able to understand just how it plays out in my life.  Maybe that's the embodiment of pride, I don't know.  But I asked the Lord to pinpoint it for me since it kept coming up.  And so the floodgates opened. 
This phrase was life altering to me "Like Israel and Judah, much of our captivity is caused by failure to remove pride, idolatry, prayerlessness, and spirit quenching legalism" Honestly all of these things hit home for me, but to think that I am quenching the Holy Spirit with my legalism -- everything hinges on that. Everything! I realized that my pride takes the form of spirit quencing legalism.
Christ's ministry is a ministry of the heart.  Sure, it involves my head, but ultimately it's my heart He's after.  I am much more comfortable with the intellectual than with the emotional.  A lot of knowledge that I have about God never actually reaches my heart.  I don't want to be the center of attention, I don't want to put on a show.  People who know me will say "but you got up there in front of the church and sang for all those years!" Yes, I did.  But it was pretty much forced on me, because I decided to study music in college. I got comfortable with it, but it is not something I chose.  I much prefer a choir setting.
Part of this is personality.  I'm not one of those people who have trouble thinking before I act.  I think until everything becomes foggy.  I tend to be afraid that what I do or say is going to be the wrong thing so I do and say nothing.  I fear what people are going to say.  Now I realize this is all pride.  I never saw it that way before.  I thought "I'm protecting myself"- WRONG! I'm hiding who I am.  "I'm protecting my husband"- WRONG! I'm hurting us both by clamming up and never saying what I really think and feel about a situation. 
Another big revelation was about music.  I have been very distrustful of CCM for several reasons.  I'm an old fashioned girl at heart.  I come from a background of hymns.  I grew up in a Catholic setting singing hymns.  When I got saved I went to a church that sang old fashioned hymns.  I LOVE old fashioned hymns.  They speak to me.  I don't know how they could not speak to someone who listens, but that doesn't make praise music wrong.  It doesn't make Southern Gospel wrong.  It doesn't make Contemporary Christian Music wrong as a whole.  (I do think some take it too far, however) But regardless of the type of music, music speaks to the heart.  And whether it's an old fashioned hymn or southern gospel at church or praise and worship music at home, when it speaks to my heart I have a hard time expressing that.  I hide my tears if I'm moved to tears.  I fight the urge to raise my hand in praise for fear someone might see.  PRIDE.
I think it's going to take some time and work for me to open up completely, but Beth explains that in Exodus 3:7 "I know their sorrows" "The hebrew word for know suggests a deeply intimate relationship or perception." {ding! ding! ding! ding! ding!} Jesus already knows!  He is deeply intimate with my fearful pride and He can overcome!! If I will only let Him.  "He gives a mantle of praise instead of a spirit of fainting so they will be called oaks of righteousness that He may be glorified"! Can anybody say Amen!

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