Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Tearing Down Walls

Another post for the day....I must be in a writing mood. I won't lie...being back in Lubbock has been difficult. I am floundering, trying to find a place, trying to find a job, trying to find a group to encourage me and push me through this transition year and so far all have been fairly unsuccessful. This summer, as I have mentioned in previous posts, God really broke me. He tore down walls that I had built around myself. I think a lot of times people build walls as defense mechanisms. Walls exist to protect, to shield, to provide safety, security, a level of comfort. But they are detrimental to a very large extent. I had gotten to a place where I was willing to serve and give of myself to a point, but I wasn't willing to let anyone in. Actions can tell a lot about us but when we let people close, they learn even more and have the potential to hurt you even more. This summer, God really used the people at Focus to tear down those walls of bitterness, pride, defensiveness, self-pity, and distrust. Like I said, He broke me. It has been difficult being back in familiar territory without the people that helped soften my heart this summer and learning to operate without these walls. They aren't beneficial or Godly, and ultimately they hurt me and others who desire to be there for me as the Body of Christ should be.

I always think once God has shown me something, the lesson is learned and we can move on to the next one. But He has to continue to teach me or the lesson becomes something really cool that God showed me but not something I apply to my daily life. I am determined these walls stay torn down. God led me to this passage the other night in my quiet time and it really spoke to my heart. I am in no way saying that the following is theologically sound but it was a great analogy for what God desires to do in my life if I give Him an open, willing heart, knowing that it could come with pain, and trusting that He will give me strength and healing if that is what He asks of me:

In Joshua 5:13-6:27, the Lord tells Joshua that He wants him to go march around a city wall and the wall will fall down. That is a very basic summary, but bear with me. Earlier in Joshua 1, God tells Joshua to be strong and courageous, and He promises to give Joshua and the Israelites (God's chosen people) every place they set their feet. Then back in Joshua 5, God promises to give Jericho to the Israelites and tells Joshua the place that the Angel meets with Joshua is holy. OK, so not only does God say, "Hey I am giving you this land," but He makes it holy. Also, notice the progression: the Angel (who some say is Jesus) told Joshua what to do, Joshua told the people, and they did it without asking questions or complaining.

Now, the Bible specifically says that the walls of Jericho were fortified and guarding the city against the Israelites (that's what walls do, remember?). The Israelites walk around this wall for 7 days in a row and then on the 7th day, Joshua tells them to shout for the Lord is giving them the city. Their command was to destroy everything within the city, except that which was most precious (the jewels, gold objects, etc.) and that stuff would be added to the tabernacle of the Lord. So the people shout, the walls are flattened, the people destroy everything and keep the most precious things for the tabernacle of the Lord. Then, Joshua charges the people not to rebuild the city or its walls or they would be cursed. And then the last sentence of the chapter says that God was with Joshua.

Now here comes the real life application and why this convicted me so hard: The Jericho wall reminds me of the walls I build in my life to protect and defend me, sometimes to the point where I hinder the people of God from using their strengths to minister in my life. My life, like that ground Joshua stood on, is claimed for Christ, therefore my life is made holy because of who I serve. God comes into my life, like He did this summer, and reminds me that I am His, claimed for Him, and He tears down my walls, destroying all the bitterness, defensiveness, self-pity, insecurity, pride and keeps only the precious things in my life to add to His tabernacle. In other words He refashions what I have built and rescues me, leaving only what He sees...the beauty of Himself in my life. And then like the people of Israel, He charges me not rebuild the walls in my life that He has torn down because He desires to do something through my vulnerability and openness. And His ultimate promise is to be with me!!! How exciting is that? I hope it encourages your heart and I hope that you allow God to tear through the defenses you have mounted. He can't use something that is focused inward because of walls. He desires to give us freedom and a life spent being used by Him.

Leaning on His promises,

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