I’m taking a few moments out of my busy busy Monday to write something – something short and sweet, which will undoubtedly end up being very long and lack lots of important things. I’ll give it my best shot, though…
I wrote a few days ago about all the “confusion” that’s been going on in my life. In more than one area of my life I hear Him saying, “Trust Me. Please, just trust the promises that I have given you. Be patient. I am GOD.” And, as if you couldn’t infer from my last post, this has been a very difficult thing for me to do. I think that it’s been so hard because there is a part of me that likes knowing things… I like knowing that there is a purpose in things and a destination… I like clarity and honesty… I like being aware of what’s going on in the world around me in some strange hope of controlling situations. And I’m not so sure that this is a good tendency of mine. Hebrews 11:1 says, “Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.” When I try to control things and understand God, I’m not having faith in Him. I’m not trusting in His lovingkindness, believing in His sovereignty, or resting my heart in His promises. All of these worries and thoughts lead to anxiety and fear… and that cripples my relationship with Him and with others… SO much. Philippians 4:6-7 says, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your request to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.” This verse always speaks loud and clear to me, especially now. Do not be anxious, Christina. Seek His face first and foremost in all things, find your joy and purpose in Him, and trust His holy promises. Not to mention, I can never fully understand God. Duh. And I really don’t want to. It’s hard to explain, but there is another huge part of me that is the exact opposite of all this – I live for the wonder and beauty of a wild, crazy and unexpected life with Him. The later “me” comes out when I am focused too much on myself and neglecting Him… when fear and worry take charge of my life, instead of trust and obedience to Him. Red flag.
Our God is a God of glory. Just listening to the thunder and watching the lightening outside my window last night is a testimony to that. I’ve begun reading “Desiring God” by John Piper and it has been enlightening to say the least. It’s been one of those “I really really want to read this but I have absolutely no time or mental energy to actually do so” kind of books for me… but I eventually succumbed to the fact that my whole life will be full of something; new craziness will surely follow the current craziness. So I started reading the book. I’ve been a huge fan of Piper for a few years now (I’ve mentioned his website DesiringGod a bunch of times on here before) and his ministry to seek His joy through Christian Hedonism is something worth its weight in gold. What I’ve truly enjoyed about the book thus far is the first chapter: Piper shows you through scripture that (without a doubt) God is sovereign. (It’s a great recharger if you ever need reminding of that fact.) I really needed that – like you need good reminders every now and then to refresh your walk. His glory and His sovereignty go hand-in-hand. Like Piper’s well-known quote states, “God is most glorified in me when I am most satisfied in Him”. “God is most glorified in me…” – He is given His utmost desire (glory) when I express joy in Him “…when I am most satisfied in Him” – He is the source of my joy; I seek that and I rest assured in His righteous sovereignty.
God is awesome. He has used “Desiring God” and the Sunday sermons this week to speak volumes into my life. I have been on this continual journey to rid my life of idols (what I mean by that is: rid my life of things that I place before Him). I know that He calls me to (and that I want to) seek His face for His ultimate glory. At all times. I want to run a race that is ever striving for His righteousness. I see His face right before me, lighting my path, leading my steps, and carrying me along. It’s like I’m flying a plane and He is all that I can see before me… all other things in life must take a back seat to Him or fly in their own plane. That’s just how it has to be right now. That’s how it’s meant to be for me at this point in my life. If I ever need a co-pilot, He will provide him in due time! Back to Sunday… My Sunday school class is discussing marriage for both the married and unmarried. I know, don’t laugh… I always feel funny saying that that is our topic for fear of ridicule (and the fact that I always wondered why people attended those classes if they weren’t in a serious relationship), but it’s our topic for the year and I can’t change that. Anyhow, it’s been an awesome study… we began in Genesis, worked through Song of Solomon, touched on Paul’s letters, and looked in Proverbs. Our whole goal is to find God’s definition of marriage. What does it look like? What is His purpose for it? How should we be conducting ourselves inside and outside of it? Great stuff, I tell ya – I wish everyone could be a part of our discussions! This week we talked about 1 Thessalonians 4:1-8. In this part of his letter written to the believers in Thessalonica, Paul encourages the Thessalonians to rid themselves of sexual immorality. (Yes, I’m going there.) This isn’t the first time he has addressed this issue either. For those of us who are unmarried, sex isn’t something that we should be doing, occupying our thoughts with, or spend time dabbling in its boarders. It’s a gift of marriage, the promised garden of life, and an unremarkable bond between two individuals. It’s sacred and we’ve lost that in our culture today – Satan has made sure of that. (See, sooo much info that I want to share and don’t have time to say right now, but sooo beneficial for yall to hear!) And I think we all struggle with keeping our bodies and minds pure. I remember the first time I heard about “mental purity”. I think I laughed at the idea… how could you control your thoughts like that, much less stop those kinds of thoughts from happening? Truth be told, you can’t stop them. They will come, over and over again… but it is what you do with them that matters. Do you dwell in them or do you fight them or do you try to ignore them as if they weren’t there? Time and mistakes and the Word has taught me a lot about theses things… “Rather, clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ, and do not think about how to gratify the desires of the sinful nature” (Romans 13:14). Keep you focus on Him… one step at a time… trying your hardest to cast off yourself and keep Him (and only Him) ever before you.
He also reminded me that my life is not (and should never) be defined by wealth. If you know me well, then you know that I’m not a big fan of money and I don’t need a lot to live. I love life and sharing it with others… having things and spending money on material possessions has never been a source of enjoyment for me. Just give me people and God and food/shelter/clothes and a life full of love and adventure and discovery and I will be one happy gal (Proverbs 30:7-9). 🙂 But I know that the world doesn’t exactly work that way. He has led me to OT (and I absolutely LOVE it, mostly because I spend all day helping people) and I know that He has something in store for me with it. What? I don’t know. But I have some ideas. 😉 I must repay the many student loans that I have acquired, but (beyond that) He keeps daring me to give my life up to Him, and I honestly want so badly to leap forward and step out onto another ledge with Him. No matter what may happen in my life, I know (and must continue to trust) that I cannot “mess up” or “fall from grace” or live a “fruitless” life if I remain connected to the Vine. That’s a promise of His – you can better your bottom dollar on those.
I love it when He drops verses into your life at just the right time… it makes me smile so much and reminds me that I hold His attention. His perfect timing astounds me every time… Below is Psalm 16. If you’ve made it this far in my post, it won’t be hard for you to see His hand at work in leading me to this section of verse on Sunday (and props to you for listening to me babble on and on!)…
Keep me safe, O God, for in you I take refuge. I said to the Lord, “You are my Lord; apart from you I have no good thing.” As for the saints who are in the land, they are the glorious ones in whom is all my delight. The sorrows of those will increase who run after other gods. I will not pour out their libations of blood or take up their names on my lips. LORD, you have assigned me my portion and my cup; you have made my lot secure. The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; surely I have a delightful inheritance. I will praise the LORD, who counsels me; even at night my heart instructs me. I have set the LORD always before me. Because he is at my right hand, I will not be shaken. Therefore my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices; my body will also rest recure, because you will not abandon me to the grave, nor will you let your Holy One see decay. You have made known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand.
As Garth Brooks said best, “Let the thunder roll, and the lightening strike” :),