Thursday, July 16, 2009

Choices to Serve only One

Today as I was awakened by the knocking of the door, I continued to feel drained and in pain from a series of restless nights. I stumbled out of bed and surfed across the floor on a paper I had left on the carpet. I then slowly made my way to the door and lifted the curtain only to be greeted by an overcast sky and my brother wanting to know "what I was up to" today.

When I was very young my oldest brother was my hero. He was very athletic and loved all types of sports. He loved to play games, protect his siblings from those we didn't know, and simply spending time with me and the others around him.

As we grew older something major changed in my brother. He became very withdrawn and angry. He no longer wanted to play games or spend time with me. He began spending more and more time away from home. He would get up at the last minute to catch the bus for school; and not return home until late in the evening hours after spending time with a small group of friends. Over time he became more and more angry and even violent at times. He was now drinking heavily and taking drugs.

My mother lived in a constant state of denial about my brother's drug issues and repeatedly argued with him about not following her set of rules at home. They never talked. They only yelled at one another. This was their means of communication.

Expressing how we felt or what happened on a daily basis in our lives was never easy or something encouraged. We were not taught a healthy avenue to doing this. As I stated, my brother chose drinking, drugs, and eventually sex to hide his true self and feel loved.

I began my type of expression through art at a young age. I learned quickly that expression of anything was not an accepted method. At one point in my life, my avenue of art became ineffective and closed down. I started to use the same avenue my brother chose. My pattern was to drink myself to sleep each night to drown out any thoughts or memories of my past or the disappointments of the day. I started smoking pot to enhance this and go deeper inside myself. I didn't know how to talk or communicate about what I felt or what was going on in my life. The more I chose these vices, the more I became miserable, physically and mentally sick, and withdrawn. The more I wanted to be loved, the more I pushed and pulled others in and out of my life. I chose no wise path, decision, or event in my life.

This morning as I read in Proverbs 14, I began to discover the two things we are given in life to chose from and the things in our lives that will emulate the choice we made. The choice we make between truly living for God or living with sin as our master will be shown in the friends we choose to spend most of our time with. It will be shown It will be shown in how we respond to those around us. It will also be shown in the words we choose to speak about who we are serving. Verse 7 says " Leave the presence of a fool, Or you will not discern words of knowledge." Verses 12-18 say "There is a way which seems right to a man, but it's end is the way of death. Even in laughter the heart may be in pain, and the end of joy may be grief. The backslider in heart will have his fill of his own ways, but a good man will be satisfied with his. The naive believes everything, but the prudent man considers his steps. A wise man is cautious and turns away from evil, but a fool is arrogant and careless. A quick tempered man acts foolishly, and a man of evil devices is hated." When I repeatedly spend my time with those who do not love God or who have anger and deceit in their hearts, then I am more likely to make the same type of decisions they do. I will more likely not be able to discern what is right in my life. I will use the vices that are ingrained in me as a human. We must choose one master. We can not serve two masters. Throughout the chapter of Proverbs 14 I noticed how the fruits of the spirit will also consistently be shown in our lives. Proverbs 14:23-25 says " In all labor there is profit, but mere talk leads only to poverty. The crown of the wise is their riches, but the folly of fools is foolishness. The truthful witness saves lives, but he who speaks lies is treacherous." Just as in those moments I spoke one way but lived my secret life of drinking, drugs, and sex to wash away my pain. I was living as a fool and not living the life of the wise.

Today my brother and I have taken some time to step back and spend some time just getting to know ourselves. I have taken time to get to know who God really is and have learned that I can live and make the choice to serve only one master. This has to be a daily choice and only I can make it for myself. I have learned that one must learn to control their anger. I have learned that the more I seek God, the more I want of Him. He has allowed me the slow mending of my relationship with my brother and has helped me to better understand him through the decisions I made and continue to make. It is not about what the other person is doing. What am I going to do and what am I going to show to others so they may see Christ. This is what it is about.

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