With red puffy eyes, a 16 year old in high school boarding once pulled a chair and asked Jesus to take a seat. She locked eyes to what would be His and word by word she poured her heart out; why she had been crying and how lost she felt. She was flopping in her exams. She couldn’t feel God, her urgent calls went unanswered. The most unbearable one was His absence; He seemed farther than ever. Had she done anything wrong? It could be that Friday night prayer she missed, or the thoughts & feelings she had towards this guy she had just met. Perhaps how disobedient she had been towards her parents over the holidays, the secular songs she had listened to or the Sunday sermons she had missed. She was hopeless, yet, that very same day marked the very beginning of her ministry life. Of course, she would know that 10 years later; the beauty of His feedback then, in simple clear words was all she took home. She cried some more, only not tears of pain but joy. Her simple act of faith drew the attention of Christ himself & He came down as summoned, listened and these are the words He left behind…words she could not doubt or second guess because they hit her to the core; and because of the indescribable joy that filled her heart instantly. Words from Isiah 41:8-16
But, You O Israel, my servant
Jacob, whom I have chosen, you descendants
Of Abraham my friend,
I took you from the ends of the earth,
From its farthest corners I called you,
I said, ‘you are my servant’;
I have chosen you and have not rejected you
So do not fear, for I am with you
Do not be dismayed for I am your God
I will strengthen you and help you;
I will uphold you with my righteous right hand
All who rage against you will surely be ashamed and disgraced;
Those who oppose you will be as nothing and perish
Though you search for your enemies, you will not find them
Those who wage war against you will be as nothing at all
For I am the Lord your God, who takes hold of your right hand
And says to you, Do not fear; I will help you
Do not be afraid, O worm Jacob, O little Israel
See, I will make you into a threshing-sledge
New & sharp, with many teeth
You will thresh the mountains and crush them,
And reduce the hills to chaff
You will winnow them, and the wind will pick them up
But you will rejoice in the Lord and glory in the Holy One of Israel.
10 years later, after the many runs and detours, am hear chasing after God again. Am getting the very meaning of those words He gave me when I was young, hungry & thirsty for righteousness. I am the living proof of Mathew 5:6 ‘blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled’. But then again, how much is too much righteousness? My week (spiritually) goes something like this.
Monday – Devotion, lunch hour fellowship, meditation, witnessing, bible reading, praying throughout the day….
Tuesday – Everything done on Monday (EDM), evangelism meetings in the evening
Wednesday – EDM, Prayer meetings at church
Thursday – EDM, substitute lunch hour fellowship with campus bible study
Friday – EDM, home bible study
To clarify, this is not a self-righteous display of my Christianity, it’s an illustration that helps me approach the idea of how much is too much…in regard to walking with God and living a balanced life.
There are so many verses in the bible that tell me this is nothing close to what we are called to…and I agree. We need more.
Psalms 119:9, 11 – How can a ‘young’ man keep his way pure? By living according to your word. Verse 11, I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you….
A life of purity comes through the word of God – living it. So there’s no way I will keep sin at bay if I do not have the word of God in me. When you hide something you keep it to yourself…its hidden so no one but you knows, & when sin crawls in, you are rightly armored to fight. 66 books of the bible, hundreds of chapters, thousands of verses cannot creep into your heart through Sunday sermons. The bible, just like the speech of Jesus, is full of many parables; we need insight through fellowship, bible trainings, and devotions to get interpretation. The most amazing thing about the bible is the different revelation on the same verse; covering every season of life.
Joshua 1:8 – Do not let this book of the law depart from your mouth; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it.
Deuteronomy 6:5-9 – Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul & with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be upon you hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the door-frames of your houses and on your gates.
Am sure if I inscribe something like ‘God is good’ on my door people will think that’s nuts – well…nothings on my door, yet!
Is this easy? No. Then again, there’s the power of the Holy Spirit working in us. Sometimes I get weary and I pray for strength, but then again it’s the 10 year stretch that compels me keep to the faith, because I have tried everything else and failed. My moral gauge dropped to a whooping negative, that which I upheld the most crumbled within me & yet, I rejoice in that because I was humbled to seek Christ for righteousness. I know that one day outside His presence drains my spirit, gets me weaker and vulnerable to be preyed on by the enemy. So I keep fighting to stay on course, to loose an extra hour of sleep and draw closer to God. Every day He draws me to the purpose of this beautiful creation story – before I was born He knew me, and I don’t have to wander in the wilderness for 40 years. One truth that sort of scares me is when I pass through paved roads that lead to luxury homes; I only see stones, light, gardens and I know in my heart I can certainly do without them. I want nothing more than Christ; & the burden in my heart, to secure the homeless stands in the way of everything flashy. Hold that! A sermon I heard today could easily dispute my thoughts; when i have the resources to do what i can, that’s the only time I can claim mother Theresa, and I agree. Unless I remain in Christ any good thought I have is worthless, because it springs from pride/self-righteousness – to bring glory to myself and not Christ.
Isiah 64:6 – …all our righteous acts (outside Christ) are like filthy rags. We all shrivel up like a leaf, and like the wind our sins sweep us away.
Where’s the balance?
(A work in progress)
Family is my first ministry…if they are unhappy, my spiritual life cannot thrive. Am learning to consistently prioritize their needs – my presence, food I have personally prepared and any other activity that makes me available to them.
There’s a lot that can be done in 24hours, if I plan for it, in that my timelines don’t crush on each other causing a state of haste around me.
I have recently scraped off movies as my fun source, am easily controlled by them so if I can do without them the better and guess what, I can. I love to exercise, read blogs, be with friends and family….along the way I will find more that will fill my tank.
Listen to my body when am too engaged, listening to others, especially E. Sometimes it’s not the easiest thing to listen when I feel am right, but am learning.
As long as He won’t ask me away, I will keep seeking Him…and yes He is faithful, for He shall be found.