I now know that Jesus is all I need, but this was not always the case. There was a time when my focus was on all God could do to make my life comfortable and make my every wish come true. My prayers reflected my self-centered heart and shallow faith. But something has shifted. These days, Jesus is the more I am asking for because circumstances have taught me, He is the more I need. He is the promise I cling to. Do I pray for other things I desire? Sure I do. However, I am trying to not make these things my focus. Instead, I am trying to remain in a place of rejoicing and magnifying all that I have in Christ. Notice I said, “trying” because some days I fail miserably at this. When I stay in that place of knowing Jesus is all I need, I don’t sit and sulk when my prayers for the temporal are unanswered. I know that I have Jesus and He is more than enough. Saying Jesus is all I need is not just some fanciful statement. It is a statement that is based on who Jesus is! He is the one with all authority (Matthew 28:18). He is the one through whom all things were created (1 Corinthians 8:6). God the Father has appointed Him an heir to all things (Hebrews 1:2). I can go on but I hope you get the point, Jesus has quite an impressive resume that shouts, “I AM ENOUGH!” Having Jesus does not mean there will be an absence of conflict and pain, actually the opposite is true. Jesus promised His followers that we will have to endure difficulty and hardship just because we follow Him (Matthew 5:11-12, John 15:20). But we must not forget that He is there with us in hardship, He is the other that is in the fire with us (Daniel 3:25). There is something about knowing I have Jesus that makes me more willing to walk boldly into the unknown. He has already gone ahead of me! Admittedly, I have moments where I take my eyes off Jesus and the aforementioned is not my testimony. Instead, I give in to fear and choose to pursue comfort because it feels safe. However, once I get my eyes back on Him, I become spiritually realigned and regain proper focus. This heart of mine can be fickle, but I pray for more faithfulness. I pray to consistently walk in the truth, knowing that Jesus is enough, and He is all I need!
When I call my children, I expect them to answer. I am annoyed when they ignore my voice. The other day I had a familiar situation play out in my home. I was calling a particular child, and she totally ignored me. She eventually answered the call but was upset because as she was doing what I was calling her to do, her siblings began playing a game and she could not join them. I explained to her that if she had come when I first called her, this situation would have been avoided. As I was scolding her, the Lord held the mirror up to me and I saw myself… AGAIN! He let me know I have been guilty of ignoring His voice. Sometimes I hear the “voice” of God, not His literal voice, but I sense He is calling me and telling me to do something. I have made the mistake of ignoring His voice if I feel what He is calling me to do is too hard or inconvenient and a disruption to my agenda. When I delay responding to the voice of God, frustration kicks in because ignoring His voice often creates self-inflicted delays in my life.
There are many examples of those who responded to the voice of God. The voice of God came and called Abraham away from what was familiar and asked Him to step into the unknown. That seemed scary. Abraham’s yes made Him a father of many nations. The voice of God came and asked Elijah to confront wicked Ahab, that was definitely uncomfortable and risky. Elijah’s yes lead the children of Israel to repent of their sins. The voice of God came and told Moses to go back to the very place he ran away from to save His life. That seemed unfair and irrational. Moses’ yes helped to deliver the children of Israel from Egyptian slavery. The voice of God came and called the disciples away from what they were used to. That was uncomfortable. The disciples’ yes made them fishers of men! Saying yes to God means saying no to something, but it is always the best option! Answering the voice of God is often inconvenient, but we should never put God on hold. When He calls, God requires immediate obedience. When God speaks, we should not ignore His voice, instead we should meet Him with an immediate, “YES!”
We can spend so much time highlighting all the enemy is doing and miss the goodness of God! There is a lot of evil going on in the world today for sure. Scripture tells us that the devil is the god of this world (2 Corinthians 4:4), and we see the destructive nature of his evil regime all around us. However, even in all of that, my Jesus still reigns supreme. The Kingdom (God’s reign, rule and authority) is still intact. Jesus is the one who rose with all power in His hands. He is the one who reigns with victory. When he was resurrected from the dead, He was given the place of highest honor and in the end every knee will bow and every tongue will confess that King Jesus is Lord (Philippians 2:9-11)! This is who I serve.
This is who I will exalt.
This is who I will focus on.
Take inventory of your conversations. Who do you focus on, the devil and his works or God and His goodness? 1 Peter 5:8 says “be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.” I will take heed to that scripture and be aware of his evil schemes (2 Corinthians 2:11). I will not pretend like the devil does not exist. HOWEVER, I will not make him the focus of my conversation. Instead, I will give my energy and adoration to King Jesus. I will be quick to rehearse His goodness and His faithfulness. Jesus will get the spotlight because He alone deserves my full attention and affection.
The more I see God, the more I see myself, and it is not always pretty. Considering God’s holiness, the ugly parts of me are really pronounced. The more I press into His presence, the more I see my need for Him to transform me. His light reveals the darkness and calls me higher. In the presence of other broken humans, I can convince myself that I am doing fine and even become self-righteous. Using flawed men and women as the standard is never a good idea. But who can contend with a Holy God? In His presence, who can boast of her righteousness that is like filthy rags? I read His word, and it reads me and reveals my heart, and I am aware of my fickleness, and my utter need for Him to continuously transform me. I cry out like David did in Psalm 51:10, “Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me,” and I mean it. He shows me myself, not to condemn me but to call me higher. He shows me myself and reminds me He has already offered the remedy to change me-the blood of His son Jesus. This change is continuous. Oh, I am not in despair, I am brought to tears because I realize how deeply and completely I am loved by Him! In my flaws I am loved, and He wants me to continue to come to Him so I can become who He has called me to be-it is a journey. I want to just remain in His presence because it is the safest place to be. I want to remain on the altar, making myself as a living sacrifice, so He can purify and make me look more like Him with each passing day. When God shows us who we really are and areas that He wants to refine in us, we can have one of two responses. We can deny what He has shown us and keep it moving or stop to acknowledge our brokenness and yield to being sanctified. The correct choice is obvious, but sadly it is not the one our flesh wants us to choose. Let us press to see God and as He shows us ourselves, let us make the correct choice and yield to Him transforming us.
I am often reminded that hearing God’s voice is not always convenient. I got up at 3:00 yesterday morning and it was not by choice. Initially, it was irritating because I was tired. As I laid in bed longing to go back to sleep, I began to quietly lift my heart to God and guess what? He spoke to me. I did not hear His audible voice, but in the stillness of the early morning, I had such a deep impression on my heart, and I knew it was God speaking. He provided clarity for a specific question I had been asking for many months in prayer. I was happy for the answer, but my flesh thought it came at an inconvenient time. Can you relate? Many of us pray to hear the voice of God, but we want to hear it on our terms and when we think it most appropriate. It doesn’t work like that. Hearing the voice of God is not always going to be convenient. His voice may come to convict when we are finding pleasure in doing wrong. His voice of conviction in that moment may be viewed as inconvenient because many would prefer to enjoy their sin and not have to think about how wrong it is. We may be in a season of comfort and established routine, and God’s voice comes to give us directives that disrupt our comfort. And again, our flesh may resist the inconvenience. Pray to hear God’s voice but be sure to not ignore it when it comes at a time that we deem disruptive to our flow of life. That approach can prove detrimental. It is prideful to expect God to submit to our schedule and convenience. We as the created beings should rejoice in knowing that God wants to speak to us. We must conclude that while hearing God’s voice may not always be convenient, when He speaks we should be thankful and respond in obedience, no matter how inconvenient it may seem.
Do you serve God from a place of duty or delight? When we base it on duty, we “serve” Him because we know it is what we should do, not because it is what we want to do. We pursue all the things they say a good Christian should such as read our bible, pray and do good deeds for the poor. However, we do not do these things to develop intimacy with the Father and to please Him. We do them so we can cross them off our daily checklist. When we serve Him from a place of duty, it is hard for us to receive His mercy and grace and give the same to others. We base our salvation on works and when we mess up, we sink into deep condemnation and put more merit and what we can do to keep ourselves saved. We cling tight to legalism because it feels safe and measurable. We are rigid, not much evidence of joy. We obsess about our reputation and presenting a good image of ourselves to others because we are more concerned with drawing people to ourselves instead of drawing them to Him. We base our devotion to God on an unhealthy fear instead of love. But what sweetness comes when we serve Him from a place of delight! We are keenly aware of our need for Him. We swim in the river of grace and mercy that abounds, not looking to abuse it but embracing it to pursue holiness. A holiness we know we could never achieve in our own strength. We are not ashamed to declare our love for Him with boisterous praise and surrendered lives. Our adoration for Him freely flows without the need to follow a script or a designated time. There are no boundaries to our worship. We know He has an open-door policy for us to come boldly before the throne, and we make good of it. Instead of running away when we mess up, we run to Him, quick to confess, repent and bask in His forgiveness because we understand He loves us with an everlasting love. Our time of devotion refreshes instead of leaving us dry and weighed down. We are so aware of His presence because when we delight in Him, we are always looking for Him, so we see Him in ways that others may miss. His whispers drown out the loudest voices. We will be vulnerable and share our weakness and share how God has delivered and is delivering us. We share not intending to bring attention to ourselves but to bring attention to Him so that other broken people are moved to delight in Him and find the same freedom we are experiencing. So I ask again, do you serve God from a place of duty or delight?
Psalm 16:11 NIV
You make known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand.