Gotten Down in the Mud Lately?

I'm going to go out on a limb today and at least pretend to be bit a discerning about an interesting mix of human behavior and that which fascinates and appeals to us. In case you haven't been around this not-so-trod-upon path lately, I've been a bit obsessed with the themes of accountability and authenticity as of late. And if you have walked this path lately, you're probably about ready to take a different route. I just don't seem to be able to let these topics go without wringing the daylights out of them!

Here's why: While I believe it scares the socks off our dainty feet to consider being accountable to others and authentic in our behavior and words, I also believe those are two of the things that most doggedly drive us to the people who possess them and live with them.

Case in point. I believe one of the reasons women will grab their gal pals and book it to churches all over the country this Saturday just to watch one of their favorite Bible study teachers on a big screen, is because we all are drawn to Beth Moore's bold authenticity and stubborn accountability, even if we don't necessarily care for her brand of teaching...or hairspray...or lipstick.

When we watch Beth Moore teach it's like sitting ringside at a championship wrestling match. There in front of our eyes Beth dukes it out with the Scriptures, in all her daintiness and gumption, mixed together in an oddly appealing combo. Sure, she's already hammered most of it out in her personal study time and quiet time with God, but for the matches she's already won on her knees and in the pages of her Bible, she offers us a mesmerizing play-by-play, full of all the grit and drama we've come to expect from this feisty gal.

Beth questions the Scripture, looking for the meaning behind the words divinely chosen, the corroborating passages, the background of the human scribe, and the holy intent of the ultimate Author. She doesn't assume the words are all history and philosophy and poetry and empty ideology. Instead, she rightly divides the Word of God as meat for the hungry soul. And when she comes upon a tough piece to chew, she breaks it down until it is digestible.

But the real wrestling match doesn't take place in Beth's exegesis of the Bible passage; it comes in the battling it out over how those holy words should make a dent in her little ol' life.

How many times have I heard Beth Moore say, either on a video, in an arena or in the pages of her flowery prose, such things as

You see, truth be told (and I'm really stepping wayyyy out here), I've heard better teachers. I've sat under teachers who helped me get a firmer grasp on the Word of God. And while I love the fact that Beth speaks a woman's language, I've even heard better communicators--people who could cut straight to the chase in half the time, for pete's sake!

But I don't know if I've ever seen anyone else wrestle it out with the Scriptures -- in plain view, for us all to see -- with more authenticity and transparency. It's a very public display of a very personal struggle and it causes us to gawk like rubbernecked drivers at the scene of an accident. I am drawn to the way this woman shows us how to circle around a biblical truth, size it up from all directions, take a stab at it and then another, only to eventually bend the knee, bow the head, throw up holy hands, and embrace it in humility. And when the woman gets up from her tiny little knees, I feel like she has truly claimed God victor once again, truly yielded to her superior, knowing that when He wins, she wins,too.

And I, for one, am drawn to that kind of honest transparency every time. I appreciate the pattern Beth Moore sets for her students to get real about who we are, admit to the dilemma created when we peer into the Holy Word of God, wrestle it out when needed, and finally total, submissive victory.

So gals, my question is this. If that is what we're drawn to, and I'm convinced it is (besides her gorgeous hair, her perfectly manicured nails, and those darling clothes), then why aren't more of us getting in the wrestling ring too? Why don't we see that when she wrestles with God, she loses every time? And yet, she wins. And if she wins, then why don't we see that claiming God victor in our lives would result in our own victories, too? 

Maybe we're trying to claim Him victor without really and truly wrestling it out with Him first. Those victories don't last; they are fleeting. Only the victories won down in the mud really count: the mud that forms where our frames of dust meet the Living Water in a full on shower from heaven. That's where we get real about who we are and the difficulty involved in swallowing much of what God insists we drink in.

Well, perhaps I'm rambling at this point. I'll draw it to a close. But my final challenge is this: Have you been in the mud lately? Has the Word of God confronted you, called you out, and demanded to duke it out with your attitudes, your actions, your preconceived notions, your habits, your comfort? And if it did, did you roll up your sleeves and climb into the ring? Or did you avoid conflict at all cost, pretend to be friends when you knew better, and insist on shaking on a deal you had no intention of keeping?

Let's take a cue from a skinny little darling from Houston, Texas, and be willing to roll around in the mud, when that's what it takes to give God the real victory in our lives. The REAL, authentic victory.

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