When troubles fall down like a sack of flour from a high shelf, I don’t clean up right away. I sit in the mess with my chin on my fist and think. I express my emotions, hopefully not too loudly or publicly, and when the tangle of emotion becomes more orderly, my mind is able to clear up. I remain covered in flour and feel the mess, look at it, and wonder what my first action out to be, and will it honor God? I don’t trust myself. I submit my heart and mind to the Holy Spirit. I take my bible and soak my mind in the truth I find there. I beg God to give me wisdom. I release the mess to Him to clean up and then I feel the peace and joy flood in because I understand the mess doesn’t belong to me. I’m not responsible for putting every grain of flour in its place. Actually I can walk away from it, leave it there, and clean myself up. The process of cleaning up is taking a bath in scripture, prayer walks, and worship music, fellowship with friends who don’t throw flour.
The opposing force might like to see me covered in flour again and again. So if every time I walk into my pantry and a sack of flour falls on my head, how long does it take before I expect it? What are my choices? Carry an umbrella? Duck out of the way? Grab the sack of flour with all my might and choke it before it falls on me? Move the sack of flour?
What I never consider is staying out of the pantry. That would be what I see as a crippling helpless fear. And as far as I am concerned, the only thing I fear is being outside of God’s will. That’s my worst case scenario in my life. Knowing I am in His perfect will for my life is an intimate walk with Him where I have a thought or a sense, and I align it with what he says in the bible. Does it fit? Or does it go against what his word says? I pray. I wait. And there comes this peace and joy that is supernatural because it doesn’t match up with the circumstances of being covered in flour, but I go with it. And I don’t doubt. If I make a mistake and swallow some of that flour, I fall to my knees, beg forgiveness and repent.
When I think of that sack of flour and what it is really made out of this is what I see: envy and selfish ambition. There are those who are so consumed with envy and selfish ambitions that they stick, cover, and mess up what they touch, and they build an army so the mess seems overwhelming.
The truth is that sack can find me in any room I enter. Fine. What I know is how to clean up myself and prevent it from becoming who I am, or a part of me. I don’t have to walk around covered in flour and feel sorry for myself. Nor do I have to be responsible for all the flour lying around everywhere it spills. Most importantly I don’t have to waste energy hating the person who keeps putting that sack of flour on the edge so it spills on me. I’m going to encounter filth. I know how to get clean and keep clean. Avoiding the mess isn’t the answer, neither is being responsible for the whole mess. See? The sack of flour has no power over me.
James 3:13-18Who is wise and understanding among you? Let him show it by his good life, by deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom. But if you harbor bitter envy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast about it or deny the truth. Such “wisdom” does not come down from heaven but is earthly, unspiritual, of the devil. For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice.But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere. Peacemakers who sow in peace raise a harvest of righteousness.