Monday, March 8, 2010

Get out of that Pit - Chapter 1

Get Out of that Pit - Our online study...Cliffs notes style.
(Feel free to add on)
Chapter 1: Life in the Pit
Book Excerpt
Life can be excruciating.  Crushing, in fact. The sheer magnitude of our worries can press down on our heads until we unknowingly descend into a pit of despair one inch at a time.  Something so horrible can happen that we conclude we’ll never be okay again.  We can blow it so badly we think God would just as soon we stayed under that dirt and out of His sight.  But, if we’re willing to let truth speak louder than our feelings, and long enough that our feelings finally agree, we can be far more than okay.  We can be delivered to a place where the air is crisp, the enemy is whipped, and the view is magnificent.
The Bible teaches that there are no lost causes.  (did you hear that, NONE) No permanent pit-dwellers except those who refuse to leave.  Every person can know the complete redemption of Jesus Christ, purpose for life, and fullness of joy.  No, life won’t ever be easy but the trade-off is a spin around Planet Earth that actually means something.
I waited patiently for the Lord to help me,
 and he turned to me and heard my cry.
 He lifted me out of the pit of despair...
  ...Many will see what he has done and be amazed.
  They will put their trust in the Lord. Psalm 40:1,3
Too often we don’t recognize a pit when we’re in one or we only think of it in terms of sin, so it doesn’t apply, but that’s not the case.
You’re in a pit when...
You feel stuck, trapped.  The only option is to misbehave, act out (i.e., have a kicking and screaming fit, hoping your flailing can help you escape) or submit (i.e., consider you made your own bed and decide to die in it.)
The first option is coping through life. It feels like a rut or going nowhere, stuck.  So we DO stuff to try to change our environment, be someone other than who we are or sink ourselves in activity or mindlessness to escape... all in the hopes of having excitement and fun, but more importantly to NOT feel the pit we are in.  You name it, it’s been tried by the multitudes.  Drinking, partying, being a workaholic, live an alternative life, turning a hobby into an obsession, watching loads of tv or movies...we could go on.
The second option, choose to accept the feeling of being trapped and stuck, become hopeless and resigned to the lie that this is as good as life gets because of some past choices or things that have happened to you.  You grow numb and cold.
Either way, they are the lies we buy into and we feel stuck in the pit.
You see and recognize what is right
      but refuse to act on it.
   You hear with your ears,
      but you don’t really listen.
  Because he is righteous,
  the Lord has exalted his glorious law.
 But his own people have been robbed and plundered,
  enslaved, imprisoned, and trapped.
  They are fair game for anyone
  and have no one to protect them,
  no one to take them back home.
 Who will hear these lessons from the past
  and see the ruin that awaits you in the future?
Isaiah 42:20-23
You can’t stand up because you feel ineffective and utterly powerless against attack. Can’t stand up to assaults, trials, or temptations because your feet are in the mud and more.  You make an effort, but constantly feel like your losing ground, losing the fight.  It’s overwhelming and you feel flatly defeated at times. 
To the ancient Hebrew, a pit was a literal or figurative reference to the it’s like being the living dead.  Satan digs the pit in hopes he can bury you alive and keep you there. You become a rather ineffective person in life and relationships. Satan can’t make you stay nor will God make you leave.
 Deeper and deeper I sink into the mire;
 I can’t find a foothold.
Psalm 69:2

Therefore, put on every piece of God’s armor so you will be able to resist the enemy in the time of evil. Then after the battle you will still be standing firm. Ephesians 6:13
You’ve lost vision and you’re impaired by the darkness.  Can’t see the obvious,  become stiff necked, to focused on our sinking feet. We can’t see out, so we turn our sights in.  Nearsightedness breeds hopelessness.  Dim vision ages us rapidly and we lose our childlikeness.  We can be young and yet feel old. Heavy laden. Burdened. In a pit where vision is lost and dreams are foolishness.  We don’t have a sense or understanding of meaning and purpose for our life.
Beth refers to the final book in the Narnia story, The Last Battle, where Susan , who in the first book witnessed the death and resurrection of the godlike lion Aslan, looked back on her times in Narnia as “funny games we used to play as children.”  Susan ultimately came to the conclusion that the heavenly land of her childhood experience was nothing more than a childish fantasy because she was a “jolly sight to keep on being grownup.”
Excerpt 2
Through the pages to come, some of you will recognize your pits.  For most of you awareness won’t come because you suddenly see how bad you are, but rather because you will wake up to how bored you are.  The lack of light and fresh air has lulled some of us to sleep.  Getting out begins with waking up.  And (this may be the hardest part) with being willing to feel again. In Psalm 40:2 David exclaimed,
He lifted me out of the pit of despair,
 out of the mud and the mire.
 He set my feet on solid ground
  and steadied me as I walked along. 
According to Psalm 27:6, high upon that very rock “my head will be exalted above the enemies who surround me.”  See what Satan has to lose when you get out of your pit?  Not only are wonder, hope and vision natural when our feet are set upon a rock, but so is our vantage point from which we can see the enemy’s activity around us.  (Incidentally, there’s no one on earth Satan would rather see in a pit than someone with godly vision.  Just ask Joseph.)
Are you bored with life?  Is life exhausting for you?  Does it seem like your just doing stuff to avoid the pit feeling?  Are you in a pit presently?
We’re going to talk more about the ways we get into pits and the ways we can get out in the coming weeks.