Tag Archives: following Christ

Leave it all behind

follow

“I have what you need…but you keep on searching”

“I’ve done all the work, but you keep on working”

“You’re running on empty and can’t seem to find the remedy…just come to the well”

Just a few of the lyrics from a popular Casting Crowns song – Come to the Well.  I listen to that song almost every morning, it’s on my running playlist for the gym.  Not really the “pump-you-up” type of tune, but very special to me.  I struggle, more often than I care to admit, with trying to “work” my way into God’s grace.  What can I do?  Who can be?  When the reality of this life is that God’s grace is sufficient and He has done all the work already.  He simply asks us to fill ourselves with Him.  Do what I do, and you’ll be doing right.  That’s the message, yet it seems like a foreign language to me sometimes.  When I get into that rut of trying to do it all my way, on my own without any “filling from the word” I ultimately end up in a place where it’s dark, my soul seems empty and I am sinning more than I’m living.

So how do we avoid that rut, how do we avoid running back to the same broken wells that offer no real hope and can never fill our soul the way that a “right relationship with God” can?  I think the answer to that question is two-fold.

First, most sinful thought and behavior is hidden.  No one wants to air their dirty laundry.  Think about that for a moment.  What if our browsing history, or even worse, all our thoughts for the day were displayed on a billboard on the main highway?  I know I would be mortified.  I think most people would, especially those that have fallen into that repetitive cycle of habitual sin.  So what is the cure for that?  Live each day as if that is exactly what is going to happen.  Live your life so that what is put on that billboard isn’t so terrifying and humiliating.  Even better, place your focus on God’s word and his plan and use that billboard to sing his praises.

That leads to the next point.  What are we filling our heart and mind with?  I heard a message once about starving our spirit.  Basically, we have to treat our inward being as living and breathing just like our physical outward being.  If we don’t eat or quench our thirst, we would surely shrivel up and cease to exist.  The same is true of our inward being…our soul.  The best diet for our soul is none other than Gods’s word.  He even tells us to store up his word in our heart so that we can keep from sinning against him. (Psalm 119:11).  That’s like taking a snack with you to keep “full” throughout the day.  When we are daily feasting on God’s word, we will be filled with his presence and desires.  Will the sinful temptation still be there?  Sure it will, but we have a much better chance of walking away from it and keeping our focus on Christ when we aren’t spiritually starving.
Habitual sin and habitually putting God on the back burner are dangerous things.  When a sin becomes so common place that you stop feeling guilty about it or even worse, begin to justify it, it is a deep rooted path for Satan to tear away at your entire life and all those in it.  Leave it all behind and walk in the light of God’s word.  It is in our relationship with God and His word that we will find victory over our sinful nature.

Lord, today I come to you broken and afraid of the sin patter in my life.  I have often spoken these words only to find myself unable to walk away and do what I know is right. Forgive me for forgetting what you have made simple and clear – your word.  I pray that today I would fill my soul with your truths and that I would make that my habitual pattern to feast on your word and focus on your glory.  In Christ I pray, Amen.

Psalms 19:12-13 (NLT) – Cleanse me from these hidden faults.  Keep your servant from deliberate sins!  Don’t let them control me.

 

What am I praying for?

ddSo many times, when I read through the word of God, I try to keep my mind on the the “theme” that is usually indicated at the top of the passage (in my NIV).  Today’s scripture reading was Ephesians 1:15-19.  It was highlighted as Thanksgiving and Prayer.  So, my natural thought was this will be about giving thanks and a prayer about that.  While that is true of this section, I felt something different come out of it.  In this passage, Paul is building up the believers in Ephesus.  He is giving them a pep talk so to speak.  Well, he gave me one too.

What am I praying for?  Often times, I find my prayer life to be focused on making sure I mention everyone and everything on my heart and then just leaving it at that.  I have full faith that God hears my prayers and that He loves me and that He will answer my prayers according to his perfect plan and will.  Check.  Got that.  But this passage opened up my heart to how confident I am in the big picture.  I am speaking to the creator of the universe.  To the one that has no beginning and end.  He is more powerful than anything that has ever been or will ever be.  My study notes mentioned that the atom is the most powerful particle in the universe.  We fear its potential, we have seen in history the possible devastation through the atomic bomb.  Yet, I am speaking and praying to the one that spoke the atom into existence.  Didn’t create…but spoke it into being.  God is powerful.

I should not walk through this life with fear and uncertainty.  I will from time to time, because I am not perfect, but my prayer should be for the boldness and assurance found in the hope of Jesus Christ.  I want to be more like Christ.  I want to follow His perfect example recorded in the gospels.  I want to look more like Christ in my daily walk, everyday.  I want to come to the father in prayer in the same way He did, with total reverence for who He is and in total confidence that He will be faithful to hear my heartfelt prayer and work all things for the good in my life.

The bonus…cherry on top, if you will, in this passage was to see how God views me.  Because I have the hope of Christ sealed in my heart and God’s assurance through the Holy spirit, I can know I am his.  Guess what?  He is looking forward to his inheritance, which is me and all of his children that have put their faith and hope in the finished work of Christ.  I am His inheritance.  Praise God that He loves us so much.

Further reading: Ephesians 1:15-19