Oh, the peace of this morning. To be totally still in a quiet house with time to sit at your feet, Jesus. How I want to dwell in this kind of peace-your Word says I can! So many internal voices tug at me–do this, do that, go this way–no, that way. But if I am to truly be who you created me to be, I have to STOP and listen to YOU. Not to the should-have’s, could have’s, or the need-to’s, but to trust, since I have asked to live out your will for me, that the want-to’s are where you beckon me.
Galatians 5:1, the life verse the Lord gave me, says “It is for freedom that I have come to set you free,” freedom from the law, trying to be good enough for God, acceptable to others, to feel I’m okay. “Stand firm, then,” be still, don’t waver, “and don’t let yourself (it’s a choice) be burdened again by the yoke of slavery.” Jesus said, “My yoke is easy and my burden is light.” If my burden is too heavy to carry, I need to ask myself what my motivation is for the choices I make to use my time, energy, and talents; because if I am giving them to God, he says it will be easy and light. It will be a want-to.
There used to be a fashion norm that you only wear white shoes after Memorial Day and before Labor Day. This came up in April when I was dressing for my daughter’s baby shower, and I donned my only pair of white shoes to match the outfit. I asked my husband something like, “Is this okay? They say you’re not supposed to wear white shoes until after Memorial Day.” He came back with “Who is they?” And I honestly didn’t know. Do you?
There is a popular question in church culture where “they” ask, “What are you doing for God?” I wasn’t aware that God needed me to do anything for him. It’s my understanding he is complete and perfect and that he has done everything for me. So who are “they” anyway? In Matthew 17, the story of the transfiguration, Peter, James, and John go with Jesus up the mountain and see him transformed in all his glory along with Moses and Elijah. Peter wanted to do something for them, namely building them each a tabernacle. But God speaks from heaven and says, “This is my beloved Son. Listen to him!”
Peter had the best of intentions, and often so do we. There is certainly everything right about having the desire to please God. But are we listening to him, or are we busy doing what we think we “should” do? In Ephesians 2:8, Paul explains that it’s by grace we’ve been saved, through faith and not of ourselves: it is the gift of God, not of works, that no one can boast. Many of us have learned that verse. But if you read further in verse 9, he explains that we’re created in Christ to do good works that God prepared in advance for us to do. He prepared them in advance because he is the one that designed us individually, and he already has a blueprint for each of us.
Our enemy wants to keep us off track with not knowing whether to turn right or turn left. We live in an age where there are so many choices, it’s totally overwhelming. It must have been so simple in days of old when women gathered at the well to draw water and shared their hearts, or later in history when they sat at quilting bees and garnered emotional support from one another. Even the Proverbs 31 lady (who sounds to me like a workaholic on steroids!) knew exactly how God designed her. But although times have changed, God hasn’t changed.
When my mother died, I felt that a window had opened. The air was clear and clean; the Spirit was blowing a fresh breeze into my being. I had clarity about how quickly this life passes and that we have a choice as to how we will live it. I was so afraid that window would shut before I could get my bearings and hear clearly from the Lord. The enemy tried to shut it-even slam it. But a crack remained because God always provides the way if we ask him. I see a picture of him right now holding that window open for me, and I’m going to trust him to keep it open.
This week we celebrate the Fourth of July where our forefathers battled for and won our freedom as a nation. Jesus also went to war for us. He was beaten, bruised, and crucified unto death to defeat our enemy and purchase our freedom. God raised him from the dead to give us life. Lord Jesus, we want to listen to you. I ask you to silence the voice of the enemy that tries to keep us too busy to listen. Help us to discover the way you have designed each of us, a design that will not only bring glory to your name, but will give us the desires of our hearts. Holy Spirit, breathe new life into us, your life, the life of freedom. Amen.
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