“Deeper” is my word for 2013. God has been calling me out in different ways over the past year and a half- to press on, to not be content or stagnate in my walk with Him. He is working in my heart to show me ways I have blocked Him out.
The first part of my prayer for 2013 is a deeper repentance. Well, God is answering that one. As I’m walking this out, the Lord is showing me ways I have constructed that inhibit His work in me and through me. These are nuanced lessons – where good things can get in the way of being surrendered.
1. preparing, over-preparing and trust
I get anxious doing things for the first time. I will prepare, sometimes over-prepare. The internal struggle is, “am I enough? do I know enough? have I studied enough? “
I’m seeing that struggle from a new vantage point.
If God has promised to give me the words, or ideas that I need, isn’t the real struggle “Is God enough?” In focusing on myself, or being tempted to focus on myself, the temptation is to doubt God’s ability to provide. I look to myself instead of to Him- my limited understanding rather than His Omniscience. When you put it like that, it sounds ridiculous. Who would do that? A fool does that.
The fool has said in his heart, “There is no God.”
2. creating a Law or walking in step?
Frustrated that I hadn’t even fulfilled what I wanted to do that day, my realization came as I was thinking about how I fail at my own idealized picture of the Christian life. Ha! am I more concerned about what I think my spiritual disciplines should look like, what kind of schedule I keep, or whether I have loved well?
It’s really not an either/or kind of question in the full picture of things. So much of what we read can be about improving our spiritual lives. These are not bad at all and are helpful, even needful, in many ways. Establishing regularity in spiritual disciplines is important. But if I focus on keeping activities in place as a means of feeling good about my relationship with God, what then?
It is possible to be rigorous in certain routines without really listening to the Lord, or even asking His opinion on things. If this is my frustration, have I not just created a Law that brings me a sense of righteousness on my own terms? When you put it like that, it’s a “self on the throne” kind of life.
Functionally, a Pharisee.
“Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You give a tenth of your spices—mint, dill and cumin. But you have neglected the more important matters of the law—justice, mercy and faithfulness. You should have practiced the latter, without neglecting the former.
All that to say, God is answering that prayer for a deeper repentance, a deeper trust by exposing the tinker toy coping mechanisms I’ve relied on instead of Him. Fool or Pharisee, I’m grateful for this truth– I’m forgiven.
If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.
What truths are you grateful for today?
Sounds as if God has been doing a great work during your sabbatical! “Deeper” is a great word. I love how you are digging when others would be content. There is so much more to find.
He is showing me things from another angle- I’m sure there’s more to come. Thanks for the encouragement, Maggie.