Saturday, September 2, 2017

The Wrong Button

I spent the last two days trying to fix a problem on my computer. I have a mouse plugged in to the laptop (because I find the touch pad gets in the way of my typing, it activates and does things I don't want to do, like highlighting and deleting text I've typed). I was getting so tired of my own natural movements working against things I wanted to do.

I had disabled my track pad when I first got the new computer; set it and forget it, I thought.  But for some reason, the disabled track pad started working again two days ago, and so I wanted to re-disable my track pad. I had just replaced my laptop in June, so I forgot how to do this.  

I kept going to the Settings and was confused when the option to disable the touch pad (in other words, track pad) was not available. I tried every solution that worked with the older version of Windows. Nothing. Several restarts later, I tried going to the Microsoft page for answers. There it was - there was a function key on my keyboard that would do the job. Simple.

I tried it - and it worked. Period. Two keystrokes. Boom.

But it was what I noticed next that caused me to think about this situation enough to write this post. The function key that turned my touch pad off and on was right next to the function key that I frequently use to mute the sound on my computer. I mute the sound because sometimes I play some free Microsoft games that have sounds which are quite annoying. 

So I guess that a couple of days ago, I hurriedly muted my sound, and unknowingly hit this other function key by mistake. Mystery solved. I had hit the wrong button... and brought my difficulties onto myself.

It's so easy to do. I think I am doing one thing when I am really doing something else - like I think I am praying when I am really worrying out loud. Or I think I am being generous when I am really keeping track and expecting some sort of reward. Or I think I am standing for righteousness (whatever that means) when I am really being an obnoxious, judgmental hypocrite. 

I know, because for many years I regularly did those things - and sometimes I still do. But what I was doing was pushing the wrong button. The religion button. The "I'm better than you because God likes me" button. The "aren't I special" button. The "God's gotta listen to me because look at how much I do for Him" button. That's the wrong button. It's the button that makes it all about me.

The right button is - well - I have to be intentional and look for it instead of assuming I know where it is. It's called many things - Love, Grace, Faith, Acceptance, ... and did I mention Love? Not how much I love God ... if it depended on that, wow ... how shallow would THAT be? But it doesn't. What matters is that He loves me. And He loves everyone, NOT JUST me. He IS Love. Love oozes, no, POURS from Him because that's who He is. 

Photo "Decision-Making" by Stuart Miles at
You see, my human nature wants to think I have something to do with how much He loves me. That's wrong too. 

His Love doesn't depend on what I have or have not done. It doesn't even depend on how much faith I have. "The life I live in the flesh," Paul wrote in Gal. 2:20, "...I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave Himself for me."

Did you catch that? He didn't say "by faith in the Son of God."  He said "by the faith of the Son of God." 

That's a game-changer for me. It's JESUS' faith! I live by JESUS' faith! What a radical, liberating, shame-busting revelation!  This idea jives with Eph. 2:8, 9 where Paul also writes, "By grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest any man should boast." (emphasis mine). 

The grammar here is important, because when Elizabethan language uses "and that" after a comma, it refers to the last thing mentioned BEFORE the comma.  So it is the FAITH that Paul says is not from ourselves. Get it? Faith is the gift from God. So that NOTHING I can do, no amount of faith I have is worth anything - it's all HIM. This revelation means we can speak with the authority that Jesus did to pronounce blessing, healing, and peace on people because He authorized us to do so. Because it's HIS FAITH. We don't have to depend on our own - because if we did, we could (and would) boast.  SEE how much faith I had! I prayed and that person was healed because of MY faith... can you see the fallacy?! 

Okay, I get it that "without faith it is impossible to please Him..." and all that. But really - where do you think the faith comes from? (Duh!) 

The revelation that it was not my own feeble faith that I could use (and I doubted that I had enough to do anything with it ... which is why "it" failed. Every. Single. Time) but that I was totally depending on Jesus' faith - revolutionalized my prayer life. This is "the right button."  For me, it was so very liberating and rid me of so much guilt and shame in my inner life.  I started thanking God for His unconditional, lavish love instead of asking Him for stuff. I quit praying for God to heal people, and instead spoke healing on them in the name of Jesus. HIS faith is what has been effective in so many instances I could name in the last two years. Not mine.

Focusing on intimacy with God in my prayer life instead of succumbing to the "gimmes" has also had another cool side-effect. As I meditate on His love, I see areas of my life changing. I don't judge as much as I did. I am more accepting of people's differences, and no longer want to turn them into carbon-copies of me. I care more about how some people get treated whose opinions and beliefs don't follow the majority, or whose skin colour just happens to be different from mine. I see injustices happen and I want to do things to educate people who behave this way, and show my support for those who are oppressed. 

By no means am I saying that I have arrived. All I am saying is that I spent decades hitting the wrong button and looking for complicated answers when all I needed to do was go to the Maker and find out what the right button was - and rely totally on that.  His Love. His faith. His grace. His. 

And that way, I don't get in my own way as much anymore. Go figure. 

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