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Holy Willpower

With thanks to my friends at the Church of the Good Shepherd in Vienna, VA, I share this article written for their Lenten booklet on this day, my Dad’s 78th birthday.

Do you not know that you are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in you? If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy that person. For God’s temple is holy, and you are that temple. (1 Corinthians 3:16-17)

I always have more willpower during Lent. I used to look forward to its coming and think, okay what am I doing that I really should get under control? Then I’d “give it up for Lent.” One year it was dessert. Another year, peanut m&m’s. Then it was Starbucks coffee. And I could do it! Somehow, during Lent, I could wield God’s willpower when mine was insufficient – but only for 40 days. Almost as if Lent was a trial period. ‘Try God’s willpower for 40 days. If not completely satisfied return it on Easter for a full refund.’

So, why can’t I sustain this willpower the rest of the year? Because it is Holy; it belongs to God. During Lent I don’t just give it up, but I give it up to God, and He shows me what His power can do. By His Spirit He demonstrates what a little bit of Holy feels like in my body and my soul. At my invitation, God is not just in my general vicinity, or in my community, or hanging around in case I should need Him, but He is in me. I am a walking, breathing Temple of the living God.

And then scripture says, “If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy that person.” Whoa, that’s protection. It feels good until I think what if I am the one tearing down the temple? How do I treat the temple for the rest of my 325 days?

Here’s what I know: God doesn’t leave me on day 41. He just leaves me to consider that, if I have let Christ in, then whatever I do to me, I do to God. Whatever I do for me, I do for God. As Oswald Chambers puts it, “I must decide whether or not I will agree with my Lord and Master that my body will indeed be His Temple.” Every day, all year long.

It is here that scripture makes its appeal, “…brothers and sisters, by the mercies of God, present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. (Romans 12:1)

In this is the wisdom of Lent. It may feel like God’s trial period with a money back guarantee. But I see it more as a chance to participate in the building of an indestructible Temple, the Holiest of all places, a life centered in Christ. Not by the power of my will but according to the will of the Father. It comes with a lifetime guarantee.

Today: Have you “given something up” for Lent? Ask God to show you what Holy willpower can do with your offering.

What if the Lord is Waiting on Me?

Oswald Chambers writes for today, “Once you have the right relationship with God through salvation and sanctification, remember that whatever your circumstances may be, you have been placed in them by God. And God uses the reaction of your life to your circumstances to fulfill His purpose, as long as you continue to “walk in the light as He is in the light.” (1 John 1:7)

It’s funny, but I feel like I make all the decisions around here. I have a day-timer calendar and a to-do list. I schedule what will happen in my day and then um, get some of it accomplished. No, I didn’t say I accomplish all I decide. Just I do what I darn well decide to.

But some days I wonder whether God is waiting for me to take action on one particular thing before He hands me another. Sort of like he has my life all queued up, ready to move forward as soon as I overcome my inertia.

This occurs to me on days when I get to something I have been putting off, or something I have prayed about, or something I know I need to do. Then, right as I write the card or make the call of hit send on the email, a new opportunity happens. It might be a phone call or an email or a friend walking by. Or it may just be an “interruption” that would have distracted me but for the perfect timing.

But it just makes me wonder. About the timing of things. And who really is in charge.

From there I leap to this: if nothing seems to be happening in my life – nothing that inspires, no directional signs appearing – perhaps God is waiting. Waiting for me. Before He opens the door to the next thing.

I know. This goes against our “wait upon the Lord” mantra. But I see us a sort of team. He lets me think I am in charge. But actually, His plan is unfolding perfectly. Just paced by my willingness to let it.

I have been getting the nudge to wash the dog today. I think I will. I’ll share photos.

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