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Saturday, October 24, 2009

My Journey through the book “The Marriage Builder” Part 3: What Keeps Me From Risking?

Toward the end of chapter 2, Dr. Crabb offers insight into the question: What are the reasons that we do not depend on the Lord to meet our personal needs for things like security and significance and how do we get back to that identity in the midst of relational pain? On page 36, Crabb cites two errors that prevent us from living in a way that is consistent with the truth that our personal needs are met fully in Christ:

Error #1: “Because someone has rejected me or because I have failed, I am less worthwhile as a person.” We allow our experiences of hurt and betrayal to inform our worth rather than the fact that we belong to Christ and He is worthy!

Error #2: “Hiding behind the truth of our worth in Christ to avoid feeling pain in relationships.” This error prevents us from living as Jesus did and as Jesus calls us to do also. As Crabb rightly points out, “we should enter into relationships that are deep enough to cause profound hurt when they fail. To say that Christ is sufficient does not imply that He is to function as some sort of asbestos cover protecting us from the pain of interpersonal fire. Rather His resources make it possible for us to continue responding biblically in spite of the great pain we may feel, because the pain, though great, will never be enough to rob us of our security and significance.”

Under Error #1, we risk, but we are destroyed. Under Error #2, we do not risk, and therefore we cannot live in obedience to the kind of risk-taking and vulnerable love that Jesus modeled.

On pages 38-39, Crabb offers tools to help us get out from underneath Error #1:

1) “Fully acknowledge all your feelings to God”. Here Crabb refreshingly encourages us to be real with God. He reminds us that Jesus is our High Priest who sympathizes with our weakness! “We are not to pretend we are penitent when we feel hurt. When our stomachs churn with grief or anger or pain, we must humbly acknowledge to the One-who-sees-everything whatever we really feel.” He gives the following example: “Lord, right now I am hurting more than I think I can endure. I feel like screaming, running away, hitting somebody! I don’t want to feel this way, but I do. I feel worthless, empty, sad and angry. Thank you for loving me exactly as I am.” This way of praying—with sincerity, honesty, and an appeal for help to the only One who can help--is also discussed in “A Praying Life” by Paul Miller.

2) “Reaffirm the truth of your security and significance in Christ.” This step involves deliberately reminding of ourselves of the truth that our security and significance are met in Christ. When I read this, I was reminded of Ephesians 1:3-14, which tells me that I have everything I need in Christ—I have security, significance and so much more. I think it is helpful to read passages like this when we are trying to reaffirm the truth of security and significance in Christ:

Ephesians 1:3-14 “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, 4 even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love 5 he predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, 6 to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved. 7 In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace, 8 which he lavished upon us, in all wisdom and insight 9 making known to us the mystery of his will, according to his purpose, which he set forth in Christ 10 as a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth. 11 In him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will, 12 so that we who were the first to hope in Christ might be to the praise of his glory. 13 In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, 14 who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory.”

3) “Commit yourself to ministering to your spouse’s [or friend’s?] needs, knowing that however he may respond can never rob you of your worth as a person.” Once we are rooted in the truth that we are unbelievably loved and provided for in Christ and that we have the privilege of participating with Him in His glorious plan, we have the freedom to love in a sacrificial servant way. I have heard people say “I cannot love others unless I love myself.” I disagree with this. I think it is more accurate to say, “I cannot love others unless I am rooted in Christ’s love for me.” Christ’s love is empowering and enables us to take risks! Crabb cites 1 John 4:18 “There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear.” Again, this step requires that we are rooted in Scriptures that remind us of Christ’s love for us. I would add that constant prayers of total and utter dependence on God are crucial here too: “Lord, I need you to show me how you are calling me to serve this person’s needs. Lord, I need your strength and the refreshment of our love to risk my heart as you call me to do. Lord, I am not capable of this on my own, yet your love gives me strength.”

Error #2 inhibits and kills oneness between two people. This is not honoring to God, particularly in marriage. Furthermore, our withdrawal prevents us from being able to fully commit to minister to our spouses [or friend’s] needs. At this point you might be thinking: “If our needs are meant to be met fully in Christ, why must I minister to my spouses needs?” Here is Crabb’s answer:

Although it is true that our needs are fully met in Christ, it is also true that the Lord normally uses husbands and wives as His instruments to develop within each other a conscious awareness of personal worth. It is Christ alone who grants us security and significance, but it is often (by no means always) our spouses who help us feel worthwhile. P. 42
The concept that God administers His grace to His people through His people comes from Scripture:

1 Peter 4:10 “As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God's varied grace”

As a wife, I am a steward of God’s grace for my husband. When I withdraw from him to protect myself, I am not stewarding God’s gift of grace for him very well. I love what Crabb says here:

God commands husbands and wives to submit to one another, that is, to put each other’s needs first. I am to touch my spouse’s deepest needs in such a way that I produce in her a conscious taste of what it is like to be deeply loved and respected.” P. 42
This reminded me of:

Philippians 2:1-11 “So if there is any encouragement in Christ, any comfort from love, any participation in the Spirit, any affection and sympathy, 2 complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. 3 Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. 4 Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. 5 Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, 6 who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, 7 but made himself nothing, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. 8 And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. 9 Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, 10 so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11 and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father”

Crabb goes on to say:

Now, if we are to do our jobs well, we must explore how our behavior affects each other’s awareness of our security and significance in Christ. In doing so, we will necessarily expose very private aspects of our personality. Nothing gives me a deeper sense of oneness with my wife than to share with her some of my struggles—the disappointments, hurts, fears, and unmet longings. To know that she is aware of my most central struggles initially creates an incredible fear. I stand exposed and naked before her. Will she pass off my concerns lightly? Will she lose respect for me? Will she laugh or criticize? If she does reject me, I must depend on Christ’s love as my basis for a sense of worth. But when she listens to me—really listens—and accepts me with my problems and frustrations, a closeness develops between us that can help me to regain the perspective to believe that I really am worthwhile in Christ. The kind of closeness that results from revealing to my wife central parts within me that I share with no one else is a central element in Spirit Oneness….husbands and wives need to regard problems, not as a cause to withdraw, but rather as an opportunity to learn how to minister better to each other. P. 43

Withdrawing is selfish. Whoa.

The oneness of marriage is the fullest human expression of oneness that two human beings can have with one another and there are important aspects of oneness that are meant only for marriage. There is a physical, emotional, and spiritual intimacy that is unique to marriage. If you are married, you are called to prioritize your relationship with your spouse second to your relationship with Christ. However, God also intends for His people to experience oneness. We see this in Jesus’ High Priestly prayer to our Heavenly Father:

John 17:20-23 “I do not ask for these only, but also for those who will believe in me through their word, 21 that they may all be one, just as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me. 22 The glory that you have given me I have given to them, that they may be one even as we are one, 23 I in them and you in me, that they may become perfectly one, so that the world may know that you sent me and loved them even as you loved me.”

In light of all this, how do you build oneness in marriage or friendships? How do you walk in the light and show your spouse or friends who you really are--even though it isn’t all pretty? How do you create an environment where your spouse or friend can walk in the light with you and show you who they truly are—even though it isn’t all pretty? How do you inhibit oneness? Do you hide who you are? Do you hide behind your busy-ness? Do you hide behind service to others? Do you withdraw? Are you so occupied with your own interests that you cannot look to the interests of another?

Are you willing to pray to your Father about it?:

Dear Heavenly Father, Thank you for your glorious truth! Your ways are so different from the default mode of our hearts. Your ways are so different from the way the world tells us to live. Help us to live out of your truth. Give us a hunger for your Word, and reveal yourself to us in your Word with the power of your Spirit! Remind us of our love and empower us with your love! As you pour your love into our hearts, may we pour it out to others by your grace! Father, we confess that we have believed lies about our significance and security. We confess that we have looked for security and significance in all the wrong places. We confess we have made relationships an idol that causes us to be overly dependant on others or that causes us to withdraw from others. We confess that we have looked to our own interests and not to the interests of others—to our spouse’s interests, and to our friends’ interests. We love so imperfectly! Forgive us!! Teach us how to love! Open our eyes to the ways we are failing to love those whom you have brought into our lives. Open our eyes to the idolatry we have created. Open our eyes to the ways we have failed to steward your gift of grace to those around us.  Show us specific examples. Help us to repent and show us what we need to do to make things right with our spouses, brothers, and sisters. Empower us to take the risks you call us to in love. Jesus, be our perfect example of sacrificial, scandalous, risk taking, love. Give us sincere love! Give us your heart for others—especially for our spouses. Show us the ways that we sinfully inhibit oneness with our spouse and with your people. Draw us further into oneness with our spouse and oneness with your people—that your name may be glorified in all the earth and in the heavenly realms! I pray this in Jesus’ name. Amen.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

My Journey Through the Book, "The Marriage Builder," Part 2 My Response to Legitmate Personal Needs

I wanted to write down some more of my thoughts from the book, “The Marriage Builder,” by Larry Crabb. As I mentioned in previous posts, Dr. Crabb acknowledges that all human beings have legitimate personal needs--such as security and significance—that can only be met through relationships. He states:

Most of us, when we look within, can put our finger on a strong desire to love and be loved, to accept and be accepted. When we sense that someone genuinely cares about us, or when we ourselves sense a deep compassion for someone else, something profound is stirred within us I suggest that our longing for love represents one set of needs that partly defines what it means to be a person or spirit. P. 28
On page 30, Crabb contends that human beings often deal with such personal needs by any of the following means:

1. Ignoring them

2. Finding satisfaction in achievement

3. Attempting to meet their needs through another person

4. Depending on the Lord to meet these needs

Crabb says that ignoring our personal needs leads to personal death just as ignoring physical needs leads to physical death. He notes the symptoms of personal death as being “feelings of worthlessness, despair, morbid fears, loss of motivation and energy, turning to drugs or sex or alcohol to numb the pain of dying and a sense of emptiness and boredom.” P. 30. Similarly, Crabb points out that attempting to meet our personal needs through achievements also fails us as it leads to “shallow relationships” that do not satisfy at the “deepest level”. P. 31 Crabb also states that attempting to meet our needs through another person is equally disappointing. For example, he says:
A marriage bound together by commitments to exploit the other for filling one’s own needs (and I fear that most marriages are built on such a basis) can legitimately be described as a “tic on a dog” relations. Just as a hungry tic clamps on to a nourishing host in anticipation of a meal, so each partner unites with the other in the expectation of finding what his or her personal nature demands. The rather frustrating dilemma, of course, is that in such a marriage there are two tics and no dog! P. 32
He goes on to say:
Every person alive has experienced sometime the profound hurt of finding rejection when he or she longed for acceptance. We come into marriage hoping for something different, but inevitably we soon encounter some form of criticism or rejection. The pain that results is so intense that it demands relief. So we retreat behind protective walls of emotional distance, angry with our partners for letting us down so badly, unwilling to meet again at the level of deep needs for the fear of experiencing more pain…A variety of behaviors can function as protective layers. Some of the more common ones…are: unwillingness to share deep feelings; responding with anger when real feelings are hurt; changing the subject when the conversation begins to be threatening; turning off, clamming up, or other maneuvers designed to avoid rejection or criticism; keeping oneself so busy with work, social engagements, entertainment, church activities or endless chatter that no deep sharing is possible. P. 32-33
Wow. I found these observations fascinating and I would venture to say that all of us default to at least one of the above three responses when it comes to dealing with the holes in our heart—our deepest non-physical needs. Do you see where your heart tends to default? My heart tends to default in having other people meet my needs. Since my needs cannot be met by another, my heart is easily disappointed and I quickly build up protective layers that inhibit intimacy—truly knowing and being known by others. As I have discussed in previous posts, this intimacy is something that God desires for His people to experience—firstly and most deeply with Him, secondly in marriage, and thirdly in the family of God.

The fourth option of dealing with our personal needs is to depend on the Lord to meet them. Crabb rightly points out that:

Our personal needs for security and significance can be genuinely and fully met only in relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ. To put it another way, all that we need to function effectively as persons (not necessarily to feel happy or fulfilled) is at any given moment fully supplied in relationship with Christ and whatever he chooses to provide.

1. We need to be secure. He loves us wit a love we never deserved, a love that sees everything ugly within us yet accepts us, a love that we can do nothing to increase or decrease, a love that was forever proven at the Cross, where Christ through His shed blood fully paid for our sins to provide us with the gift of an eternally loving relationship with God. In that love I am secure.

2. We need to be significant. The Holy Spirit has graciously and sovereignly equipped every believer to participate in God’s great purpose of bringing all things together in Christ The body of Christ builds itself up through the exercise of each member’s gifts. We are enabled to express our value by ministering to others, encouraging our spouses, training our children, enduring wrong without grumbling, and faithfully doing everything to the limits of our capacity for the glory of God. We can live in the confidence of knowing that God has sent out a path of good works for each of us to follow (Eph. 2:10) and that our obedience will contribute to fulfilling the eternal plan of God. These truths, when realized and acted upon, provide unparalleled significance. P. 34-35
Wow!!!!! Christ has truly met our need for security and significance in a way that really satisfies. Why then do we still look to things that do not satisfy?

Psalm 34: 8-10 Oh, taste and see that the LORD is good! Blessed is the man who takes refuge in him! 9 Oh, fear the LORD, you his saints, for those who fear him have no lack! 10 The young lions suffer want and hunger; but those who seek the LORD lack no good thing.
How true is this! Why do I forget?

As Crabb says in his book, "Our dulled eyes of faith strain to keep these spiritual realities in clear focus.  We have a remarkable capacity for failing to lay old of ideas that I suppose would seem clear to undiluted faith."
What would my relationships with others (and especially with my husband) look like if I constantly remembered and lived out of this reality?  

Do you see how this book is about so much more than marriage?  More on this next time...

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

The Highway to One

This post is a pre-cursor to my next posts about the book, “The Marriage Builder” by Dr. Larry Crabb. The term “Oneness” comes up frequently in Crabb’s book, so I wanted to take some time to look at this concept from Scripture.
Deuteronomy 6:4 says, “Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one.”

In John 14 when Philip asked Jesus to show him the Father, Jesus says to Philip, “Have I been with you so long, and you still do not know me, Philip? Whoever has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? 10 Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me?”

We see the beauty of the oneness of God between Father and Son by the Spirit in Scripture. The incredible part is that we are invited to be one with this Magnificent God through Jesus!

2 Cor 5:17-21 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. 18 All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; 19 that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation. 20 Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. 21 For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.

As God has united us to Himself, He unites us to one another as brothers and sisters of Christ--One Body, One Bride, and One Fellowship.

Ephesians 4 says, “I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, 2 with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, 3 eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. 4 There is one body and one Spirit—just as you were called to the one hope that belongs to your call— 5 one Lord, one faith, one baptism, 6 one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.”

We get to see the beautiful significance of a unified Body in Jesus’ high priestly prayer in John 17:

20 “I do not ask for these only, but also for those who will believe in me through their word, 21 that they may all be one, just as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me. 22 The glory that you have given me I have given to them, that they may be one even as we are one, 23 I in them and you in me, that they may become perfectly one, so that the world may know that you sent me and loved them even as you loved me. 24 Father, I desire that they also, whom you have given me, may be with me where I am, to see my glory that you have given me because you loved me before the foundation of the world. 25 O righteous Father, even though the world does not know you, I know you, and these know that you have sent me. 26 I made known to them your name, and I will continue to make it known, that the love with which you have loved me may be in them, and I in them.”

As we experience this oneness in Christ-rooted human relationships, we become a testimony to the world of God and His love!

As we experience oneness in Christ-rooted human relationships, we are built up together as part of God’s glorious plan to unite a people for Himself:

Ephesians 4:7-16 But grace was given to each one of us according to the measure of Christ's gift….11 And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, 12 to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, 13 until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ, 14 so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes. 15 Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, 16 from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love.

This context brings particular meaning to these passages in Scripture that speak of the oneness between husband and wife:

Genesis 2:18-25 Then the LORD God said, “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him.” 19 Now out of the ground the LORD God had formed every beast of the field and every bird of the heavens and brought them to the man to see what he would call them. And whatever the man called every living creature, that was its name. 20 The man gave names to all livestock and to the birds of the heavens and to every beast of the field. But for Adam there was not found a helper fit for him. 21 So the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man, and while he slept took one of his ribs and closed up its place with flesh. 22 And the rib that the LORD God had taken from the man he made into a woman and brought her to the man. 23 Then the man said,
“This at last is bone of my bones
and flesh of my flesh;
she shall be called Woman,
because she was taken out of Man.”
24 Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh. 25 And the man and his wife were both naked and were not ashamed.

Ephesians 5:22-33 "Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. 23 For the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior. 24 Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit in everything to their husbands.

25 Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, 26 that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, 27 so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish. 28 In the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. 29 For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church, 30 because we are members of his body. 31 “Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.” 32 This mystery is profound, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church. 33 However, let each one of you love his wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband."

Considering that:

1) Marriage is the most intimate of human relationships with the greatest extent of oneness that two human beings can experience with each other; and that

2) Scripture talks at length about unity and oneness with God and with each other; and that

3) God’s vision for marriage is that we experience intimacy with one another, that is that we become “one flesh”—“naked and unashamed” (*and this has far more to do with just physical or just emotional—it is powerfully both!!)

How many of us fight for unity, intimacy, and real friendship in marriage? How many times do we choose unity, intimacy, and real friendship with our husbands rather than giving into fear, self-protection, unbelief, despair, manipulation, or mechanical dutiful obedience?  
(My answer to this question = Ouch)

Monday, October 12, 2009

Journey through the book "The Marriage Builder" Part 1: Security and Significance in Christ

This book might just put all marriage counselors out of business. Just kidding. But it truly is ministering to me at a deep heart level. I am half way through it, and it has left me with much to ponder about what human beings need, how those needs are met in a Biblical way, and how God is glorified in human relationships in general and marriage relationships in particular.

The major theme running through the book is that human beings are designed for intimate relationship. We are created to know and be known. We need security and significance. At this point, bells might be going off for some of you (they would be for me if I was reading this). You may be wondering, “Is this another self help-y book on marriage?” One of the things I appreciate most about this book is that it avoids some of the frequent errors of other popular marriage books--which is falling on one extreme of the spectrum between “It’s all about me and my feelings” selfish psycho-babble crap and the "Let go and let God...God doesn't give you more than you can handle" hyper-spirituality crap.

The concepts in the book are based on the truth that we are created in the image of the triune God of love who experiences perfect love and unity between Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. The God of this perfect relationship created human beings to be in relationship. In fact, human beings need relationship. We need relationship with God. Christianity is all about relationship with the Triune God. We are also created for close relationships with others.

Dr. Crabb contends that “the Scriptures teach that relationships offer two elements that are absolutely essential if we are to live as God intended: 1) the security of being truly loved and accepted, and 2) the significance of making a substantial, lasting, positive impact on another person.” (p. 20 )

I doubt that there is a person alive who does not want or need these two things—married or not, Christian or not.

Dr. Crabb asserts that if the needs for security and significance are not met, “it makes no sense to exhort people with unmet needs to live responsibly before God any more than it does to instruct someone with laryngitis to speak up” (p. 20). Here is the kicker though: “…we do not need to feel secure or significant to function as we should. I may not feel worthy or accepted, but I am still responsible to believe what God has said. His Word assures me that in Christ I am both secure in His love and significant in His plan…Christ has made me secure and significant. Whether I feel it or not, it is true. I am instructed by God to believe that my needs are already met, and therefore I am to live selflessly, concerned only with the needs of others. The more I chose to live according to the truth of what Christ has done for me, the more I will come to the sense the reality of my security and significance in Him.” (p. 21)

Ouch, this was convicting. I have no doubt that this is my number one problem in marriage. When life becomes difficult, when conflict arises, when I am sinned against, when the opportunity to sin presents itself, I do not live like I believe that my security and significance comes from Christ. I know that the only answer here for me is to root myself and establish myself in the great truths of Scripture, which shout to me that my security and significance are in Christ!!! I must cry out continually to God: “Fill me with your Spirit! May I be strengthened with your power through your Spirit in my inner being so that Christ may dwell in my heart through faith! May I be rooted and grounded in your love! Give me strength with my brothers and sisters to know the breadth and length and height and depth of your love---to know your love that surpasses knowledge that I may be filled with all the fullness of you!!” (See, Ephesians 3:14-21) I need to keep going back to Biblical promises and truths like these:

How easily I forget that my security and significance are in Christ! When my husband has had a bad day and takes it out on me (like I have done to him many, many times before), how easily I forget! When the enticing comfort of an idol pops into my mind, how easily I forget! When a friend abandons, betrays, forgets, how easily I forget!

When I forget, I feel despair and I justify my sinful responses…I retreat, I lash out, I rebel, I indulge.

There is a lot more that God is teaching me through this book, but that will have to wait until my next post…..

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Goodbye TV

In the spirit of my last post, I have a confession to make. Lately, my favorite thing to do is to curl up on the couch and channel surf. I can seriously waste so much time in front of the television. It is so comforting to forget about my own life and my own problems and to escape to another world. It is a distraction from dealing with the situations in my own life—from the difficult areas of growth to which I know the Lord is calling me, from interacting with people who have hurt me deeply, from interacting with people who have not hurt me (yet), and from dealing with the heartache of the situations of suffering around me in the lives of people I love. For me right now, television is all about “me time”—it is all about numbing me and not about serving God or others. Television has become my cowardice. I have been going to it for comfort instead of going to my Lord for comfort. Going to the television for comfort does not require dealing with my struggles. Going to the Lord does.

I don’t want to live a life of selfish indulgence and cowardly waste. I want to make the most of the gift of life that God has given me. I want to spend my life growing in the love of my Savior—in knowing Him; knowing His love for Himself, for others and for me; loving Him in worship; and loving Him by loving others. I do not want anything to distract me from this. I want my life to be a life of worshipful sacrificial service, not indulgence and waste.

So, we are giving up cable. This essentially means we will not have television reception at our home. Please do not misconstrue what I am saying—I am not saying that watching television is sinful. I actually think moderate television watching can be a healthy form of recreation and source of learning. But for me right now, it has become something that I am using sinfully. And so for me, for now, it has to go.