Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence? (Psalm 139:7 NIV)
I went running today. Kind of.
I actually went hiking. Ok, if we are being technical I'm still in the middle of my hike. (Which explains why this probably looks like it was kind of thrown together.) I'm sitting on a rock praying I don't reenact the Duck Dynasty episode I watched recently of some of the characters getting ants in the pants. Literally praying.
Right before I sat down I was running. For about 45 seconds... Maybe a minute. Mount Helena is steep! Don't laugh! Allow me to give you a mental picture of what just occurred. I was hiking (walking but hiking sounds so much harder) from the very beginning. After awhile my legs started to feel lose and I came upon a spot that looked more flat than uphill so I thought, "Hmmm. I bet I can run for a bit. I mean I do run. Usually not straight uphill, but i'll be fine for a bit." So I start running. It went so great, y'all, for about 20 seconds. Then just as I was mentally preparing to slow down and hike (walk) for another five minutes before trying again to run something awful happens.
I see people. Multiple. Three women to be exact.
So what am I suppose to do?! Just stop running and have them talk about how I am so out of shape the rest of their way down the mountain? No way! I want them to talk about how IN shape I am and how they wish they could that. (Prideful thoughts are hard enough- typing them out for other people to read is especially humbling. Blah.) I thought this knowing full well that as soon as they couldn't see me (or hear my breathing) anymore I planned to stop immediately.
So I kept running.
I fooled them.
I faked them out.
They think I'm one of those people that run up mountains..... HA! If only.
As soon as I stopped and allowed myself to process what just happened, the Spirit showed me a few things.
1) I do this in life outside of Mount Helena. With friends. With family. Sadly, even with my husband. I don't stop to show weakness. So I run. I run until I can be alone and work things out by myself without any ones help. Never-mind that the Scripture makes it very clarify that it's through our weakness that God is shown to others by letting him work in us. That's something I tell people, but it's not for me. I got this. I fool people. I fake them. They think I'm one of those girls that can do life without messing up.... Ha! If only.
2) I do this in my walk with The Lord. I see a straight stretch and decide to handle it on my own without thinking twice. Instead of stopping when I hear the Holy Spirit guiding, I keep running. I pick up the pace even sometimes. I can do this on my own. I think I can fool God. I think I can fake Him. Ha! I'm glad I can't. I'm thankful it's not possible to get alone outside of His protective wings because I have given up authority over my life to Him. I'm thankful that when I sit down from the exhaustion of faking everyone else He is still there. Because where can I flee from His presence?
3) I'm afraid there are some people who are faking everyone into believing they are Christians. Don't get me wrong, my type of faking is counterproductive and the farthest thing from admirable. But my faking isn't near as scary as the act faking people into believing you are a Christian. That faking is deadly. Literally. I listened to Francis Chan talk on this subject recently and what I am about to say is a paraphrase of a point in his message. For whatever reason, you may feel the need to act like you are a Christian even though you have no desire to live according to the Bible. Or you may be on the other end. You may be trying desperately to live according to the Bible but have never actually submitted your life to The Lord.
Either way, at some point surely you have thought about giving your life to The Lord and repenting of your sins, but you just can't. So many people already think you are a believer. Maybe people don't think that, but you hope people think you are one, so admitting that you had never actually given your life to Christ would be letting those people know they were right. Can't do that. It would hurt too much. Hurt your pride. So you fake people. And maybe you're successful at faking people. Maybe you will die and people on Earth will think you are in heaven. But what about you, then. Will you be in Hell and think, "Well at least the people on Earth think I'm in heaven." By. No. Means.
When Francis Chan put it that way it broke my heart. I do not want to make you doubt your salvation,, but if you know you have never given your life to Christ because you are afraid of what people will think who may have thought you already were a Christian I PRAY you humble yourself before The Lord and give your life to Him.
I pray you learn how wonderful it is to walk in the freedom of Jesus Christ without having to fake people.
So I'm going to keep hiking (walking) now. I may even run for 20 seconds. But rest assured I will be stopping when I feel like I'm about to collapse whether people are watching or not. And I will be praying The Lord teaches me how to not run FROM Him but TO Him on a daily basis. And I will be praying that people may enter into a real, lasting, wonderful, hard, comforting, refining, loving, pruning, grace-filled relationship with Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior.