I’m reading a book on worship–what it is, what it’s not, and what it means for me as a follower of Christ. So often we start with the doing for God or we focus on becoming and we grow frustrated. Our doing seems unfulfilling and becoming becomes complicated so we either change our doing or chase after the latest way to “become.”
But what if we’re missing a couple of steps?
Matthew 6:33, “But seek first the kingdom of God and all these things will be added to you.”
Jeremiah 29:13, “You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart.”
To seek: to go in quest of, to search, to find, to discover. Seeking is the first step in becoming and doing. We must seek God. We must turn our heart to discovering him in our everyday lives. And we must fix our minds on searching for him and his ways in our lives.
Proverbs 24:3-4, “By wisdom a house is built, and by understanding it is established; by knowledge the rooms are filled with all precious and pleasant riches.”
John 10:14, “I am the good shepherd. I know my own and my own know me.”
To know: to understand clearly, to perceive, to have established in the mind, and to be aware of. The second step to becoming and doing is to know God. To know how he loves, his kindness, mercy, and grace and what it means.
The more we seek and know God, the easier it is to become who he intends for us to be and to know what we should be doing.
God doesn’t lead us on a merry chase, but guides and directs our steps–sometimes one step at a time–sometimes by leaps and bounds–but always closer to him.
If we’re frustrated with doing and despairing over becoming, let’s take a step back to seek and know God. Let that be our main focus and the other two will fall into place.
We bow before you, awestruck by who you are. You are light and life, grace and mercy, just and right, and filled with love and power. Let our hearts draw near to you today. We seek you with all our hearts because we know that our desires are found and fulfilled in you.
We want to know you, Lord. You desire relationship and so we say, yes. Yes, Lord. Reveal yourself to us today as we seek your face. Without you our becoming loses its fire and our doing loses its purpose. Guide our steps and our hearts ever closer to you. Help us to know your voice and respond when you call.
In Jesus’ name,
I’ll be praying that you fill your week with seeking and knowing God more.
Jessica of Welcome Grace
The book I referred to at the top of this letter (click on the picture for the link).
A Prayer to Abide
“Remain in me, and I will remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me. I am the vine and you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.” John 15:4-5
The Thin Place
We walk this in this thin place of living in this world while knowing our home is in the next. It’s a thin place because it’s far too easy to slide into living and doing according to the world’s philosophies or to lean so far the other way that we cannot relate to those around us.
The key to living in the thin place is abiding. I know this world knocks us around and we wrestle between flesh and spirit. Will we trust God in the midst of trouble or will we accuse him of abandoning us? And if we choose to accuse then we miss an opportunity to grow in our faith. We must remain in him.
Remain in Him
Abiding in Christ is to remain in him when life sparkles and when life darkens. It’s what enables us to walk by faith when we cannot see and to believe when we don’t understand. It’s remaining when leaving tempts us.
In order to remain in him, we must choose endurance, dependence, and obedience.
To choose grit over quit. Endurance isn’t glamorous, but it leads to some pretty spectacular results.
Wait on God for the outcome. Dependence looks a lot like waiting on God for his outcome.
To obey is to trust God at his word. If he says to love, then love and trust him to supply. If he says to forgive, then forgive and trust him to enable.
You are mighty and most worthy of praise. I adore you, Lord, and thank-you for who you are. You are grace and kindness and mercy. Goodness and beauty. Lord, I want to abide in you and remain in you because that is the secret to living this life well for you. This life surprises me with its beauty and its ferociousness, but you are the constant through it all.
Help me to choose you in the face of deep disappointment and to recognize you in the light of great achievement. You are my everything and I worship you. God, I choose grit, dependence, and obedience. Give me the strength to endure. Help me find my strength in dependence on you, and guide me in obedience.
You are God, my rock and my refuge, and I am forever enamored by you. May your face shine upon me and your glory overwhelm me. Let me be caught by your goodness and mercy and may I forever depend on you.
In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Cups overflow or empty?
Our identity in Christ covers three basic needs: significance, security, and acceptance. It’s out of these three things that our ability to minister to others without experiencing twisting and turning based on their approval or disapproval flows. But so often, we forget who we are in Christ. We begin to think that the answers to this world’s difficulties rests on our ability to provide answers and service.
But the picture in Psalm 23 of the good shepherd, leading me by still waters, through death’s valley, and near pain’s shadow that I realize that it’s not up to me to carry all the burdens. I am weak and weary. Exhausted from the battle. It’s here, in the presence of my enemies, that I realize that God’s abundance in the midst of mess is for me and for you.
Our Cups Overflow
Further into Psalm 23 we read that He anoints our heads with oil and makes our cups overflow. In ancient Eastern culture, hosts anointed their guests with perfume as a sign of honor. The host would give their guest a cup and then were careful to fill it till it overflowed. This implied that while in the host’s presence the guest would have all the abundance the host could offer.
This is a beautiful picture of what it looks like when we abide in Christ. Our cups overflow as we hold our cup upright to receive from him. But so often, when we see the urgent in our life, we run around, holding our cups in a pouring position. Then, when cups run dry, we dash back to the Father for more filling. But what if we changed the position of our cups? What if we held them always in the upright position? This would allow the overflow of what God is doing in our lives to flow to those around us.
Our agendas would change. No longer would we treat our quiet time as a fill-up station, only pulling up for refuel when we’re empty. No longer would we feel the burden of the world’s cares on our shoulders and be overwhelmed by the great needs around us. Our position would be one of upturned cups, being continually filled and overflowing into the lives around us throughout our day.
Hold Your Cups Upright
This position, of holding our cups upright and realizing the overflow that comes from being together with Christ in every moment, releases us from the burden that service sometimes brings. Instead, we find ourselves able to do more than we ever imagined because our cups are always full.
Carrying our cup upright allows it to overflow into other’s emptier vessels. We discover that our confidence has nothing to do with our strengths. At the same time we learn that our insecurities don’t have to bind us to inaction.
Hold your cup upright and receive this blessing:
“For this reason I kneel before the Father, from whom his whole family in heaven and on earth derives its name. I pray that our of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.” Ephesians 3:14-19 NIV