Sunday, April 11, 2010

On Being a Pit-Dweller, Pt.1

Do you know how easy it can be to dig a pit and fall into it -- sometimes without even knowing that you're doing it? It's never easy, or fun, to discover that you've fallen into a pit -- whether it's one you've dug yourself, or one that life has dug for you. The possibility of a becoming a pit-dweller is ever-present in the life of all believers. Let me share a little of my pit-dwelling experience with you.

It was four years ago this month that God regenerated my soul and gave me new life by the indwelling of His Spirit. The joy of being born again is still fresh in my heart and my mind, and I pray I will never lose it. Once I became a believer and my eyes were opened to God's Truth, I plunged headlong into discovering all I could about God's Word and the Christian worldview. There was so much to discover! The Bible, the church, creation science . . . many, many concepts and truths that had never been a part of my life.

God led me to a strong, uncompromising, Bible-believing church of which I am still a member. This church has been a fount of blessings. My spiritual growth in these four years has been tremendous -- largely, I believe, because of the teaching and discipleship I have received at my church. The love, encouragement and fellowship of my brothers and sisters in Christ have also been a huge factor in my growth.

As I voraciously studied and read the Word, as well as any book about the Word or Christianity that I could get my hands on, I didn't give much thought to pits or trials or tribulations. Surely, my life is not perfect, and there are constant stressors in my life (kids, money, health issues, etc.), but I didn't consider these to be trials and tribulations. So many of our brethren in other parts of the world truly suffer for Christ. How could I think that my petty problems were "suffering"? Even now, as I am being pulled out of the pit by my Lord, I hesitate to consider what I've been through as suffering.

And, yet, there is no doubt that my spiritual life suffered. As I dug my pit, each shovelful of dirt buried a little more of the Truth, until, finally, I had fallen in and could see only darkness. Thankfully, I hated my pit. I hated being separated from my Lord. I hated the darkness. I hated the lies.

This isn't always the case. Many people love their pits, or, perhaps worse, are completely ignorant of their pits. Those who love their pits have created a terrifying illusion of reality. They have "fancied up" their pits so that, for them, their pit is the only truly lovely place to be. It contains all that they want, all that their hearts desire. Since we know that our hearts are deceitful above all (Jeremiah 17:9), we can also know that those who love their pits are deceiving themselves.

Those who are ignorant of their pits are also deceived -- either by themselves or by their circumstances. There are many who, like Joseph, were thrown unwillingly into a pit. Unlike Joseph, however, they are unaware that they are in a pit. They don't understand and cannot perceive their own confinement. The darkness has blinded them and their reality becomes their truth.

How did I become aware of my pit? Through God's providential Hand. As I mentioned, I hated my pit. Because I hated it, I sought freedom. In the beginning, I didn't think of myself as a pit-dweller. The book that opened my eyes to this truth is Beth Moore's book "Get out of that Pit: Straight Talk About God's Deliverance from a Former Pit-Dweller." I thank God that He led me to find this book. I cannot possibly do justice to this great book in this little space, but I will try.

Beth Moore calls herself a former pit-dweller, and through her experiences as viewed through the lens of Scripture, she enlightens the reader on the types of pit-dwellers, how to stop being a pit-dweller and how to never be a pit-dweller again. She depends heavily upon Scripture throughout the book.

One of my favorite quotes from the book comes right out of Chapter One. Moore says that "[t]he close confinement of a pit exhausts us with the endless echo of self-absorption." (18) Ouch! The truth sure hurts, but, thankfully, it also convicts. Since, by its very nature, a pit is built for and inhabited by one person, it is impossible to deny the self-centeredness of a pit. Yet, it is still tough to admit that this is the case. Moore does not allow us an alternative.

Moore's writing is fun and personal, even on such a tough subject. She sprinkles her pages with personal experience and heartfelt prayers. She has the ability to make you, the reader, feel as if you, and you alone, are who she has written the book for. She thoroughly describes different types of pits and then goes on to give practical advice on how to get out of your pit.

Moore's book is not just another worldly self-help manual. It is a God-centered, God-glorifying book in which she emphasizes not self-help, but reliance upon God alone. As she states, "[k]nowing all we are, all we feel, and all we hide, God overflows with love and willingness to deliver us." (96) Just as in Isaiah 30 we read, "Yet the Lord longs to be gracious to you; He rises to show you compassion." Only God has all of the strength, patience, grace and compassion that is necessary to pull us out of our pit.

If you are currently a pit-dweller, or feel you are on the slippery edge of a pit, reach out for God, and reach out for Beth Moore's book. God has gifted Moore with the ability to assist her brethren in Christ. He has brought her out of her own pit and has equipped her to help others find the Way out of their own. And, now that He has pulled me out of my pit, I intend to share my experience with others in the hopes that God will use me to help others, as well.

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