Are you consumed by your circumstances or a conqueror of them?
How many of us would boast that we care more about money than we do people? How many of us would admit that we use alcohol or drugs to get us through our dark times, instead of Jesus? How many of us dedicate an enormous amount of time and energy creating an illusion of our life for others; while struggling daily with depression, regret, and low self worth.
Most people do not have the courage to admit these things. To admit they need help, need a savior, need community; and that is what living a great life is about. Courage. Courage to admit our failings. Courage to trust others with our hopes, dreams and desires. Courage to love, knowing we might get hurt. Courage to ask for help and help others.
I watched a movie last night about a woman that was driven to suicide because of her poor choices. We are all faced with them, right? Do I follow my dream or do what others expect of me? Do I marry for love or position? Do I get an abortion, or adjust to my new life circumstances? Do I commit to the hard work of a marriage or allow things to play out without much intervention? Do I compromise my beliefs to go after my desires? Our flesh nags us incessantly with our wants and desires, like a broken record on repeat, calling us to make the choice that would satisfy us. This is usually the wrong choice.
Only the courageous can overcome those thoughts and pursue holiness. Sacrificing the desire for worldly things to pursue Godly things.
As I ponder this struggle of mankind, this theme that runs throughout history; I am brought back to one of my favorite trilogies of all time The Lord of the Rings. No character can bring to life what this struggle looks like more than Gollum.
Gollum starts off as a normal man. A man with a friend, who seems happy enough. Until he is introduced to a desire he did not even know he had. He believes the lie that he is entitled to the ring and kills his friend in order to possess it. As the prologue to the movie says, “The hearts of men are easily deceived.”
The bible says something similar in Proverbs 14:33 “Wisdom rests in the heart of him who has understanding, but what is in the heart of fools is made known.”
Do you have understanding or are you, like the fool, easily deceived?
Usually we make important life decisions on our own, willy-nilly, instead of seeking wise council. This is the first step in courage, seeking wise council. This council can come in many forms; The Bible, close friends and family, even music that speaks to your soul. In order for it to be of use we must be open to receive it, and use discernment when applying it.
Gollum is an interesting character. He is consumed with his fleshy desire (the ring of power), it is all he thinks about, day and night. We all have that problem right? I do not like to admit I have any similarities to Gollum, but I do. What consumes my thoughts day and night? God? holiness? Not usually.
My thoughts often drift to money, revenge or worldly things I have yet to accomplish or get my hands on. How long before these things consume me, change me to a shadow of what I was created to be.
I aspire to be better than that, but is that enough? To at least strive to be holy?
I think it is, because it leads us deeper into knowing what that looks like. The deeper we go in to the holy place to seek wisdom, the more courageous we become to do what is right. God gives us his wisdom, his strength, his love and we are transformed.
The courage I have found comes from fellowship with Godly people, and trusting the answers I receive from God in trying times.
Lets think back again to the character of Gollum. He was consumed by the ring and it lead him to isolate himself because of fear. Like a slippery slope the more he isolated himself, the more he was consumed and the less courage he had to fight back. The times we seem him act more like a human, less like an animal is after he has spent a great deal of time with Frodo and Sam. He is in fellowship. He is being shepherded by those who have compassion for him. He starts to remember who he once was, before desire and deceit took hold of him.
There is hope for Gollum, and for us.
Lets abandon our desires and get the courage we need to be transformed. Seek out Godly fellowship, admit your shortcomings and ask for guidance in these areas and believe that it will come to pass.
You won’t regret it.
May God bless your pursuit for holiness and give you courage to admit your shortcomings in the confines of safe fellowship.