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Thursday, January 17, 2013

Our Heavenly Editor

by Niki Turner

At the start of 2013, I, as do many others, started seeking the Lord's direction and guidance for the coming year. He gave me three words: release, accept, and engage. Releasing was relatively easy, with the aid of a New Year's Eve bonfire and some index cards. With my Type A personality, engage tends to be exciting, and comes somewhat naturally most of the time. But I keep tripping over the whole idea of accepting.

You see, I don't want to accept things I don't like. I'd rather fight and struggle and resist until my faith is worn down to the bare nubbins, or simply live in a perpetual state of denial. What I'm learning (slowly) is that until we learn the art of accepting, we can't receive help, and without help, we're stuck making excuses.

From a writing standpoint, I'm reminded of this principle frequently. I edit copy for a small-town weekly newspaper. Over the past decade or so, I've come to the conclusion that there are two kinds of writers... writers who think they can, and writers who think they can't. Surprisingly, it's the writers who think they can't who are the easiest to work with. Why? Because they are open to suggestions and willing to make changes to improve their work. What they produce initially might not be perfect, but because they are willing to accept the fact they aren't "all that," it's easy to help them improve.

Which leads me to believe the same is true in our relationship with our heavenly editor, the Holy Spirit. When we practice acceptance—of ourselves, of others, of situations—we open a dialogue through which the Spirit of the Living God can work with us, direct us, correct us, and guide us into excellence.

Likewise you younger people, submit yourselves to your elders. Yes, all of you be submissive to one another, and be clothed with humility, for
"God resists the proud,
But gives grace to the humble."
Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time, casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you. 

1 Peter 5:5-7 NKJV
For me personally, that means less time spent rebuking things in prayer, and more time spent asking "how can I make the best of this situation as it stands?" 

I see this principle in practice in the fifth chapter of John, when Jesus comes upon the crippled man at the pool of Bethesda. Now, before you read, realize that we are ALL, in some way, the crippled man, the individual who is unable to move forward, unable to change his situation...

"Now there is in Jerusalem near the Sheep Gate a pool, which in Aramaic is called Bethesda and which is surrounded by five covered colonnades. Here a great number of disabled people used to lie — the blind, the lame, the paralyzed.  One who was there had been an invalid for thirty-eight years. When Jesus saw him lying there and learned that he had been in this condition for a long time, he asked him, "Do you want to get well?"
"Sir," the invalid replied, "I have no one to help me into the pool when the water is stirred. While I am trying to get in, someone else goes down ahead of me."
Then Jesus said to him, "Get up! Pick up your mat and walk."  At once the man was cured; he picked up his mat and walked.

John 5:2-9 NIV
The question Jesus asked of the crippled man is the question I think He is asking us all in whatever hindering situation we find ourselves... "Do you want to get well?" Unfortunately, the invalid's response, an excuse, is all too often our response, as well.

What was Jesus' answer? He told the crippled man to suck it up, or more literally, to pick it up and move on. For that invalid, picking up his mat, which represented all his excuses, all his weaknesses, all his shortcomings and failures and inability (talk about an identity crisis!) was a tangible statement of acceptance... not just accepting his weaknesses, but more importantly, accepting God's supernatural assistance. From that point of acceptance, he got up and walked away.

What is it you need to accept, in order to receive God's help?




 Niki Turner is a writer, former pastor's wife, mother of four, and grandmother of two.








11 comments:

  1. Niki cut her signature line shorter than her hair.

    I love this. I'd like to say that I wish God would be a bit more blunt with me but maybe He is and I still don't see it. I'd like everything that's my 'mat' to be a bit more obvious at times when I've allowed myself to think I'm doing my best when instead I need to get off the mat and on my feet.

    Your faith posts never fail to wow me!

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    1. LOL. I still haven't come up with a tag line I like!

      I think we all have a "mat" of self defeating behaviors in our lives. Just learning to recognize what they are is a huge step toward making lasting progress. For me, always being in battle mode about everything is more of a weakness than a strength. Acceptance, like meekness, is the counterpart.

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  2. Hmm...I'll need to think about that question for a while, but really good post.

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  3. "What I'm learning (slowly) is that until we learn the art of accepting, we can't receive help, and without help, we're stuck making excuses."

    Niki, when I read that, I immediately thought of pruning a tree and went looking for the scripture...
    It's John 15:1-2 (NIV) which says, “I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful."

    You're right. God won't prune us unless we both ask and accept His help.

    Thank you for this post, Niki. You've done well.

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    1. Perfect addition to this post, Anita!

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  4. Ooh, this is a thoughtful post and I'm going to need to simmer with it for a while. I KNOW I'm standing in God's way but I just don't move...

    Thanks, Niki.

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    1. This subject is gonna be on my back burner for awhile, too!

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  5. Niki, I've been dealing with something for over a year now. I kept thinking the reason I couldn't move past it was because I wasn't fighting the battle hard enough.

    I can do all things thru Christ.

    Be strong and courageous.

    No temptation great than what we can handle; He will make a way of escape.

    Put on the armor of God. Fight the good fight.

    If there was a scripture that supported my "I've got to overcome this," then I meditated on it.

    On New Year's Day I reached a point of acceptance. I cannot fight this battle. I cannot overcome it. I need Jesus to rescue me.

    Where I am weak, He is strong. Seems that's what I need to learn more every day: to be weak.

    The victory is not mine. It's His.

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  6. Amen, Gina. The verse in James that says "resist the devil" starts with "submit to God." Fighting our own battles is pointless when He already won the war.

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  7. This is a great post, Niki. I think there are areas where I'm pretty accepting, but there are others where I'm stubborn. It's those stubborn times where I forget Who I need to turn to. That's one of the biggest issues I have to work on. Thank you for this!

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