Christmas Past

This Christmas was a dry time spiritually for me but also a revealing time. The following are 2 thoughts/observations that came out of this dry period in my life.

One, I was off work roughly 2 weeks and I came to see that my job helps structure my life and forces me to use my time more wisely and productively. And, when I’m not working, I lay around and do nothing.

Second, I think I may have stumbled onto something big for me personally while attending a Faces of Christ follow-up meeting, a meeting that I didn’t really didn’t want to attend. But isn’t that the way it usually goes, God blesses us in spite of ourselves.

I came to see that Christians live by/make decisions on the basis of 3 different lifestyles. By the Flesh meaning we follow our natural selfish desires. We are self-focused.

Or, we live by the Law meaning we try to control our desires ourselves by keeping the law/rules.

The third is we live by the Spirit meaning we allow the Holy Spirit to direct our lives.

Most of us live our lives using all 3 of these lifestyles at different times throughout the days, weeks but the more we allow the Holy Spirit to direct our lives, the more evident the fruit of the spirit is manifested in our lives and behavior.

I have mostly been governed by the Law. Consequently, the harder I try to make life work on my own terms, the more frustrated and tired I become and the more burned out I feel. This is to be expected since there is no joy in trying to keep all the rules yourself, in your own strength. Law keepers are Pharisees in the New Testament (NT) and some of the people that Jesus had the hardest time with. There’s a lot about them in the NT because, I think, there’s so many of us.

Consequentially, when we are burned out and joyless we dabble in the Flesh for moments of exhilaration, recharging our batteries and just plain fun. Many of those Flesh things aren’t good for us like drugs, alcohol, gambling, etc. And, I would think, the longer you’ve been trying to live by the Law, the more burned out and tired you become and the more dependent you become on things of the flesh.

Perhaps that explains an observation I’ve made during my many years working with addicts. I’ve noticed that many of the ones that new the Bible most thoroughly rarely were able to get clean. I think that may be because they were trying to earn God’s love by law/rule keeping which continually drove them back to their addiction for relief.

At any rate, that’s where I’ve been of late, burned out, tired and a little disillusioned. Now I have a clearer understanding of the reason for the burn out/dryness and can submit to the Holy Spirit’s guidance for my life and walk by faith.

I reworked a poem I posted sometime back and am interested in your thoughts about which you prefer.

My God, My God Why Have You Forsaken Me

Those painful words of Jesus confusing to comprehend
though all of us have said ’em in a moment of lament.

We are quick to blame the Father when our lives seemingly unravel
yet forget all about Him when the road’s more easily traveled.

But Jesus wasn’t any man, He is God’s only Son,
who left the Father’s glory for man’s salvation to be won.

Mans’ sin required a payment for us to totally be set free
but payment couldn’t be made by any man, but a perfect Entity.

So Jesus made our payment on the cross at Calvary
and the Father seemed to turn away, All sin was hard to see.

But Jesus’ very nature is relationship and love
and would naturally feel forsaken if separated from Above.

But though He felt abandoned with the weight of sins despair
their relationship never faltered the Father’s love was always there.

We trivialize the passion of Jesus on the cross
when we only comprehend it from the perspective of the lost,

’cause Jesus truly loved us that’s plain for all who see
but such love is hard to fathom by sinners like you and me.

Mason Swinney

Please, all rights reserved. Contact me for use of any portion of it.


About menmourningmoments

I'm happily married, the Father of 2 sons and 2 daughters and 4 beautiful grandchildren. Death is all around us but somehow we've managed to distance ourselves from it. Men, Mourning, Moments is about how the death of my son awakened me to life & the desire to seize every moment as though it were my last. It's about making sense of life in the good times and bad and allowing GOD to carry me and teach me through the hard times in life.
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3 Responses to Christmas Past

  1. You never cease to amaze me with your insights into life and its circumstances.


  2. Christina says:

    another great post Mason- I just love this poem … thank you for sharing! 🙂


  3. Amy says:

    Great post and so true. I think many of us get caught up in modern day Phariseeism which prevents us from allowing the Holy Spirit to lead. Love the poem, when I was in high school we sang a very powerful song called Eli, Eli (it was in Aramaic) and basically sad “My God, My God why have you forsaken me) and it was referring to Jesus’ words on the cross. Personally it helps me to know that even Jesus himself asked God that same question. Love you Mase!


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