Scripture: Hebrews 3:12-15, James 1:6-8
Hebrews 3:12-15 12 Beware, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief in departing from the living God; 13 but exhort one another daily, while it is called “Today,” lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin. 14 For we have become partakers of Christ if we hold the beginning of our confidence steadfast to the end, 15 while it is said: “Today, if you will hear His voice, Do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion.” [Emphasis mine]
James 1: 6-8 6But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind. 7 For let not that man supposes that he will receive anything from the Lord; 8 he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.
“Bipolar Christian”. This is the term one of my best friends and prayer partners called me on Friday. She said it with the best intentions and the tinkling of laughter, but it still stung. Don’t get me wrong, it was funny, but it also so easily summed up who I am and what I had become, in two words.
Here recently, I acted and behaved in a manner unbecoming to God. I let my frustrations and my belief that God was not moving quickly enough in my life, to not cloud my thinking, but to push me into a path not pleasing to Him. I did it with eyes wide open. No excuses. Me being me, I manipulated and controlled the situation in order for me to receive my desired outcome (that sentence alone is a testament to my warped mind). And as I thought back to what scripture I could use to explain my actions, I came across Hebrews 3:15. Jesus plainly says to not harden your hearts in rebellion when you hear God. I did just that to prove that I could. To prove the type of woman I could become, to show the type of woman I had become. What’s so sad is that my heart was hardened so much, that I felt no guilt. I feel no guilt, even now, absolutely none. But I know my actions were not pleasing to God. But, they were pleasing to me. Isn’t that enough?
And yet, if I trace the hardening of my heart to that moment, I realize that I would be lying to myself. It came well before then. My rebellious spirit has been growing for not just months, but years. God has this unbelievable way of having things occur in your life, that break you so much that you have no other choice but to come to Him. God gives each of us a “wake up” call, where you have a choice to choose Him or to choose you. He nudges you with circumstances, people, His word, etc. In my crises (plural), I chose Him. I have been so broken by God before, that it not only strengthened my faith, but led me to a greater understanding and love of Christ. But, that still didn’t stop my rebellion. Instead, it grew moment by moment, disappointment by disappointment not only in me, but in God.
This time, God didn’t use any catastrophic events to bring me to Him. He simply…slowly…started to remove His hand and let me have my own way. What’s so funny is that I felt it and a part of me was glad that He did. I could be free to do what I wanted, speak as I wanted, and behave as I wanted without conviction…or at least, not enough conviction to remove me from my plotted course. The last time I wrote a devotional was September 25th. The time before that was June 23rd. I went from a woman seeing God in everything, being able to create full sermons in my head based on one thing to nothing. And that was not made obvious to me until last night. “I am second”. For those that live in Dallas, you have seen the billboards everywhere, with the black and white picture of a person prominently displayed below the script, “I am second”. For the longest, I kept seeing the billboards and telling myself I need to look it up online. I thought it was a drug rehab place or talking about people who had a second chance on life. It’s not. The billboards are about you. They are about me. They are about God. I am second, because He is first. But instead of being excited about the campaign, I got angry. I was angry because I had a similar idea, a very similar and documented idea. I even submitted the outline to an organization last year, hoping to be chosen for a grant to institute it. I even purchased a domain name 2 years ago to promote it. Mine was to be called “Great is” and another one even incorporated the “I am” in the domain name. Two years ago. I was so angry, I was like who are these people. Did I make a mistake submitting my proposal to someone and did they steal my idea? Then God spoke. “No”. And it became glaringly obvious, that God will get His glory in spite of me. I swallowed a bitter pill yesterday. Two years He has been speaking to me and I have ignored Him. Did I foolishly think that God only spoke to me? No, not that, but I did think I had time. That God knew I would eventually come back to Him to serve and I would do what He was calling me to do. I believed that God knowing that (because He is Omniscient) would understand. I was wrong. God did know that I would return, but that didn’t mean that He would “wait” on me. How funny is that? God waiting on me… God’s will, WILL be done, in spite of you too. Few feelings are as sobering as when you realize how you have let God down and in spite of you, He still, will go forward with His plans.
So, I must now contend with who I am (as I often have shown and openly shared this struggle these past few years). And that person is the “Bipolar Christian”. But God, even then has already addressed and spoken on this. James 1:8 speaks on the double-minded person. I must choose again; and, I am more fully comprehending, I must choose daily. Once your heart has become hardened, it’s hard to go back. You can lose innocence. You can AND will begin to view the worldly way of living as the right way. Although it is hard to erase disobedience and the consequences of sin, it is just as hard to choose to live holy. But, repeatedly throughout the Bible, God has called us to be Holy, because He is Holy. I just finished reading Leviticus (the least read book in the Bible—understandably so) and all throughout the laws and rules He gave, God repeatedly gave instructions to the Hebrews on how they should worship and sacrifice because He is Holy. Not only was I convicted, I was also overwhelmed by the sheer magnitude and detail of God’s instructions. I wouldn’t have made it past five years old if I lived under the old covenant. But now that I live under the New Covenant in Christ, I am not any better. My salvation is assured, but at what cost? Is the cost me living and becoming a “Bipolar Christian”??? Not only is my mind wavering, but my actions and behavior as well. I would like to say that I am tired enough of being a bipolar Christian, that I will change my spots overnight. But it won’t be that easy. I must choose to daily to trust and honor God. I must choose daily to turn my thoughts, my ways, and my very act of living over to Him. I invite you to join with me as I do this. I cannot do it alone, neither do I want to.
The reason why so many Christians share their faith and speak about God is because we have learned what it means to live apart from Him and what it means to be the child of the King, brethren in Christ. It is a difficult and continuous journey. Just as I have stood in the gap for others, I need someone to stand in the gap with me and for me. I honestly want the life God wants for me; to become the woman in faith, in ministry, that He showed me. And I must ask each of you that read this, what do you want? Now, what are you willing to lose, give up, or do to get it AND to live it? I am not alone is claiming the title of a “Bipolar Christian”, but I do embrace it. I embrace it because unless I see what I have become, I won’t see where I am headed.