July 14, 2006

Time to Get Violent

I've mentioned a couple of times that I'm facilitating The Virtuous Woman by Vicki Courtney at my home this summer. It's been amazing to get to know some women in my life even better. God has really blessed our time together. Last night, our topic was being a woman of wisdom. As we discussed the Godly & wise women in our lives, I was floored to hear one of the ladies say that she looked up to ME as a wise woman & felt she'd learned a lot from me. I was quick to tell her that it was God, and not me she was seeing. Tears immediately filled my eyes. Although I've been hoping for a while that God would use me to minister to women, I couldn't believe I was hearing someone say that. I thought I would be filled with joy. I wasn't. I mean, I know what I'm like. I live with me 24/7. I know who I am (and who I'm not). Allow me to introduce myself. I'm Melissa, the Pharisee. Melissa, the hyprocrite. Melissa, the sin-filled, self-indulgent, cold-hearted, mean-spirited...well, I don't have enough time to list all the adjectives that would properly describe me. By the way, "wise" ISN'T one of them.

This morning, God gently, but firmly, let me know why I was feeling so convicted. I've been using Secrets of the Secret Place by Bob Sorge as my devotional (great book, I HIGHLY recommend it). In today's chapter, "The Secret of Violence", Sorge states:

It's easy to confuse natural zeal with spiritual violence. Some people display incredible zeal for God - in the way they worship or share their faith or attend Bible studies. But if it's a natural zeal, it's a zeal that lasts only as long as others are watching. When that person is alone with God, the zeal fizzles, and the intense level of activity suddenly collapses. Natural zeal must be exchanged for true spiritual fervency - a zeal that is energized by an inward, holy fire that burns even when no one is looking.

Well, I was totally undone after reading that. I couldn't have seen myself any clearer if I'd been staring in a full-length mirror (which I never do!). I know how to worship. I know how to teach Sunday School. I know how to facilitate a Bible study. Reading the Bible and books about the Bible interests me. I love to attain knowledge. But do I have spiritual fervency? Do I forsake everything else to seek God?

As Sorge writes:

One of the most violent things you'll ever do is wrestle down all the competing elements in your calendar and consistently carve out the time to shut yourself into the secret place.

At times, I'm overwhelmed by my calendar. I shared in this blog, there are too many things to do. As Beth Moore has said, one of Satan's greatest tools is the captivity of activity. Am I willing to wrestle some things to the ground so that I can have time with God and truly become a wise woman?

You know, it's not that hard to put on a face & play the part, at church or in the blogging world. It's actually pretty easy to LOOK like I'm running after God with everything I have. But I don't want to settle for looks anymore. God isn't deceived. More than anything, I want to be genuine. I want people to know what they're really seeing, instead of whatever I put out there for them to see. And what I want them to see is JESUS...because there's not one shred of good in me. If that means I have to be downright nasty with Satan, he can bring it on. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. (Phil. 4:13)

Beloved, I'm ready to get violent...are you?


Blessed Beyond Measure said...

So many things in this post! Captivity of activity - wrestle some things to the ground. And this: One of the most violent things you'll ever do is wrestle down all the competing elements in your calendar and consistently care out the time to shut yourself into the secret place.

Man did this post speak to me. I plan to print it out - I NEEDED to read this. Thanks so much for sharing it. xoxo

Melissa said...


It should be CARVE out time. i'm fixing the typo now :-)

Amanda said...

This is what all of us struggle with. I think people in ministry especially. We make the mistake of thinking that all of the things we are "doing" is doing it for us spiritually. We have to get alone with God and not let our doings take us away from being on our knees.

sarah said...

Great post, Melissa! Your honesty and and the "yes" in your spirit toward God are an encouragement and exhortation to all of us.