"Harass these hecklers, GOD, punch these bullies in the nose.
Grab a weapon, anything at hand;
stand up for me!
Get ready to throw the spear, aim the javelin,
at the people who are out to get me.
Reassure me; let me hear you say,
"I'll save you." ~ Psalm 35:1-3 (MSG)
I received an encouraging word in the shower this morning about ‘punching’ through to Jesus. Now I wouldn’t dub this the most enlightening analogy ever received. By all means, it’s a flippin’ sports analogy. How conventionally masculine, right? And for the record, I’ve never understood why the shower has been such a hot spot for divine insight and downloads. Perhaps it’s the cleansing metaphor in action. Perhaps it’s the fact I’m completely alone and that’s when my spiritual antennas reach a sensitivity peak. I could go on… (But I won’t because so much talking about shower time borderlines the awkward. And I firmly believe in the word ‘quota’…)
So I have this five minute pity episode, reminiscing about the time when I used to be a moron. Yes, I can still be one occasionally (on the common sense side), but I’m talking about the ‘Dark Ages’ of my life (a.k.a. ‘The Age of Clueless Rebellion’ during my stint in east Tennessee). Oh, what two years of refinement, purification, realignment, transformation can do, right? It is overwhelmingly sweet: connecting to God entirely and eliminating the earthly associations that once held rights to my identity. Can somebody say, ‘Sayonara? Seriously, cue Stuart Scott and his ‘Booyah!’ bellow. I’m on Jesus’ team and we’re winning…
The light bulb: Often when I wake up from sleep, I start swinging punches…punches at the past, at the devil, at myself. It’s the heart cold that never dies. I pray the Ephesians 6 armor on and lather myself in the truth of God’s Word, but usually this occurs AFTER I’ve knocked myself in a tizzy. It’s happened at least once a week for three years and counting. I’m telling you, it’s incredibly exhausting. I know the motions of ‘taking thoughts captive’ and freedom prayer. Sometimes, the motions are mechanical like a programmed android. Other times, I feel that emphatic ‘kiss’ from the Lord while expressing worship, adoration, etc. But it’s only gotten so far.
The picture: Concerning intimacy with Jesus, I’ve gotten into the red zone so many times in my life. But I’ve fallen short of the goal line and settled for a mere field goal on…probably 75-80% of the time I’ve reached it. (What’s up, Titans!) Do I put points on the board? Absolutely! Do I still fall short of the ultimate prize? Don’t make me say, ‘Duh!’ (Shoot, just did). Call the past week a long visit to the chiropractor. Mine goes by the name of Jesus Christ, and he’s been cracking me up like crazy. It’s hurt like a sugar fast on Christmas. But it’s been one of the best decisions of my life.
The resolution: So many distractions, so little time. When the axe meets the grind, I’ve lived 25% of my life already, and at some point, I have to rise above the harassment. God, punch the bullies in my life, whether they be word curses, vain thoughts, demonic dreams, penetrative insults…I cannot care if my name is an abused baseball in a batting cage. There’s something powerful about God standing up and taking the punches for us. In the meantime, we can punch through the garbage and crap of this life and experience intimacy with Jesus no matter what relational level we’re settled on. The next time you feel tempted to dwell in the land of entitled shame, ‘junk mail’ Satan’s plan, then block him for good with a ‘heart of praise’ stiff arm that would make Chris Berman proud.