An “epiphany is a moment when God unexpectantly and unforgettably invaded the monotony of your life.” Wild Goose Chase by Mark Batterson. I had one this past Sunday morning.
Since leaving the meetings, so many things have changed in my life. Several of those things I’ve already elaborated on. God has been changing me by changing my thinking and helping me create a new life. I love the results but it is a process I’m finding takes years.
Here’s where my epiphany fits in: Right now, I’m living in the reality of the verse about “working out your own salvation with fear and trembling” (Philippians 2:12). It’s finding a new way to live. It’s uncharted territory — wondrous, uncertain, hard work, a bit terrifying and like my friend Sherlene’s husband calls it, “learning to enjoy the free fall.”
I found I knew very little of truly being led by the Holy Spirit. Oh, I wanted to be and prayed for it, but didn’t really need to because I knew all the rules of the group. Ouch. I knew the expectations and where all the boundaries were. To be truly open to the leading of the Holy Spirit would very likely lead me into unfamiliar waters. The group’s mentality was safe and predictable and He was radical and it both terrified and excited me.
Working out my own salvation was forcing me to address the gray areas. Everything before was pretty much black and white. Law oriented. Grace moves into the gray areas and that is very uncomfortable to a legalist; I know from experience. ‘To do’ lists from workers (me included) were neat and tidy but walking with Jesus is not neat and tidy. His life certainly wasn’t.
Beth Moore says this about the gray areas:
“I used to see everything in black and white and I remember when I unwillingly discovered the shade of gray. I’ve concluded that for those who only see gray, God often emphatically and lovingly paints portraits of black and white so they are forced to acknowledge the contrasts. For those who only see black and white, He introduces situations when answers aren’t so easy, when lists ‘A to Z’ cannot be found, and when points 1,2, & 3 don’t work. Gray.”
We are all individuals and so gray areas are different for everyone and how we handle them will vary. Again, I will say it is work to figure this part out. Paul even said so! Working out your own salvation isn’t a license for a free-for-all and might it be why Paul said to do so with fear and trembling? I have literally grown weary in my thinking trying to figure it all out at times. I need to quit forcing the process in this area and trust God. Little by little things are falling into place.
A friend sent me a devotional of Joe Stowell’s and he was touching on this subject. He wrote: “Each one should be fully convinced in his own mind” (Romans 14:5) He who regards one day as special, does so to the Lord. He who eats meat, eats to the Lord, for he gives thanks to God; and he who abstains, does so to the Lord and gives thanks to God” (Romans 14:6). Simply put, each of us should be convinced that what we are doing can be done to please the Lord.” I have found myself at times looking to someone else and trying to adopt their lifestyle as my own but that is not working out my own salvation either. We have been set free, so I don’t ever want to be back in bondage again to anythng or anyone.