First of all, I just want to acknowledge the fact that life is consuming… working & saving money, studying & making good grades, hanging out & having friends, loving & enjoying a significant other, planning & making an ‘easier future’, searching & keeping up with the latest, loving & making time for family… it’s a busy life.
But all of our busy-ness is meaningless without Jesus. We can finish our to-do lists every day, we can have a storehouse full of money, a heart full of love, a room full of friends, a life of the trendiest, a house of the nicest, but our best is only our worst without Jesus.
In the past couple months, I have learned how important it is to give each day to Jesus. It’s a routine. I have to wake up & give it all to Jesus. Every single thing.
As I read a while back:
"I feel it is far better to begin with God—to see His face first, to get my soul near to Him before it is near to another."
I wake up every morning, naturally, with a million things on my mind. It is easy for me to jump out of bed, make a pot of coffee, search Spotify, browse through the pins on Pinterest that I’ve missed out on while I was sleeping (ridiculous), read for school, check Instagram, check my bank accounts, clean my room, do laundry. It’s easy. I could think of so many other things to do rather than first spending time with The One who has given me this day… because the world is consuming. Or, it can be.
I guess I have been waiting for God to make me spend time with Him, for Him to knock on my door & make me tell Him about my life & share His with me in return. Though I have learned this before, I am learning it again: that’s not our God. I’m not saying God does not pursue us. I’m not saying God does not long to be in relation with us, but I am saying that even though He has the power to, He is not going to demand a relationship with us.
I’ve been reading in Matthew for the past month or longer, and this morning was in Matthew 13. I noticed a theme: Understanding of Jesus comes from intimacy with Jesus.
As Jesus spoke in parables, many had no idea what Jesus was speaking of (Matthew 13:16-17) and even the disciples (His most intimate followers) needed clarification. This was purposeful. Jesus wanted the secrets of the kingdom to be shared with His followers who earnestly sought after Him, not shared with those who were lukewarm in their commitment to Jesus.
At the end of Matthew 16, Jesus visits His hometown (Nazareth) and because many knew of His earthly inheritance (His mother, His brothers, His father) they were rebellious as Jesus began to reveal His wisdom & heavenly inheritance.
In Matthew 16:58, it says:
"And he did not do many mighty works there, because of their unbelief."
In my ESV study bible, the note for this verse says:
"Hard-heartedness and rejection of Jesus prevents the Spirit’s healing ministry, just as they prevent forgiveness of sin. The Holy Spirit does not force his miracles on a hostile, skeptical audience."
And this is what I am learning to love about Jesus. He created everyone on this earth, everything on this earth, and is King over it all, yet He is humble enough to give us freedom.
He is not going to make me open my Bible. He is not going to make me spend time with Him, but when I do, there is a fulfillment that I will receive from nothing else. No minute I spend with Jesus, no word I read in the Bible ever returns void. And as I have become more committed in giving every morning to Him, there is an overbearing void on those mornings that I don’t give to Jesus.
So no matter my excuse, no matter my plans, no matter how busy I think I am…I am obligated to start every day with Jesus because if I lose sight of Jesus, I lose sight of it all.
"For the eyes of the LORD range throughout the earth to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to him." 2 Chronicles 16:9
In past relationships or past friendships of any sort, I can look back and see that whatever I was feeling one day was how the people around me would be treated. And what I was feeling seemed to change about every other day or even every other hour. I mean, being a hormonal teenage girl contributed, but that wasn’t all. I relied on myself, my emotions. If I felt happy, my relationships were good. If I was pissed, relationships were bad. If I felt depressed, I was disconnected. If I was insecure or threatened, there was jealousy, and the list goes on and on.
I floated from the wavelengths of my emotions for years, never even realizing what this reckless cycle was doing to me. I was completely dependent on my human mind to decide for myself how I felt about life and how that unpredictable feeling would affect the way I treated my friends, my family, my coworkers, professors, and even myself. Basically, I was just an emotional mess. I didn’t know how to deal with these crazy emotions so I just reacted to them. Easiest thing to do, right?
I wasn’t walking with Jesus so there was no stability, no Truth, no Rock to stand on besides myself and I quickly found out that I was really no rock at all. When I began to walk with Jesus, He opened my eyes to my self-reliance, but it was still a struggle because self-reliance was a habit for me. Honestly, until very recently, I wasn’t completely aware of how much control my emotions were having over my life. When I began to share my life with Josh (my boyfriend), my eyes were opened even more to my self-dependency. My actions, the good and the bad, were not just affecting me, but him too. Relationships really make you think about the intentionality of every word, thought, and action. A couple months ago, I was overcome by fear, by guilt from my past, by worry, by hesitation, by doubt. Every emotion piled on top of the other, none of them being good. So of course, my relationship suffered. I wasn’t feeling good so neither was my relationship. And one day, while seeking wisdom from dear friend, she told me, “Sometimes you just have to choose to love.” Not a revolutionary thought, but I had literally NEVER heard that before. I had never thought of love as a choice or joy as a choice or peace as a choice, but it is. I was just used to love being only what I shared with others when I felt like it. That’s not so. Love IS a choice. Joy IS a choice. Peace IS a choice. Even hate IS a choice. Jealousy IS a choice. Anger IS a choice. We always have a choice and too often, we choose to let our emotions and feeling govern our direction and our decisions instead of walking in the Truth of Jesus, which is the only sustaining Constant anyone can know.
Now I know and see that everyone is worthy. Every single person is worthy of knowing they are loved and valued. Whether a good day or a bad, they are still worthy. Our emotions do not change the value of the people around us. When you feel like you’re swimming through a sea of emotion, remember God is greater than our emotions. What you feel isn’t always what is true.
Jesus perfectly paints a picture for us all throughout His life on earth of what it looks like to live by the Spirit and walk in Truth rather than emotions. Jesus, holy & pure, humbled himself to be one of us, to experience what it felt like to be hungry, to be overwhelmed with sorrow, to be denied by those who knew Him best, to be rejected, to feel forsaken (even by His Father, Matthew 27:46). Jesus felt. There is no question about it. But the difference between Jesus and His people is that Jesus never acted on His feelings in a way that compromised the will of His Father.
36 Then Jesus went with his disciples to a place called Gethsemane, and he said to them, “Sit here while I go over there and pray.” 37 He took Peter and the two sons of Zebedee along with him, and he began to be sorrowful and troubled. 38 Then he said to them, “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me.” 39 Going a little farther, he fell with his face to the ground and prayed, “My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will.” 40 Then he returned to his disciples and found them sleeping. “Couldn’t you men keep watch with me for one hour?” he asked Peter. 41 “Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.” 42 He went away a second time and prayed, “My Father, if it is not possible for this cup to be taken away unless I drink it, may your will be done.”
Jesus came to earth, knowing the cup The Father had given Him to drink. Jesus drank of that cup for His children, regardless of the denial, rejection, heaviness, and sorrow He felt. We all have our own “cups” per se, all filled with situations that provoke different feeling, but through the unmerited grace of Jesus, we have a Rock to stand on when things around us fall. We have the tangible Word of God to run to when we can’t decipher emotion versus truth. Just as Paul says, we aren’t meant to fight with the weapons of the world. We aren’t meant to fight with our natural minds against the power of darkness. We have been given the power, through the Spirit, to destroy any thought that isn’t in agreement with the knowledge of God. We can take these thoughts captive and submit them unto the Lord. They don’t have to have power over us. Victory has already been given to us, we just have to believe in it. And when we believe, our actions testify.
You can’t get ahead of God’s order & expect to walk in harmony with Him.
Where there is fear, there is deceit.
Where there is fear, there is trouble.
Where there is fear, there is anxiety.
Where there is fear, there is disbelief.
Where there is fear, there is ambiguity.
Where there is fear, there is insecurity.
Where there is fear, there is not Love.
But where you find fear, you also find a perfect place for the grace of Jesus to come and dwell.
Where there is Jesus, there is honesty.
Where there is Jesus, there is harmony.
Where there is Jesus there is liberation.
Where there is Jesus, there is faith, not lacking in the least.
Where there is Jesus, there is clarity.
Where there is Jesus, there is blessed assurance.
Where there is Jesus, there is Perfect Love.
Know that anything inhibiting you by fear is a lie from the enemy.
Stay aware. He is mischievous in his ways.
His lies can be woven into our thoughts, which can turn into words, which can turn into actions.
Remember, fear relates to punishment & punishment denies The Cross. The Cross declares victory for every hopeless soul; victory over the past, over today, and over whatever is to come. This is where our confidence is found… at The Cross.
We have no knowledge nor control of tomorrow. Tomorrow is a mystery, but when we choose to dwell with Jesus, we can laugh at the days to come and find rest for our souls as He casts all fear aside. With Jesus, we have the promise of eternal victory, regardless of our opposition.
Often times, I feel like the goodness of the Lord cannot be put into 140 characters on Twitter or fit into a status on Facebook. More times, I remember the goodness of the Lord can never fully be fathomed, no matter the words, no matter the space. And that is what I love about the beautiful mystery of God.
"… His greatness, no one can fathom." Ps. 145:3
But many, many times, I think His goodness is revealed to different people in all different ways, times, and spaces. And this is all this blog is about… to share Jesus the way He is sharing Himself with me. It is a place for growth and a place for truth. It is a place for me to linger, for me to share, and learn in return.
I know we each have a purpose in the Kingdom of Heaven. I believe we were each created with divine purpose, altogether revealing more of Jesus as He is revealed to us. Just to be created by God is to have full purpose in this life. With this purpose comes gifts and I guess you could say some of my gifts have been slightly revealed to me in the past few months. So it is my only hope that I would learn use my gift, my voice in this small way to manifest His glory. After all, He is the Giver of ALL gifts.