Your Tiara Might Be Tilted If…

I had some hysterical conversations with people after my last post.  One friend said that she got a mental picture of me running headlong into a wall I never saw coming.  When I hit the ground I ‘gracefully’ picked myself up and took a few steps back and did it again…and again…and again.  We agreed that yes this is the cause of my wonky eye.

The good thing is that I must have clearly presented the message because that is exactly what I saw in my mind when I wrote the post.

The other thing I saw in my mind about hitting the wall was the character Annelle Dupuy in ‘Steel Magnolias’.  At the point in the movie when she finds out her husband of two weeks is in trouble with the law and has left her with no money or clothes she looks at her new employer, and says, through tears and a stiff upper lip, “Miss Truvy, I promise my personal tragedy will not affect my ability to do good hair.”  She didn’t see the wall coming either.

It has always been my goal that no matter what kind of hell I was walking through that it not affect my ability to do anything…especially if it involved rescuing someone else.  Just nod at your computer monitor if you have ever heard me say to myself, “Just suck it up and keep moving.”

After my last post I also heard someone say that her tiara is not crooked, but has actually fallen off and she thinks she has now been sitting on it so long that she may need to use Ex-Lax if she ever wants to see it again.  I really couldn’t have said that any better myself, so I asked if I could quote her as long as I left out her name.

(It’s really not my goal to embarrass anyone other than myself.  There is a fine line sometimes between my story and other peoples’ stories and to the best of my ability I will try not to cross it in dishonoring ways.)

Through the laughter (and a couple of shed tears) I realized that the first several times I hit the wall and gracefully picked myself up it was because I didn’t recognize the warning signs.  So just in case you have stuck with me through this series (which I promise is not going to last forever even though it may seem that way), but have yet to identify with one thing I have said about what it DOES NOT mean to live abundantly or reign in life, a few thought-provoking questions might be in order.

If you answer yes to any (or all) of the following very-scientific-psychologist-approved-unfailingly accurate questions, you might need to talk to the Lord about the position of your tiara:

  • Am I tired most of the time? (I mean for most of your life or at least entire decades)
  • Do I have an inability to say no when people ‘need’ me?
  • Do I throw on my Superwoman (or man) cape and spring into action at the first hint of guilt?  Or worse, do I just leave on my Superwoman cape so I am always at the ready?
  • More often than not, do I do things because I ought to not because I want to?
  • Do I say, “I am sorry” ALL THE TIME (almost compulsively) even when I have nothing to do with whatever happened?
  • Do I feel responsible for other people and their decisions? (I mean the whole world)
  • Do I constantly worry about making mistakes? Follow up:  Do I feel like the fate of my destiny (and those around me) hinges on me getting every single decision right?
  • Do I feel like a total failure if I make any mistake, no matter how big or small?  Or to ask it another way, do I feel like I have to be perfect?
  • Do I embarrass easily and frequently?
  • Do people often tell me that I am good, invaluable or indispensable and they don’t know what they would do without me?
  • Do I have unresolved, long-term digestion problems or health problems in general?
  • Do I change the subject when people ask how I am?  Or, is my default answer to that question, “Fine” because I really am not sure how I am?
  • If my sweet husband (or wife) asks where I would like to eat dinner (or what movie I would like to see or what I would like to do together), do I often draw a total blank?  Do I say I don’t care and defer to the desires of someone else?
  • Do I know how I feel?  Do I think it’s wrong to be angry?  Do I think some emotions are bad or wrong?
  • Do my family and closest friends struggle to buy me gifts? (Because they DO NOT EVER know what I like, want or need)
  • Do I struggle with a sense of loneliness even when I am with other people?
  • Is every second of every day jam-packed with activities?  Follow up:  Do I appear to be more busy than others around me?
  • Do I have a general lack of peace?
  • Do I despise asking for help?
  • Do I own a t-shirt that says, “Suck It Up Buttercup” or have I seriously considered making my own?
  • Do I move through life trying not to be a bother to others?
  • Do I worry about God being angry with me or punishing me if I don’t do things exactly right?
  • Am I hyper-vigilant about keeping ALL. THE. RULES. ALL. THE. TIME.?
  • When good things happen to me do I struggle to embrace and enjoy them?

While my little list of questions is partially tongue in cheek, it is designed (and I use that term very loosely, more like scribbled on the back of a napkin) to make us think about whether or not we are reigning in life.

We all experience these things periodically, but if they tend to be the norm or if they seem to be true ALL AT ONE TIME, then ask the Lord about it.  He has a much better way and He is quite eager to share it with us.  I didn’t know it for a very long time, about 36 years, but the gospel really is good news.  In fact, much better than I ever imagined.

God really does want to see that tiara beautifully resting on top of your gorgeous head and it hurts His heart to see us settle for less.

Amen.

Could Someone Help Me Straighten My Tiara?

I laughed to myself after my last post because I started thinking about how this series really could have been positioned as letters of apology to my family.  I didn’t live Trying Hard and Fearful somewhere alone in a cave.  I did it right up front and center in my own home.

I really would like to say thank you to my poor husband who is my polar opposite, but has loved me and endured all my attempts to figure this walk out for over 26 years.  When I talked about ‘mothering’ fearfully, I did use that word specifically because parenting is a two-person process (really five if you are wise enough to include the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit).  When our girls were little my husband was definitely a ‘let-them-touch-the-hot-stove-so-they-never-do-it-again’ kind of guy, while I was a ‘let’s-cordon-off-the-entire-kitchen-so-they-never-even-know-there-is-a-stove’ kind of girl.  It never occurred to me that God had put the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil in the Garden of Eden in the first place AND had actually pointed it out to Adam and Eve.  I am a slow learner.

Somehow God knew that if He paired us together our kids just might make it.  And they have more than made it.  They are all three beautiful miracles who love God and all have their unique expression of Him.  It is a testimony to God’s goodness and not to any formula I managed to concoct and adhere to.

So back to ways not to reign in life…I always think of tiaras when I think of reigning (Princess Diana and Princess Grace rocked the tiaras!).

My mom likes to say that I was born 40 years old.  She was referring to the fact that I seemed so mature and responsible for my age, almost adult-like.

Well, on the outside it made me a ‘good’ child, but on the inside it was a crushing weight.  Somewhere along the way I believed a lie that I was responsible for EVERYTHING.  How I got there is complicated, but let me just say that all the approval I got for being mature, responsible and good, launched me on a life of independence and self-sufficiency.

I learned very early on that if I didn’t do it, no one else would.  Sadly, I even believed this about God.  I lived thinking (not necessarily consciously) He wasn’t very good at His job so if anything good was going to happen in my life I would have to make it happen.  There are a 1000 ways this played out like killing myself to get straight A’s in school, working full-time in high school, going to the right college, and above all else NEVER asking for help.

It’s a very lonely existence being Superwoman.  No one ever asks if you need anything because you’ve trained them not to.  And when you do raise your hand (think of a drowning person weakly lifting their hand above the surface of the water), often there is no response because you have so distanced yourself from others.  True community and relationships are forged in a mutual dependency on one another and God.  I knew absolutely nothing about that.

There’s a reason the Bible tells us to ‘bear one another’s burdens.’  We can’t walk this journey alone.  We either won’t get very far or we will be crushed under the weight of it.

The funny thing is I did have relationships, but they were based on need.  Other people needing me.  I forged fast friendships based on some way I could help others.  But when it came to my needs I felt as if there were something wrong with either having them or sharing them.

Jesus said in Matthew 11:28 (NASB)“Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest.”

I thought that verse was just in there for the weak people.  I had no idea Jesus was talking to me and that in fact He had become my Sabbath rest.  I could actually cease striving for my own success because it was really all wrapped up in Him.

I didn’t get it until my good flesh stopped working for me.  I hit the wall.  Actually I hit the wall a bunch of times (maybe that explains my wonky eye???), but when I finally hit it and then could no longer pick myself back up it made me ask, “Why?”  Asking why and honestly being open to the answer was the beginning of a paradigm shift.

Bottom line:  Self-sufficiency is definitely another tiara-tilter and abundance-drainer!

And Then There Is Fear

Since this turned into something of a series on abundant life and reigning in life (see The Day After and Abundant Life?), it probably would have been helpful to title them consistently and add numbers.  I guess hindsight really is 20/20.  Thank you for your patience, I am learning as I go and really enjoying the process.

The process, I use that term loosely, but what I mean by that is sitting down and talking to the Lord about the things He is doing and has done in my life and asking Him to help me articulate them…as much for me as for anyone else.  So if it ever seems as if I am thinking out loud on the computer screen, I probably am.

My thoughts turned to abundant life and reigning in life as I reflected on the importance not only on the celebration of Resurrection Sunday, but celebration of the Resurrected life.  The truth is, as believers the cross represents the crucifixion of our old self (our human spirit that was dead to God), our burial, and our resurrection (us made alive together with Christ).  Shouldn’t our lives be different?  If ‘Christ in us, the hope of glory’ is true, well…that’s a total game changer, if we let it be.

Thinking about this it seemed the obvious place to start was with what abundant life is not, since that really is the part I am most familiar with :).  I think I made a good case in my last post for the idea that TRYING HARDER IS NOT ABUNDANT LIVING (is it true that when you use all caps it’s like raising your voice to your reader?  Please let me know because I want to scream that from the mountain tops)!  My life is an honest example of the truth in that statement.

Another honest example from my own life is that FEAR is not reigning in life.  The fact that I had so many of these to choose from (fear examples) made this post hard to write.  Fear based living could become a series within a series…or a book.  The easiest one to see is in how I mothered my girls.

Every decision I agonized over was based on the fear that if I made the wrong one their lives would be forever off-track, the perfect track, God’s track.  School was a big one for me.  I knew early on that homeschooling was not for us, but I didn’t feel public school was ‘safe’, so at great financial cost I insisted my kids go to Christian school for several years.  That way they would be in the right environment, with the right friends, learning the right Christian things to keep their lives on the right track.

It finally became financially obvious that we could no longer continue in Christian school, so we enrolled them in public school.  You know what?  In the beginning I felt very defeated by this, like I had failed and because of that the enemy had really gotten a victory.  However, it turned out to be the best thing we could have done for them (one more instance of lacking perspective).  Has it been perfect? No, but honestly the things we’ve faced in public school were not really any different from Christian school.  People are people wherever you go.

I am not advocating thoughtless, careless parenting, but at some point don’t you just have to trust that God is bigger than your mistakes?  I can’t protect them from every possible danger that can potentially come their way, but I can place my trust in the One who can.

While mothering has been a very pronounced example of how I’ve lived in fear, the truth is I’ve lived afraid of a lot of things.  Afraid that if I didn’t pray and read my Bible every day that I wouldn’t have God’s favor.  Afraid that if I made a mistake God wouldn’t love me, bless me, use me (fill in the blank).  Afraid that as a Christian I wasn’t representing God very well if my life wasn’t perfect (talk about carrying a huge weight – it’s a miracle I can even stand up straight any more).  Afraid that if I wasn’t doing enough for the Lord He might get angry.

What was I afraid would happen?  The absolute worst, whatever that was.

The apostle John had this to say about fear:

1 John 4:18 (NASB) – “There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves punishment, and the one who fears is not perfected in love.”

John was exactly right.  I had met Perfect Love, but I didn’t really trust Him to be Lord.  I walked around waiting for the other shoe to drop, expecting the punishment I was sure I deserved for all the mistakes I was sure I was making.

But you know how the Lord handles our mistakes?  He confronts them with His love, not His wrath.  Two of the biggest mistake makers in the New Testament, Paul and Peter, prove this.  Paul was actually murdering followers of Christ and was on his way to kill even more when he met Jesus on the road to Damascus and you know what Jesus said to him?

Acts 9:4-6 (NASB) – “… and he fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to him, “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me?”  And he said, “Who are You, Lord?” And He said, “I am
Jesus whom you are persecuting, but get up and enter the
city, and it will be told you what you must do.”

Paul wasn’t even a believer at that point, but Jesus simply confronted him with a question.  A question that immediately revealed to Paul (then Saul) what was in his own heart and who Jesus was.  And then He told Paul what to do.

Then there is Peter.  The disciple who swore his willingness to die for Jesus (John 13) and then turned around and denied even knowing Him that same night (John 18).  Talk about a mistake!  How did Jesus handle it?

John 21:15-17 (NASB)“So when they had finished breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon, son of John, do you love Me more than these?” He said to Him, “Yes, Lord; You know that I love You.” He said to him, “Tend My lambs.” He said to him again a second time, “Simon, son of John, do you love Me?” He said to Him, “Yes, Lord; You know that I love You.” He said to him, “Shepherd My sheep.” He said to him the third time, “Simon, son of John, do you love Me?” Peter was grieved because He said to him the third time, “Do you love Me?” And he said to Him, “Lord, You know all things; You know that I love You.” Jesus said to him, “Tend My sheep.”

Jesus dealt with his mistake by asking him questions that caused Peter to think and then He gave him instructions.  Just like He did with Paul.  Their mistakes were confronted by Perfect Love, not punishment.

So, all that to say, living in fear is NOT reigning in life, but apparently living loved IS.

Abundant Life?

In my last post I talked a little bit about what the Lord has to say about living as resurrected believers in Jesus Christ.  Specifically, I asked what does it look like to live the abundant life Jesus gave us and what does it mean to reign in life?

I certainly don’t believe at this point in my life that I have figured this out, but I think I have exhausted myself finding ways NOT to live abundantly or to reign in life.  So I think that is a starting point, what is it NOT?

Over a year ago, through a series of what I believed at the time to be random mouse clicks (now I know for certain it was God’s divine plan), I stumbled across the most profound, uncomplicated, bondage breaking teaching on grace I have ever heard from a man I had never heard of, Terry VirgoThe three-part series I heard was called, “God’s Lavish Grace.”  I could never do his message justice, but one particular point stopped me in my tracks:  the sufficiency of the sacrifice.

He shared how in the Old Testament people would bring their perfect, spotless lambs for sacrifice to the Temple.  When they arrived the priest would inspect the animal they had brought to see if it was good enough.  The interesting thing is the priest never inspected the person who brought the offering.  It didn’t matter what their job was, what clothes they wore or how they did their hair.  The sacrifice is what made the person acceptable to God by atoning for their sin.

His point (and mine)?  Jesus was our perfect sacrifice.  In fact, His sacrifice was so sufficient that it covered all sin for all time (past, present and future) for all who believe.  So why do we (or maybe I should just say ‘I’ in case I am the only one) keep living like we have to measure up to some standard we can never meet?  Why do I keep inspecting myself, so to speak, to determine what I am doing right and wrong?  Why do I keep trying to make myself acceptable to God? Why do I keep TRYING HARDER?

I spent a lot of years doing a lot of things, particularly Christian service, trying to prove to God that I was good enough for Him.  I tried to be Superwoman for Jesus.  I mean He did give His life for me, right?  Shouldn’t the least I do be to kill myself for Him?  I was in church every time the doors were open. I volunteered for anything Jesus needed me for, or at least anything with a sign-up sheet. I read my Bible diligently.  I prayed for everything and everyone I could think of.  And you know what?  It NEVER felt like enough.

You know why it wasn’t enough?  Because I couldn’t repay a debt that I was unable to pay in the first place!  In hind sight it sounds ridiculous…I was trying to repay Christ for my salvation, for the GIFT of righteousness.  Gifts and debts are not the same thing.  The gift of salvation was exactly that, a gift to be received, unwrapped, treasured and enjoyed.  Debts are bondage, plain and simple.

According to 2 Corinthians 5:21 (NASB):  “He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.”

Bottom line? The sacrifice of Jesus, and believing in Him, was all it took to make me right with God.  Abundant life, reigning in life IS NOT trying harder.

The Day After (And Every One After That)

Yesterday (as I write) we celebrated the Resurrection of Christ, our Risen Savior.  God, who squeezed Himself into an earth suit and came to earth to dwell with those whom He created to fellowship with to share Himself with.  We couldn’t come to Him, so He came to us.

But His God-ness was too big for us, so He became small.  So small in fact that He surrendered His bodily care into our hands as an infant.

He lived an earthly life sacrificing part of who He really was for the sake us – living as if He was just one of us, not living fully as God.   He chose not to access His divinity while here, for our sakes.

He lived life just like the rest of us.  He lived in community and fellowship with others.  He ate, drank, worked, went to weddings, went to the Feasts.  There was however one significant difference – He did it in perfect obedience to the Father in heaven.

It was the first time God Himself had truly lived with man since the garden, since Adam and Eve, the lie and the fruit.

How did we handle God with man?  We accused Him.  We blamed Him.  We tried Him.  We convicted Him.  We nailed Him to a tree.  Our sin – my sin – nailed Him to that cross.

Not only did all sin for all time nail Him to that cross, but He actually BECAME all sin for all time for all men ON that cross.  There is not one sin unaccounted for, unatoned for.  He became the curse that God promised would come to His people if they did not obey (see Deuteronomy 28) Him.  In Himself, God fulfilled that Old Covenant of bulls and goats.  He satisfied it, He completed it.  What we could not do for ourselves God did for us.  He became one of us and sacrificed Himself, Jesus, for us.

When God the Father resurrected Him, He approved the sacrifice.  He proclaimed it sufficient to satisfy His wrath.  The blood sacrifice was so sufficient that no other sacrifice would EVER again be necessary.  In Christ, God is satisfied and for those who receive Jesus – the way, the truth and the life – the covenant of sin and death is finished.

We are children of God, we are complete in Him.  He has given us EVERYTHING pertaining to life and godliness.  We are righteous, loved and 100% accepted by God.

So this is really the point of my post today, as believers in Jesus Christ, how are we to live this day and every day after the Resurrection of Jesus Christ?

Jesus had some things to say about why He came:

John 3:16-17 (NASB) “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him.

John 10:10b (NASB) “I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.”

So according to Jesus, He came that the world might be saved and that ‘they’ (those who are saved – see earlier in John 10) may have abundant life.

So I have to ask myself, as a believer, am I living the abundant life?  Ok, maybe I also have to ask myself, what does abundant life mean or what does it look like?

Does it depend on my circumstances?  Does it depend on my health?  Does it depend on my finances?  Does it depend on my job?  Does it depend on my wallet?  How much does it actually depend on me?  How does it happen?

Am I living the life Jesus came to give me?  If not, why?

Here’s a bit of what Paul has to say about the life Jesus came to give me:

Romans 5:17 (NASB) “For if by the transgression of the one, death reigned through the one, much more those who receive the abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness will reign in life through the One, Jesus Christ.”

So according to Paul, those of us who receive the abundance of grace and the gift of righteousness, or in other words those of us who are saved, will reign in life through Christ.

Now I have another question for myself.  Am I reigning in life?

I’ve been running into these verses for years and honestly, I haven’t known what to do with them because the truth is abundance and reigning are probably the last two words I would ever have chosen to describe most of my life.  They almost sound extravagant and regal.  But given how sometimes well-meaning church folk can throw them around when we are facing very real, very difficult life situations, they can also sound trite, convenient, and dismissive.

But this side of the Resurrection of Christ they should characterize the life of the believer.

So, if you are being 100% honest with yourself and God, would you say you are reigning in life?  Would you say your life is abundant?  It is ok to be honest with God, He knows anyway.

If you are willing, I would love it if you would share some of your thoughts, feelings, or questions about this.  If not, just begin talking to the Lord about it.

My desire is to chew on the ideas of abundant life and reigning in life for a bit.  I have no agenda here and I confess upfront not to have all of the answers.  But if God says in His word these are what He came to give us, and we just celebrated the death, burial, and resurrection of the One who made it possible, maybe we need to think about it a little and ask God to shed some Light for us.

Father, You promise in Your Word that if we will ask for wisdom You will give it liberally and without reproach.  We are asking Father. 

When the Worst Thing That Could Happen Does

Our Bible study class wrapped up part one of our Jeremiah study last week, which means we are through chapter twenty-four.  Chapter twenty-four happens after the second siege on Jerusalem, around 597 BC.  At that point the last king of Judah, Zedekiah (really bad king) was put on the throne by Nebuchadnezzar, King of Babylon.  Nebuchadnezzar also took over 10,000 people from Judah into captivity in Babylon.

For the Jews, God’s chosen people, leaving their home, the land God gave them, the land God promised to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, was one of the worst things that could happen to them.

But God (one of my favorite phrases in the Bible) had this to say about leaving their land and heading into captivity:

Jeremiah 24:5-7 (NASB) “Thus says the Lord God of Israel, ‘Like these good figs, so I will regard as good the captives of Judah, whom I have sent out of this place into the land of the Chaldeans. For I will set My eyes on them for good, and I will bring them again to this land; and I will build them up and not overthrow them, and I will plant them and not pluck them up.  I will give them a heart to know Me, for I am the Lord; and they will be My people, and I will be their God, for they will return to Me with their whole heart.”

Then He has this to say about those who were able to stay in their own land:

Jeremiah 24:8-10 (NASB)  ‘But like the bad figs which cannot be eaten due to rottenness—indeed, thus says the Lord—so I will abandon Zedekiah king of Judah and his officials, and the remnant of Jerusalem who remain in this land and the ones who dwell in the land of Egypt.  I will make them a terror and an evil for all the kingdoms of the earth, as a reproach and a proverb, a taunt and a curse in all places where I will scatter them.  I will send the sword, the famine and the pestilence upon them until they are destroyed from the land which I gave to them and their forefathers.’”

Turns out, according to the rest of the book of Jeremiah (which we will be studying next), it really did get a whole lot worse for those who were able to stay in their own land than for those who were led away.  In other words, as folks were packing up their lives and heading to a foreign land into captivity, likely they were thinking it was the worst day of their lives.  But the truth was God had a plan.  They just couldn’t see it at the moment.

There was another very pivotal point in history that looked like the worst thing that could possibly happen, the crucifixion of Christ.  By all human standards of measure, He appeared to have failed miserably in His mission as the King of Kings, Savior of the World.

Think about those precious folks who had followed Him over the three years of His earthly ministry:  the twelve disciples (down to eleven the day before the cross), His mother, Mary, Martha and Lazarus, Joseph of Arimathea, Nicodemus.  Many of them traveled, ate, drank, and slept with Him.  They listened to Him teach, they prayed with Him.  He washed their feet.  He spoke everything to them that the Father said.

But they didn’t get it.  When He died on that cross, it looked like all their hopes died with Him.  It looked like the worst possible thing that could happen.  How do you become King if you are dead?  They lacked perspective.

On this side of that same cross though we know God had a plan they couldn’t see.  We know in fact that Christ’s crucifixion was THE ONLY way to Christ’s resurrection and our salvation.  Without the terrible road of the cross we would still be lost on the path to destruction.  Still stuck in our own captivity to sin and death.

The truth is most of the time we lack the perspective to determine if our circumstances are good or bad, just like those headed into the Babylonian captivity and just like those who stood at the foot of the cross one dark Friday afternoon over 2000 years ago.

Father, help me to trust all my circumstances to You no matter how they look.  Even if it’s the worst possible thing that I think could happen, help me remember that You NEVER leave me nor forsake me and that You alone are Sovereign over all.   Help me to keep my eyes on You and trust all the outcomes to You alone.

The Simple Truth

I have been thinking a lot lately about God’s Big Plan for my life.  I even wrote some of my thoughts in Surrendering ‘The Plan’.  The more I think about it the more convinced I am that ‘The Plan’ has less to do with outcomes and accomplishments FOR Him and more to do with being in intimate relationship WITH Him.  Simply knowing Him, believing Him, abiding in Him.

So I woke up this morning with this verse on my heart:

Genesis 5:24 (NASB) “Enoch walked with God; and he was not, for God took him.”

Enoch lived 365 years (which was a short life by pre-Flood standards) and this is how the Bible records his life.  A simple sentence about the life of a man whom God took Home.  The only other Biblical reference to Enoch is in the book of Jude (Jesus’ own earthly brother) verses 14 – 15:

Jude 1:14-15 (NASB) “14 It was also about these men that Enoch, in the seventh generation from Adam, prophesied, saying, ‘Behold, the Lord came with many thousands of His holy ones, 15 to execute judgment upon all, and to convict all the ungodly of all their ungodly deeds which they have done in an ungodly way, and of all the harsh things which ungodly sinners have spoken against Him.'”

How did Enoch know what to say?  Enoch walked with God, he communicated with Him, he spent time with Him, and from that relationship he spoke for God.

The book of Micah describes ‘The Plan’ this way:

Micah 6:8 (NASB)  “He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, to love kindness, And to walk humbly with your God?”

There are some ‘to do’s’ in this verse that God requires, but they seem pretty simple and straightforward – do justice, love kindness and walk humbly with God.  Three bullet points on ‘The Plan’.  Seems simple, I can really get onboard with those.

When the crowd followed Jesus after the feeding of the five thousand and asked Him what they were to do in order that they may ‘work the works of God’ (see John 6), Jesus replies:

John 6:29b (NASB) “This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He has sent.”

Wow!  That sounds really simple too.  It also sounds a lot like Abraham in Genesis:

Genesis 15:6 (NASB) “Then he (Abram) believed in the Lord; and He reckoned it to him as righteousness.”

Abraham was made right with God by simply believing Him. Amazing!

Then there is Jesus again, with Mary and Martha:

Luke 10:38-42 (NASB) “38 Now as they were traveling along, He entered a village; and a woman named Martha welcomed Him into her home. 39 She had a sister called Mary, who was seated at the Lord’s feet, listening to His word. 40 But Martha was distracted with all her preparations; and she came up to Him and said, ‘Lord, do You not care that my sister has left me to do all the serving alone? Then tell her to help me.’ 41 But the Lord answered and said to her, ‘Martha, Martha, you are worried and bothered about so many things; 42 but only one thing is necessary, for Mary has chosen the good part, which shall not be taken away from her.'”

According to Jesus, only one thing is necessary, spending time with Him, enjoying fellowship with Him, being with Him.

My point is simply this, I have exhausted myself with all of my ‘doings’ for God.  It seems to me, I am the one who has made serving God so difficult and so complicated.

‘The Plan’ God has for me (and dare I say all of us), from a Biblical perspective, appears to be a lot more simple and a lot less exhausting than I have made it out to be.  According to Jesus only one thing (not 500 things) is necessary and out of that the eternal fruit Jesus describes in John 15 will come.  The fruit of simply abiding in Him.

If it’s enough for God, why isn’t it enough for me?

Father, thank You for the simple truth that You desire relationship with me and out of that relationship You will accomplish Your purposes in my life.  Thank You for the freedom to let go of trying to figure it all out.  Thank You for rest.