I have a new computer. It is smarter than I am, which admittedly doesn't take much. I was unable to get it out of the box let alone up and running Sunday, hence no blogging. I wasn't feeling so great but I did get myself to the kitchen table and make myself read and pray. I felt so bad physically that it's hard to say what benefit I received, except that I did it. I read I Timothy and two chapters of Proverbs. What stuck in my mind after reading was Paul telling us the law is good when used lawfully. It made me think of the United States and what we're going through these days.
Failed to get to the table on day 6. I failed at just about every endeavor yesterday. Know what I learned? If you fail, get back to it and don't beat yourself up. Repentance is not about punishing yourself or talking smack to yourself about yourself. If I started some self-flagellation, self-condemnation or similar silliness, I would have dreaded the thought of returning for fear of failing again. Ever do that to yourself? Fear failure so much that you don't get back up and dust yourself off when you stumble or fall? I even tell myself things like "You knew you weren't going to be successful." Or remind myself of hurtful things that were said to me as a child. "Didn't everyone tell you you were no damned good? Weren't you told you would never amount to anything?" I have the tendency to want to be prefect in the things I attempt... immediately. Like my desire to build discipline was achieved the first nanosecond I decided to sit at the table and start the journey. To make matters worse, I immediately cease and desist when I can't be perfect. As you can imagine that strategy doesn't offer much hope for accomplishments.
I got myself back to the table today. I confessed my sins, prayed for my church, my pastor, my family and some friends. Seeking forgiveness for my sins could take up 40 minutes with little or no trouble at all. I almost called it good there but thought I would be cheating so I read II Timothy and some more Proverbs. God is very clever. Of course I read II Timothy where we have the lovely verse that reminds us that God gives those who are His a spirit of discipline...and... that He is faithful to preserve what we entrust to Him. You cannot win unless you play by the rules. If I am going to achieve the discipline I seek, I am going to have to trust Him to fulfill the desire. That's the rule of faith vs works. I trust that He will preserve me in accordance to His word, which means that I will have a spirit of discipline NOT because I get up and fulfill the 40 day 40 minute challenge flawlessly, but because God said it. That settles it. Not my works but His grace, even in this.