“Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of he throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.”—Hebrews 12:2&3
I was inspired by a post on Jefferson Bethke’s blog. It’s something I’ve been thinking a little about and wrote down last night even, but I phrased it differently. He counseled that it was good to make a short seasonal list of things that draw us closer to God and encourage our affections in Him and then the things that detract from our relationship with the Creator and that kill the flame of passion in our hearts. I also view it at the things that bring me rest and renew my spirit and the things that starve my spirit and leave me wanting something more.
Stir My Heart…
- Solitary walks in nature - Baking - Listening to an inspired, well timed sermon - Hearing another believer tell of how God has moved in him lately - Seeing a nonbeliever begin to turn towards the grace of God - Gardens - Airplanes, airports & new places - Coffee & the Word with my white earbuds in - Music in my car - Good communication with anyone! - Meeting a brother or sister in Christ - A sunrise & brisk morning air - A.W. Tozer & C.S. Lewis books & quotes - Hearing words from a nonbeliever that defend the gospel
Drain My Spirit
- More than 5 minutes on facebook - Filling time on my iPad or computer - Staying up late needlessly - Complaining - Arguing - Being negative - Sleeping in late - Unproductivity - Long periods of secular music without worship music - My own impatience
Father let me see You, see the world and see myself with the unveiled eyes of one who has gazed into the face of beauty. Let me rest at your beautiful, scarred feet in thankful submission and release. Please give me an outpouring of your unconditional love that I may sow it in the lives of others, ruthlessly eliminating merit from all situations. Thank you Jesus for your life, death and resurrection. Let me have that same willingness to sacrifice, and teach me what it means to glorify and honor you in each situation. I love you and I love your presence.
“Broken people don’t focus on the sins and issues of others. No, they are so aware of their need for a Savior that they work on themselves. Broken people don’t demand their rights. No, they often lay them down. Broken people don’t dodge responsibility for their actions. No, they are fully willing to accept the consequences of their sin.”—Rick Warren, Living the Surrendered Life Devotional
I don’t want to treat the Sovereign King as a “cosmic vending machine”. I don’t rest in his presence. I’m a Martha, not a Mary. I do not sit at his feet and rest and listen, I run around all busy and irritated and then run into his presence disturbed and demanding he fix my problems and cater to my needs and frustrations.
Luke 10:38-42 —
As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him. She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said. But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!”
"Martha, Martha," the Lord answered, "you are worried and upset about many things, but only one thing is needed. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her."
Martha took on the burden of these people being in her house and then acted as if she was a slave being forced to do something unwillingly. She didn’t do it out of a heart to serve but a need to perform. She chose the yoke of work and slavery, Mary chose the yoke of the Rabbi. As soon as Mary became busy and working, working, working she became very bitter, discontent and self-focused. This is extremely evident in how in the brief complaint she makes to the Lord she says my, me, myself and me. A fifth of the words she speaks are directly referring to herself. She was not concerned with her sister, her Lord or her guests, only herself. Her vision and perception were completely flawed. She totally lost sight of who she was and of her purpose. She was “distracted by all… that had to be done”. Well, if that isn’t me in a nutshell I don’t know what is. What’s more is I do this to Jesus; I bustle around doing this and doing that with so much on my mind I barely have time to breathe his name, then when something comes up I run into him to whine about my problem and beg him to help me. Then once he’s lovingly helped me or fixed my “owie” I shout a quick thanks and run off again hurrying to get all those incredibly important things done. Like Martha I demand and command the Lord of the Universe. I make my “want to do”s into “have to do”s.
Oh how wonderful my Savior is though. You can hear the loving reproach and caring reprimand come from his compassionate heart through his wise lips: ” Martha….. Martha”. As his kind voice flooded over her bitter heart, the ice began cracking and she felt that unnatural warmth flood her body. He acknowledges her heart’s problem and how alone and burdened she feels: “You are worried and upset about many things”. He’s telling her that he sees and understands how she is feeling. But instead of just giving her what she thinks will fix her problem and make her happy, he does what he knows is best and addresses the heart of the matter: “Only One Thing is needed”.
He is omniscient and omnipresent, and so our good Lord was with Martha the whole time as she rushed and grumbled around the kitchen. I just see him leaning up against a counter smiling slightly sadly and shaking his head at his stubborn daughter. He was saddened she chose slavery over rest, but he was not disappointed in her, no. He was sad but not let down by her. He knew this was the path she would take,and he knew he would teach her and millions of others a valuable lesson through her choice. He can use anything, even our mistakes, for good. He IS good.
Father, thank you for not condemning me or being disappointed in me. I want to never ignore you, Rabbi, as you speak life lessons in the next room. I become so busy that I forget you. I think I need to do all these many things but really only one thing is needed. I need you as I need my next breath. Let looking at you become as natural to me as breathing.