Spiritual A, B, C's: Do You Know Yours?
Coming to understand the necessity of spiritual A, B, C’s has had a profound effect on my life. I’ve shared before that my life from childhood until I accepted Christ as an adult was basically experienced without any “interference” from God.
As a family we didn’t attend church or talk about God. I suspected He was there, but wasn’t sure of His role.
My understanding of Him came as most children do, from their earthly father’s example. I came to know Him as being present but without taking interest in my life. God to me was silently waiting for me to really screw up. But, outside of that, He wasn’t doing much else.
If It Feels Good…
The implicit parental allowance to do as I pleased became a pattern from my youth until it exploded in high school. The lack of accountability allowed me to do as I pleased.
Without boundaries, the mobility of a driver’s license, ultra-liberal barroom scene where stools were lined up with teenagers pounding down alcohol, and trouble waiting to welcome you around every corner, resulted in activities not intended or healthy for most 15 year olds.
Somehow I escaped unscathed. Or so I thought.
College was an amplified continuation of high school. I attended school out of state, so the minimal accountability I knew while home had completely vanished.
I used to laugh while relishing the memories of running and gunning as hard and fast as I could tolerate. Then I’d drag myself up and do it again. It’s not funny anymore.
When I see the consequences of the damage done to myself and the people who loved me, it still takes an effort to accept that God has forgiven me. Otherwise, guilt and regret would have been my undoing.
It actually took decades to forgive myself.
God placed a simple message on my heart. It was as easy as a child’s alphabet. His words were crystal clear, and when He had finished sharing His instruction, I became overwhelmed at His word and the message’s significance.
He said without structure in my life I was going to continue on the path to ruination. God revealed to me the names and faces of the others I’d dragged along on my all-risk, no-rules existence. Some willingly and others finding out too late.
In His mercy and grace, God covered my sorrow before the darkness of guilt returned into my spirit. His message was not of conviction, but how He wanted me to structure my life to live abundantly within His presence.
He shared the spiritual A, B, C for redemption.
“Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another.”
It’s ironic that I was highly successful in a career centered on accountability. I knew and perfected law enforcement’s social accountability aspect.
Spiritual and personal accountability was another story. And why not? For as long as I knew, I’d never actually had to answer to anyone for my actions.
Spiritual accountability takes various forms, but they all revolve around the promise of gaining freedom by surrendering carnal autonomy to someone else.
When I handed a spreadsheet to Leah with every email, social media and other account’s username and password, things were a little shaky to say the least.
It didn’t take long until the freedom of trust and transparency welded us even closer.
“training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright,
and godly lives in the present age.”
I was resistant to God’s instruction about boundaries. I’d rarely ever operated within them. In my career I saw boundaries as jurisdictional and cumbersome to getting the job done.
I carried that rebellion in my personal perspective as well.
In God’s word, I learned boundaries were established to cherish and protect what was valued and respected. It wasn’t about keeping me locked in.
It is about keeping sin and negativity out of my life and our marriage.
“For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.”
I used to tell my oldest son that he had to learn there were decisions and consequences.
I took that as a power position. If he made the wrong decisions, then I got to serve the consequences. In my career, the criminal justice system is set upon the same principle.
Do the crime – Do the time.
In my personal life, it was extremely rare to have consequences levied against me. I rolled that experience into my relationship with God. As expected, He had other ideas.
Proverbs holds the bible verse we use to paraphrase spoiling the child.
“Whoever spares the rod hates their children, but the one who loves their children is careful to discipline them.”
I will attest that at even 52 years of life, God has not stopped disciplining me. This is how I know He loves me. On the other hand, it was the lack of discipline from my parents that I know now set me on a self-destructive path.
I host a men’s group called Brick Breakers. Men are encouraged to stand up for God, and their wife and family. It focuses on the guys, but women are there too and welcome.
I wrote this post earlier and wanted to include it as it challenges men to honor the tenets of Spiritual A, B, C’s.
If so, you may still be wondering why your life continues to be one struggle after the next. No matter how hard or bad you want to change, you don’t.
It’s true that the path to hell is paved with good intentions. Intending to do something good doesn’t bring healing or change. It only brings more hurt and failure.
Men, we’re naturally resistant to limitations. We like to explore, push and look beyond. While these can be great characteristics, they cannot be what solely drives your life. Everyone needs structure.
If you want true, eternal life-winning change, you need to be accountable, respect established boundaries and understand that there are serious consequences to your actions.
My pastor, Joshua Melancon once told me, “God isn’t going to wink at your indiscretions anymore.”
That simple sentence pierced my spirit. I’d always assumed God would forgive me because I was a good guy. There comes a point where being a good guy and having good intentions doesn’t cut it.
Men, pray about these A-B-C’s and if you truly want to stop asking, “Why me?” and start living a strong, active life for Christ, then put them into practice.
Praying for you, Brothers.
I Am 2nd,