Thursday, October 16, 2014

In order, to love Him more

Often I have an idea of what I want to write about and know the title before I begin, but not so this time.  I've really been challenged to move up with my relationship with Christ, my husband, my family, and my friends.  I was extremely overwhelmed with feeling like a slug a few weeks ago because I was letting selfishness and truly idleness get between me and my husband which outflows into every other area of my life.  I was keeping up daily Bible time, but some days it was simply Bible time.  I mentioned a week or so ago about a hinge decision that I wanted to make, but follow-through wasn't happening.  It's hard to follow through when you never really start.
I went to a women's conference with my church this last weekend and my heart was pretty convicted about things that I need to get straightened out in my life in order of 1. God 2. marriage 3. self 4. family 5. ministry 6. friendships 7. others.  Yes, I'm failing to some extent in every area of my life ... so I was thinking maybe I need to lay down ministry things for a while until I've worked the rest out.  UH NO!  Actually Holy Spirit was gentle with me and spoke to my heart, "If everyone in ministry laid down ministry while they worked out their issues, no one would be left to minister."  OK.  So I as usual began to mentally come up with how to resolve everything.  A scurry of thoughts came to me and beautiful, Kristi Estrada, shared a little thing that she was frustrated about and as she was, I don't remember if questioning God or frustrated or what and God gently told her that He was not working on that area in her yet.  It was like an epiphany!  No, I realize that I know this deep down, but I cannot fix everything at once.  Like when the Israelites were going into the promised land and little by little they took ground.  It wasn't like Desert ---- Promised Land, BOOM!  No worries!  One thing at a time. Actually solving some things help with others and sometimes eliminates a need to fix other things. 
A house needs a foundation.  A good one.  Let me make sure my foundation is right - ON CHRIST THE SOLID ROCK I STAND.  Okay!  Well since salvation is worked out daily, this is an ongoing process so now I keep this going and because of my love for God, I work on my marriage and my love for my husband is an image of Christ's love for the church.  Actually backward, my marriage should be in the image of Christ's love for the church, because that is perfect and ours is not.  A healthy marriage will help me with self image.  My husband is way more kind to me than I am to myself.  I included self separate from marriage and not because I believe that we are separate, we are one.  I included it because my husband cannot make me eat right and exercise and like who I am and what I look like.  I'm not talking Jezebel adornment, but out of love for those around me, I need to shower and dress appropriately.
So if I am self-confident (not prideful or separate from, or non-reliant on God), have a healthy marriage and a daily relationship with God, the overflow will affect my family.  My children will benefit!  If I have a strong family, my ministry will be more effective, my friendships will be stronger and even beyond that, my witness will be more effective.  To clarify, I am not a paid minister.  I have some ministries that I'm involved in or lead, but you don't have to lead anything to have a ministry.
I ask that readers not pick apart and analyze the order in which I listed.  This isn't some formula for everyone and I likely will not have to systematically go through each step each time I fail in an area, but I do know that if I'm faltering in #1, I am very weak in the rest of these things.  That to me is a non-negotiable number 1.  Really, marriage is a non-negotiable #2.  The rest are sometimes dynamic, they overlap and change order.  I haven't always gotten 1 and 2 right. 
Another aspect of having the foundation in Christ is Holy Spirit.  I Corinthians 3:16 says, "Do you not know that you are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in you?" ESV  Father.  Son.  Holy Spirit.  Having one is having all.  If we pay attention, Holy Spirit will highlight areas that we need to work on.  Recognizing that urging or knowing the right thing to do is not hard, but desiring to follow it is.  I KNOW that sometimes I am sensing the Holy Spirit's direction, but I don't want to obey, so I shove it aside and do something else.  Even in my darkest years of rebellion, I knew when I was doing wrong and made a choice to do wrong.
So now I look upon my life and recognize that I, in my own power am not able to live even remotely an exemplary life.  I can, however, work out my salvation daily and follow His Spirit even when I don't want to.  Do I stop and pray every moment before I do anything?  No.  Do I pray without ceasing?  Sometimes my days are a constant prayer, others not.  Do I pause and pray when I don't know what to do next?  Often.  Do I pray when I'm desperate?  Pretty much!  I am more dependent in desperation than in prosperity and I'm sure many people would say the same.  I'm really striving to live by the Spirit and live in an attitude of prayer.  I'm learning that sometimes non-action is the correct action.  There are times where I'm desperately asking for what I should do and I'm hearing NOTHING!  Well, sometimes I just need to understand that, no action is exactly why I'm not hearing anything when I ask what I need to DO. 
Let us strive to know the Voice of Truth so that we know when to respond rightly.  The enemy is tricky and would love for us to say, "no," to God's voice.  The enemy would love to have us think that we are obeying by changing a few words or getting us to argue or fight about trivial things with others who are Christians.  The best way of knowing the voice of Truth is to read the Bible for ourselves.  When we know the real deal, we will be able to recognize the imitation.

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