Warning graphic descriptions ahead: I’m the kind of personality that needs a swift kick you know where when it comes to being reprimanded. The bible refers to this personality as a fool. “The Holy Spirit offers gentle correction.” Not for this chick! The Holy Spirit knows better. I respond best to brutal chastisement. That being said, I would like to share a dream that the Lord gave me.
It was a terrible dream the other night; but, immediately when I woke up, the Lord revealed what it meant, and it definitely gave me that swift kick.
I was standing in the hallway under the sanctuary at Canvas with a few of my peeps. One of them, we’ll call her “Rhonda,” started talking about her old life back when she didn’t live for God. She was talking about drugs and how she missed them. I remember thinking it was odd because I know her testimony, and the real “Rhonda” didn’t do drugs. Regardless, she was talking about her past. Every time she would make a statement about her past, she would violently kick this old dog lying at her feet. He wouldn’t cry out, but he would wake up and then go back to sleep. Then she would say something else about the drugs, and kick him again. He would wake up, then go back to sleep. The cycle kept repeating, but the longer it went on, the longer the dog would stay awake each time.
I woke up with my heart pounding like crazy. I am an animal lover. To those that really know me, they would say that is an understatement. So this dream, more like a nightmare, was particularly disturbing. However, gratefully, the Lord revealed the meaning to me right away. I felt His mercy so tangibly. It was almost as if He was sorry that He had to get through to me that way.
The old dog in the dream represents my old self. Some call it the old man, the person we were before we started living for Christ, basically the flesh, the part the enemy exploits. Jon Acuff said in his book Do Over, “We love to idealize our past when our present doesn’t meet our expectations.” When the life we currently live isn’t working, the enemy is quick to remind us of our time B.C. when we didn’t care about repercussions, and we just enjoyed the sin. When we begin to drudge up our past, it is like a violent kick to wake up the old dog. The more we dwell in it, the longer he stays awake. It makes our minds victim to the enemy. The more we give him purchase, the more he will take.
Don’t get me wrong. Sharing our testimony is necessary. See Revelation 12:11. But, I am speaking specifically of remembering the past fondly, through rose colored glasses rather than for what it truly was: a life lived in darkness.
My life verse is 2 Corinthians 5:17 (ESV): “Therefore if anyone is Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.“ It is a hope that I cling to daily: that Christ’s mercy will allow me to be the new man. After that nightmare, God reminded me of Galatians 2:20, which I know by heart, but He directed me to read it in context.
Galatians 2:17-21 (ESV) : “17 But if, in our endeavor to be justified in Christ, we too were found to be sinners, is Christ then a servant of sin? Certainly not! 18 For if I rebuild what I tore down, I prove myself to be a transgressor. 19 For through the law I died to the law, so that I might live to God. 20 I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. 21 I do not nullify the grace of God, for if righteousness[a] were through the law, then Christ died for no purpose.”
I literally said aloud, “Wow! Thanks for the backhand, Jesus!” Yes, we need to hold ourselves accountable, and do our part to guard our hearts and minds against the enemy! The Bible tells us in Proverbs 4:23 (CEV) to “Carefully guard your thoughts because they are the source of true life.” Every Sunday at Canvas, we pray these words from Psalm 19:14 (KJV): “Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O LORD, my strength, and my redeemer.” We don’t say them just to say them. We say them because of the importance of doing so. Give the enemy an inch, he’ll take a mile.
Are you stirring up the old man? What are you thinking, saying, or doing that is waking him up? What can you do differently?
Here is the best part: Christ died to give us unmerited grace! On the days, we screw up in heaps, He still loves us. And His mercy is new EVERY morning. See Lamentations 3:22-23. Don’t rebuild what you tore down. Every day is a chance for a fresh start to get it right! Let’s do it!
Caught in His grace,
P.S. No actual animals were harmed in the writing of this blog.