The Monster Within

monster I have a monster that lives inside of me.  A monster that comes out at the worst times, the times I least want or expect him to.  He has several names.  Sometimes the monster is called Anger.  Sometimes his name is Envy.  Lust has made an appearance or two as has Worry, Bitterness, and Depression.  I have many monsters in the closet, some under the bed and even one or two in the glove box in my car.  I try to hide my monsters, sometimes I put a costume on them like I am trying to disguise them as something else, but the monster is still there, just below the mask.  I’m scared of my monsters most of the time but, truth be told, I like some of my monsters at times as well.  It feels good to get angry and not care who your words hurt, lust is fun sometimes, and sometimes I just want to be depressed and not be interested in the world.  The problem is my monsters aren’t happy to just be let free occasionally, they want to run wild.

Remember when you were a child and you had monsters living under your bed?  You would be laying there and all of a sudden you would just know, the monster is under my bed and he’s going to get me.  Then you realize your foot was dangling over the edge and you could just feel the monsters breath on your big toe.  Suddenly you jerk your foot back under the covers because we all know monsters can’t get past the Blanket Force Field.  As you get older, you start to doubt the existence of the monster and maybe you even defiantly leave your big toe exposed thinking, I can live without my toe.  A few days later you stick a foot out, then a leg.  Soon the monster fades from memory and you become an adult.  Then you learn there are real monsters to be scared of.

Unfortunately the same cycle seems to repeat itself.  The first time you’re angry and hurt someone you make a big deal out of it but the more you let anger rule you the less it concerns you.  The first lustful thought that occurs after you’re married makes you feel guilty but after a while it becomes “normal”.  The first time you have a suicidal thought it scares you, but soon suicide seems like a great way to end the depression.

All our monsters start small, but the more we feed them the bigger they grow.  A life of anger will eventually kill someone, maybe not physically but it will definitely cause the death of relationships.  Unchecked lust starts by checking out a hot girls/guys body and ends up checking into a motel room.  Envy begins by wishing you had a new car like Tom next door and ends with going bankrupt because the payment on your new Corvette was too high.  Bitterness says, “I will punish the person that hurt me.”, but ends with high blood pressure and heart attacks.  Worry starts small, but like a weed planted in the garden of the heart, grows until it chokes out everything we used to place our trust in.

gremlin Monsters!  They start small, even cute and cuddly, just like Gizmo from the Gremlins movie.  But like Gremlins, add some water and feed them and before you know it, there are hundreds of them and they are hideous looking.  All they leave is destruction in their path. 

 

How do we deal with our monsters?  How do I deal with mine?  I do what Paul says in Philippians,

 8 Brothers and sisters, think about the things that are good and worthy of praise. Think about the things that are true and honorable and right and pure and beautiful and respected.9 Do what you learned and received from me, what I told you, and what you saw me do. And the God who gives peace will be with you. (Philippians 4:8-9, New Century Version)

Kind of a “look on the positive side” mentality for life.  Only it goes far deeper than that.  God, through Paul, is saying, “Meditate on My words.  Be grounded in My teachings.  Entwine the concepts and instructions contained in the Bible so deeply into your life, heart and mind that there is no room for monsters to grow.”  

You see, fertilizing the soil of your heart with Biblical concepts is like spraying monster-killer on the monsters of discouragement, anger, lust, depression and every other monster that tries to keep God from our lives. 

Think of it this way, God is an opposite God.  For every monster in us there is an opposite characteristic in God that can and wants to help us.

Anger- Peace

Bitterness- Joy

Lust- Faithfulness

Worry- Trustworthy

Depression- Hope

Envy- Contentment

Hate- Love

The Bible has the ability to, as Romans 12:2 describes, “transform or change us, from the inside out!”

Do you want to get rid of your monster?  It’s simple, not easy.  The more “Good Stuff” we put in, the more “bad stuff” it pushes out!  The more we become like Jesus, the less we act like our monsters.

Here’s a song by the Christian band Skillet.  The song is called Monster.  The song is pretty Rockish, very Lincoln Park if you know who that is.  If you don’t like Rock take a look at the lyrics under the video.

 

Monster lyrics
The secret side of me
I never let you see
I keep it caged, but I can’t control it, so stay away from me, the beast
Is ugly, I feel the rage, and I just can’t hold it
It’s scratchin on the walls
In the closet, in the halls
It comes awake, and I can’t control it
Hidin’ under the bed
In my body, in my head
Why won’t somebody come and save me from this? Make it end!
[Chorus]
I feel it deep within
Just beneath the skin
I must confess that I feel like a monster!
I hate what I’ve become
The nightmare’s just begun
I must confess that I feel like a monster!
I feel like a monster!
My secret side I keep
Hid under lock and key
I keep it caged, but I can’t control it, ’cause if I let him out,
He’ll tear me up, break me down
Why won’t somebody come and save me from this? Make it end!
It’s hidin’ in the dark
Its teeth are razor sharp
There’s no escape for me
It wants my soul, it wants my heart
No one can hear me scream
Maybe it’s just a dream
Or maybe it’s inside of me
Stop this monster!

Does that describe you?  Are you trying to escape the monster?  You can’t hide from your monsters, they’re inside you.  You have to face them, confront them and allow God to deal with them.  By letting God change you from the inside out you allow Him to banish the evil within and nurture the love of Jesus for us and others. 

A new life is waiting.


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Be Careful Little Eyes What You See

This is a tough one.  Please, if you are reading this, read to the end.  Don’t assume you know what I am going to say.

This subject has been on my mind since and earlier post from a few days ago about the iphone app, “Babyshaker“, anlittle-eyes app that allowed you to shake the phone until the “virtual baby” died.  I didn’t like it, thought is was pretty much a horrible idea.  I still do.  But as I read on some websites there is so much out there that is like this that it is causing me concern.  First let me say that I am NOT one of those people that believe if you play a game with evil in it or listen to music with lyrics about killing, rape and other indecent topics that you will become a serial killing rapist hellbent on destroying the world.  I have listened to my share of what most Christians would call devil music.  I like AC/DC, I even like a little Disturbed now and then.  I have even found my feet bouncing along to an Eminem song or two.  I know, how can I be a Christian and listen to such music?  But the fact remains that I have neither sacrificed goats to satan nor have I shot people from the trunk of a car.  Mostly I listen to Country and Christian music.  I have and continue to read books such as The Da Vinci Code and my favorite author is Matthew Reilly, an author that writes novels that make the Die Hard movies seem boring.  But I also read the Bible and Cristian literature as well as the occasional classic.  I am reading Mark Twain’s, Huckleberry Finn now.  My favorite movie is Braveheart starring Mel Gibson, a movie filled with violence and death.  But I also thought The Passion was incredible and wept like a baby at parts of it.

One thing that does concern me more than others are video games.  I know, your thinking “here we go!”  But hear (or read) me out.  I believe in common sense.  I think things have to pass the common sense test.  And common sense tells me that when companies are creating video games about raping women as a means to aquire a higher score I think our common sense has become uncommon.  Why would they make this game if no one is buying it.  This is a fairly new game and in the report I read everyone on the street that was interviewed had never heard of it and would never buy it.  But, they wouldn’t make it if there wasn’t an audience.

There is so much junk in the world that I don’t believe we can keep up.  While I am against censorship, I am for common sense.  Common Sense would seem to me to dictate that this stuff never gets put on the market to begin with, but that is no longer true.  Everything has become acceptable online, in the movies or in music.  Again, I am against censorship, but I am all for censoring what I and my children view, hear or play.  And thats the point I want to make today.  YOU are responsible for what gets in your head and the heads of your children.  It is your responsibility to sort through and weed out the stuff that you feel is adverse to the way you believe and what is ethically responsible.  I hold companies accountable and so will God, but I hold each of us more severely accountable because the difference between listening to the wrong music, watching the wrong shows or playing the wrong games is a remote or mouse click away.

Check out this passage from the Bible and see what you think,

Summing it all up, friends, I’d say you’ll do best by filling your minds and meditating on things true, noble, reputable, authentic, compelling, gracious—the best, not the worst; the beautiful, not the ugly; things to praise, not things to curse. Put into practice what you learned from me, what you heard and saw and realized. Do that, and God, who makes everything work together, will work you into his most excellent harmonies.”  Philippians 4:8-9 (The Message)

While I admit this is not easy and maybe not even possible, it is definitely something to strive for.  I am not saying get rid of everything in your life that is non-biblical, I am still going to watch the Wolverine and Transformer 2 movies this summer.  I am planning to re-read Stephen Kings’ classic The Stand when I am finished with my current book.  What I mean is understand balance.  Just like Mr. Miyagi in The Karate Kid, “Better learn balance. Balance is key..”  We must have balance as well, hopefully the balance scale will be tipped to the “true, noble, reputable, authentic, compelling, gracious—the best, not the worst; the beautiful, not the ugly; things to praise, not things to curse” side of life.

Those annoying Capital One ads always ask at the end, “What’s in your wallet?”  Well, I ask you, “What’s in your head?”

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Learn To Meditate On Gods Word

Part 3 on Obedience
meditate.jpg     What does meditate mean in this context?  I am not talking the lotus position, chanting or finding your happy place.  I am referring to saturating your mind with God’s Word.  Lets look at it from a different angle.  You wake up and turn on Sports Center or the news or your Tivo’ed episode of House.  Any God there?  Do they mention Jesus?  If so it’s with a “damn” or “Christ” after them.  Then you get in your car and crank some Hank.  Or maybe you don’t listen to country, maybe you like rock or rap or oldies.  Maybe you turn on Howard Stern or one of a thousand morning shows.  Then you get to work and unless you work in a church (and sometimes even at a church) God is not mentioned once in a flattering way.  Back to the house, radio blaring.  Get home and any one of a million shows are on, most with no mention of God, Jesus or the Holy Spirit.  Or if they do mention Him it is in a negative light.  Finally it is night-night time, we say a quick prayer to God and fall asleep.

Let me ask something, how can you have a relationship with someone that you never spend time with?  Before I go any farther, let me say that I don’t spend every living moment talking to God.  I wish I did but I don’t.  I watch House, CSI, Still Standing and an assortment of Disney shows.  I love Sports Center.  Football is one of my passions.  I read non-Christian books.  I listen to various music and watch movies where God is never mentioned.   I am not throwing a Holier-than-thou at you.  I am just stating a fact.  Most of us spend more time with the TV than we do our kids, our spouse and our God.

Why is this so important?  Charles Stanley wrote in his book, Living the Extraordinary Life that “Meditation and prayer are key elements in resisting temptation.  When you saturate your mind with the Word of God, you will gain God’s viewpoint concerning your life and situation.  Therefore, when temptation comes, you will know right from wrong and can act accordingly.  Never underestimate the power of God in your life.”

It is kind of a “garbage in- garbage out” way of thinking.  If you put nothing but violence, hate and sex in your mind, thats what you will think about.  Again, I am not suggesting we all move to a commune in the mountains and sing Kumbyeya or anything, but the more junk in the more junk out.  Just like you can’t eat Snickers all day everyday and expect to be healthy, you can’t put MTV into your noggin all day and expect to be Billy Graham or Mother Theresa.

Philippians 4:8-9 says it pretty clearly, take a gander- “Summing it all up, friends, I’d say you’ll do best by filling your minds and meditating on things true, noble, reputable, authentic, compelling, gracious-the best, not the worst; the beautiful, not the ugly; things to praise, not things to curse. Put into practice what you learned from me, what you heard and saw and realized. Do that, and God, who makes everything work together, will work you into his most excellent harmonies.”  I especially like the last part- ‘his most excellent harmonies.”  Kind of has a Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure feel to it.  OK, thats random.  Anyway, do you see what I mean though.  God is saying, upload good things, not bad things.  Put in things that help you and others, not bring them down.  Build Godly morals in you life.

So what does this have to do with obedience?  Simply this, how can you obey someone that you don’t know?  You can’t.  Obedience is  dependent on relationship.  Not only how but why would you obey someone that you don’t know?  I wouldn’t (excludes military and anyone that works for a living).

Remember- Whatever seed you plant in the soil of your mind is the kind of crop that you will grow.  You can’t plant apple seeds and grow squash.

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