Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Another lesson from the Doolittles: Walking in Victory

"It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery." Galatians 5:1

There's a scene in the classic, "My Fair Lady" where Alfred P. Doolittle (Eliza's dad) visits the home of Professor Henry Higgins, proposedly to fetch his daughter, Eliza, after he has learned that she is staying with him. Alfie doesn't know of the experiment or bet that Professor Higgins and Colonel Pickering have made with one another regarding Eliza. But he has learned from another flower girl that Eliza sent for her things and didn't ask for any clothes! He incorrectly assumes that his daughter has begun selling herself as a prostitute. So, Alfie, being that he is her father, has decided that he should get a cut of her "earnings" and proceeds to see what he can get from the arrangement between them. He knows the professor is obviously wealthy and asks for a simple five pound note from him.

When questioned by Colonel Pickering as to whether he has any morals, Alfie gives him a puzzling glance (that basically says, "do you?"), pauses and responds with, "No. I cannot afford them. And neither could you, if you were as poor as I am." Then he proceeds to launch into a whole monologue about how he is of the undeserving poor, and how he "plans to remain so, because I like it." Professor Higgins is so intrigued by it, that he offers him more, but Alfie turns him down, asking for only the five pound note. (He doesn't want to be launched into the middle class.)

This entire scene is so typical of the human condition, isn't it? Just like Alfie Doolittle, I think people sometimes come to God with the hand out, asking Him to bless us with a (fill in the blank as to whatever your petty "five spot" might be.) We know we're undeserving and we plan to stay that way. No need to get caught up in all of that religious or moral "stuff"... just get what you think you deserve from God and go back to things the way that you want them to be. No harm. No foul. Others are doing things that are worse, and who am I to judge them or they me, right?

To that argument I say, HOGWASH! As long as you or I continue in the life of habitual sin and fail to see the need for walking with Christ on a daily basis, we will always remain a slave to sin and we will never see victory. Sin will always hold a defeated audience in captivity. Freedom comes when we willfully turn away from whatever it is that holds us in bondage, and turn to Christ and begin to follow Him.

Jesus said, "If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me." (Luke 9:23)

Time to give habitual sin the boot! Then willfully turn and start following after Christ. The journey is long, but the rewards are sweet!

P.S. Can I be real here? I am adding this on Wednesday morning, the day after I wrote this post. When I was writing this yesterday, I began to think of the issues in my own life where I fall short. But I failed to place them here. And this morning, the Holy Spirit has been convicting me to "'fess up" as we are fondly known to say in the South.

In the past seventeen years, I have put on more than seventy pounds! I really struggle with overeating. I have been to Bible Study after Bible Study to try to help with this, but until I simply learn to put down the fork when I am full and walk away, those Bible Studies are all useless! I can fill my head and my heart with all sorts of knowledge about how to eat, but I will never be an effective servant of Christ until I learn to do battle with the Little Debs and the carrot cake! There's nothing wrong with those things by themselves, but if I am not hungry, those things should never enter my mouth.

I have learned the rules: Food for fuel is fine. God intended for food to be fuel. We don't continue to put gasoline in our cars if the tank is full, do we? But eating for the sake of eating (just because it's there) is not. If I am using food to console myself instead of running to God for consolation, then I am living in disobedience to God, and that would be sin. If I am using food as a means of celebration when I am not hungry (such as at a party or a church function), then that, too is also sin. If I am loading up the plate at a buffet line when a half spoonful will do, I have overdone it.

But as long as those rules are in my head, and I don't apply them to my life, the pounds are going to pile up and the scales are always going to read higher. Until I learn to walk away from the Swiss Cake rolls, and say no when I am not at all hungry, then I am living a defeated life!

So I am asking you to pray for me. I need to be held accountable here. This is an area where I need to shrink and He needs to increase.

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