Tuesday, June 14, 2011

One Heart and Purpose

"Then make me truly happy by agreeing wholeheartedly with each other, loving one another, and working together with one heart and purpose."  --Philippians 2:2

Submitting in marriage has not been easy for me.  Not even a little bit easy.

When I peel back all the layers and excuses (even the really good excuses that make ya just want to scream!), I think that it's simply pride that keeps me from true submission...the kind of submission that goes deep in the heart...and flows out in action.

"Your attitude should be the same that Christ Jesus had.  Though he was God, he did not demand and cling to his rights as God.  He made himself nothing; he took the humble position of a slave and appeared in human form.  And in human form he obediently humbled himself even further by dying a criminal's death on a cross."  --Philippians 2:5-8

I can say amen.  I can sing about this all day.  I can agree in my mind.  I can even blog about it and make it look official.  But until it penetrates my heart so deeply that it flows out...it means nothing.

In marriage, we are to work together with one heart and purpose, just as the church is to work together with one heart and purpose.  That means submitting, even when I believe I have the market on the right answer...even just this once!  It means making myself nothing.  No, that's not even politically correct...but it's what Jesus did.  Does He not live inside me?  He didn't demand and cling to His rights. Can He, living in me, demand and cling to His rights now?  

Or does He take the humble position of a slave and appear through me?

Friday, June 3, 2011

Living Like I'm Ready

"...Let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily hinders our progress.  And let us run with endurance the race that God has set before us.  We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, on whom our faith depends from start to finish." (Hebrews 12:1b-2)

"So take a new grip with your tired hands and stand firm on your shaky legs.  Mark out a straight path for your feet.  Then those who follow you, though they are weak and lame, will not stumble and fall but will become strong."  (Hebrew 12:12-13)

Free Stock Photo of Road 9

Now, THAT is focus.  Marking out a straight path and sticking to it...keeping our eyes on Jesus.  Just one foot in front of the other...one "Yes, Lord" after another...on down that straight path.

But what is it that lures me away from such focus??  Procrastination?  Complacency?  Laziness?


"However, no one knows the day or hour when these things will happen, not even the angels in heaven or the Son himself.  Only the Father knows.  And since you don't know when they will happen, stay alert and keep watch.

"The coming of the Son of Man can be compared with that of a man who left home to go on a trip.  He gave each of his employees instructions about the work they were to do, and he told the gatekeeper to watch for his return.  So keep a sharp lookout!  For you do not know when the homeowner will return--at evening, midnight, early dawn or late daybreak.  Don't let him find you sleeping when he arrives without warning.  What I say to you I say to everyone: Watch for his return!"  (Mark 13:32-37)

As I was reading these verses this morning, I was struck with a question: "Am I living like I'm ready for Him to return?"  Followed closely by another question: "If I knew that He was returning this afternoon, how would I live this morning?  What would I do today?" 

There's no "due date" to kick me into gear.  And yet there's a definite directive: to do the work He gave me to do.  That's the only way I will be ready.  Yes, He lives in my heart, and yes, I'm saved by His grace alone and not by any work I could do in the flesh.  But I cannot passively accept that gift of grace and then fall into a peaceful slumber.   It is Jesus who said to be ready...to be about the work He has given me to do...to keep a sharp lookout...to not be found sleeping when He returns.  This is active, not passive.  It's one "Yes Lord"...one step...followed by another...in a focused journey.  This means my full attention should be on the work He's given me to do today.

To love others they way He loves me...

To do what is right, love mercy and walk humbly with Him...

To look well to the ways of my household...

To "give up my life" in order to find it...

To strip off the sins that so easily slow me down...

To mark out a straight path for my feet...

To live THIS DAY in full focus, just as I would if I knew He was returning today...

That is the challenge I'm setting before myself this morning.  To spend THIS DAY about His business...to live THIS DAY like I'm ready and waiting for Him.  To keep my eyes focused on down that path, looking only to Him...taking one step of obedience at a time.

"...and he will give you all you need from day to day if you live for him and make the kingdom of God your primary concern."  (Matthew 6:33)