By Mike Ratliff
What causes quarrels and what causes fights among you? Is it not this, that your passions are at war within you? You desire and do not have, so you murder. You covet and cannot obtain, so you fight and quarrel. You do not have, because you do not ask. You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your passions. You adulterous people! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God. Or do you suppose it is to no purpose that the Scripture says, “He yearns jealously over the spirit that he has made to dwell in us”? But he gives more grace. Therefore it says, “God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble.” Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Be wretched and mourn and weep. Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom. Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will exalt you. (James 4:1-10 ESV)
Over the last several days, perhaps even the last several weeks, I have been overwhelmed at work and in much of my personal life with pressure. As many of you know, I have a daytime job as a Database Administrator for a Hospital Group. I have worked at this job since 2001 and all has gone quite well, but it seems that something has changed. First, we have suddenly experienced some very strange system failures, which has made for some very long days in order to bring them back online with no data loss. Just as I completed this, a very vicious virus that has kept me working around the clock over the weekend and today has attacked our entire network. We are concerned that this attack is only preliminary to an even worse one on April 1.
My reaction to these things along with seemingly ever increasing situations designed to frustrate me has caused me to wonder what is going on. In the past I would have reacted to all of this with self-protection motivated anger coupled with a bit of despair with the words, “Why me?” on my lips. However, God has been moving me over the last several months into a much more reflective mode of thinking, seeking His truth, and applying it to my walk before His face, my coram Deo. On Sunday, I had found a period in which I was “caught up” and so spent some time in Twitter and Facebook. One of the things I like to do in Facebook is to fill in the top box each time I connect with “What is on my mind” or “What I am doing.” I typed in what I believed God was leading me to do, not just now and not just because of the pressure. In response to the prompt, “What are you doing?” I typed, “Mind renewal, crucifying the flesh, living at peace with others as God leads…” These are building blocks of a life that weakens pride and cultivates humility. Continue reading