God made us to be productive. Idleness is not becoming for a believer. Being idle opens the door for the enemy; our thoughts wonder, and our guards are let down. Idleness leads to us being self-centered, it hinders our ability to serve others, and can rob us of our joy. Not that we should not rest, rest is in order, but we often confuse rest with being idle. There is a significant contrast between the two. Rest is sweeter when preceded by a hard day of work. We rest so it can refuel us after working. However, we are idle because we refuse to work and would prefer to be lazy. Proverbs 21:25 issues a warning to those who are lazy, it says, “despite their desires, the lazy will come to ruin, for their hands refuse to work.” God made us with purpose, and He intends for us to daily pursue that purpose. We must get instructions from the Lord for what our day should look like. Just like idleness is not synonymous with rest, the same is true with business and productivity. We can be busy doing a lot of things, but if it is not what God instructs us to do, then we have not been productive. Our productivity is determined by our obedience to God. It should not be determined by how many items we have checked off OUR to do list. I pray we will resist the temptation to be idle and instead pursue being productive according to God’s standards.
God recently showed me myself as I was typing an email to a friend expressing my frustration with my children. I told her we have chore charts and expectations are clearly communicated, yet some of them seem to forget these instructions. In my frustration I had become a full-blown nag, reminding them in not very pleasant ways that they were not doing what I required of them. I have told them on more than one occasion, “I just don’t understand why you can’t consistently do what I require of you?” As I was typing this venting email to my friend, I felt a familiar nudge. It was the Father taking me to school once again. At the moment, I felt Him saying that I also have those tendencies. I know what His expectations are, they are there for me in the word and He is constantly reminding me, but sometimes I choose not to do what He expects of me. I may leave jobs unfinished because I allow myself to become idle and prioritize incorrectly. I may respond in anger with those I love because I chose to walk by the flesh and not the spirit. Sigh. I closed my eyes and prayed. I asked the Father to forgive me. I asked Him to help both the children and me to follow the instructions we know we should. This was yet another reminder of my need to give and receive grace. Yes, I will hold my children accountable for not doing what they should, just as the Father holds me accountable for my disobedience. However, in the process I will aim to extend grace and seek redemption. Psalm 86:15 proves to be true, “But you, O Lord, are a God of compassion and mercy, slow to get angry and filled with unfailing love and faithfulness.” It is humbling when God shows you yourself, but I am so grateful for His patience with me and I pray to extend that same patience to others.
t is easy to forget that this is not home, this is not the end of the story. Colossians 3:1-2 reminds me I am to set my heart and mind on things above, not on earthly things. How do I apply what appears to be such a lofty verse? I live here on earth and have to face the actual struggles that come along with this reality. Setting my heart and mind on things above is a daily decision. It does not mean I ignore the realities here on earth, but my heart and attention are more tuned in to the things above, consequently affecting how I respond to what happens here on earth. If I set my heart and mind on things above, that means I am not moved by what I see. I do not allow what I see to dictate my actions and emotions. Instead, I filter everything here on earth through heaven’s reality and what God has said about it. Setting my heart and mind on things above keeps me in a place of peace. Setting my heart and mind on things above means I occupy my mind with God’s Kingdom and not culture. I look for ways to be a light, even when the dark is overwhelming. I don’t dim my light to fit in with the dark. With my mind set on things above, I remember God has given me a task to shine on and all for His glory! Setting my heart and mind on things above demand I break up with comfort and embrace the cross. This means I speak with grace what heaven says about controversial topics and not shy away from truth because of the inevitable persecution that will come. Setting my heart and mind on things above means I pursue God’s purpose, not my own, while keeping a steady gaze on the greater city that is awaiting me. Take inventory of your recent actions and thoughts and they will reveal where you have set your heart and mind, whether it is on things above or worldly things.
I was on a roll yesterday displaying how highly I thought of myself. At the moment it felt good, and it satisfied my flesh. I wanted to have the upper hand; I wanted to appear as if I had it all together and had all the answers. But shortly after, conviction set it. God revealed that it was pride that motivated my words and actions. Praise God for His conviction, it reminds me I am His. Truly, He disciplines those He loves. As God showed me myself, it grieved me and I repented… AGAIN! I told Him I wanted to side with heaven concerning the sin of pride. I don’t want to keep it as a treasure. I want to have heaven’s perspective about pride and have a great disdain for it. I don’t want to justify my pride; I want to confess it before the only one that can deliver me from it. It is a process but one that I intend to yield to because I know that God’s word is true, He does “resist the proud but give grace to the humble” (James 4:6). And oh, how I desperately need grace! How about you? Perhaps your area of struggle is not the same as mine, but are you willing to side with heaven concerning your sin? Have you taken on heaven’s perspective or are you busy petting and justifying your sins? God’s grace is there to bring deliverance, but we must acknowledge our sin and see it the same way He does. Let us embrace walking in humility and side with heaven’s perspective of sin and watch God work in our hearts!
Many people are extremely worried right now because of the chaos that is going on in the world. However, it is in times like these where I am reminded of the many benefits of serving God. I can say with confidence that my heart is at peace because I rest in knowing that KING JESUS is still on the throne! “When the world around me is sinking sand on Christ the solid rock I stand,” rings true in this season. The surrounding chaos has made me even more aware of God’s peace. The darkness makes me more aware of the light. In John 14:27 Jesus says, “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” What a soothing balm for such chaotic times. As believers, we should cling and live in the reality of Jesus’ words. As we engage others in conversation, I pray we will not come into agreement with anxiousness but we will seize the many opportunities to share Jesus-the Prince of Peace with others. May God help us not to fumble and miss the harvest of worried souls. What an awesome opportunity for the bride of Christ to shine. The hour is dark, so shine on church, shine on!
“I can’t believe all this is going on,” seems to be a popular phrase these days. But God’s response to the shock of the people is, “Why are you so surprised, what did you expect?” Many have rejected God as king and we have chosen other kings; and we are now experiencing the fruit of our allegiance. We have chosen greed, lust, vanity, worldly success and principles, over a holy non-compromising God. These things have become an idol for us, and we have sacrificed our allegiance to God on their altars. So yes, we should believe what is going on. It should not be a surprise to us. When we reject God as king, chaos is inevitable! God wants to be there for us, but if we have uninvited him from being king of our lives, then we should expect a big mess like we have now! What is the remedy to this mess we are in? Contrary to popular beliefs, they will not find the remedy in government, a vaccine, money, or legislation that pushes for equality for all. While these things may appear good on the surface, they don’t address the posture of our hearts. The remedy is repentance. Having a contrite heart and owning our sin is the best place to start. We can’t cry out to God to fix the mess we made while still holding on to our idols. We must come before him broken and weeping. We must confess the sins of the nation, the compromise in the church and in our own life. Our hearts have been fickle, yet He has been faithful and constant. I pray that we will do more than just rehearse 2 Chronicles 7:14 because we know it is the right verse to quote during a time like this. I pray that we will implement this verse in our corporate and private times of worship.