When I was a small child my mother would cover me as I lay in bed. However, I almost always kicked away whatever covering she put on me. As I have mentioned before, I am a hot natured creature. Try as she might I would not let my mother keep me covered.
Fast forward and you'll find I still sleep with very few bed covers. I desire neither the warmth nor weight multiple layers afford. Give me freedom to move about and I will be much happier.
This little insight to my personality came into play during my Bible study homework this week. My Wednesday night class is working through "To Live is Christ: The Life and Ministry of Paul" by Beth Moore.
Now I have to tell you that I was excited to take this study because I have always wanted to be more like Paul. His heart and wisdom have always been an encouragement to me. And Paul was not an enabler. I like that.
We're still early in the study so at this point we are learning about Saul before he became my ideal of a role model. Saul's pre-transformation has brought a realization that I had not anticipated. I do have some of the qualities of this man. Just not the man I had hoped. I am identifying with Saul, not Paul, and it is a real eye-opener.
As I've said, I've read Paul's writings and I have drunk deep from the encouragement, wisdom, and trials he offered through his letters. I just didn't expect to cozy up to Saul in the same way. There are traits in Saul that I see in my life.
Ouch. That is not an enjoyable confession. However, I guess I am pleased to see the similarities because recognition leads to confession, confession leads to forgiveness, and forgiveness to redemption.
If I may, I want to give you a few of Beth's own words as she writes about Saul and the stoning of Stephen.
"...Christ was up on His feet at the time. Can you imagine the alloy of emotions He must have experienced as He looked on the two key players in the Kingdom that day? One for Him. One against Him. One covered in blood. The other covered by prayer shawls."
I was immediately struck by the thought that I too have been the one covered by my own piousness. Maybe I wasn't dressed with prayer shawls but the attitude was the same. I am right and others are wrong.
We studied how Saul was so obsessed with rooting out Christ followers that he asked for letters from the high priest allowing him to take prisoners of any believer he found on his journey. In effect he wanted the freedom to move about as he saw fit to do as he pleased.
How odd that sometimes we brush off the covering so loving put on us by our maker only to take up our own coverings to do as we please. May I seek to be covered by the blood of Christ instead of my own self-appointed righteousness.