“You’re blessed when you get your inside world-your mind and heart-put right. Then you can see God in the outside world…persecution drives you even deeper into God’s kingdom…If you lose your saltiness, how will people taste godliness?…be generous with your lives…live generously...love your enemies. Let them bring out the best in you…Live out your God created identity. Live generously and graciously toward others, the way God lives toward you…(when you pray)be there as simply and honestly as you an manage…This is your Father you are dealing with…not be so preoccupied with getting, so you can respond to God’s giving…Steep your life in God-reality, God-initiative, God-provisions. Don’t worry about missing out. You’ll find all your everyday human concerns will be met…The way to life – to God – is vigorous and requires total attention…What is required is serious obedience – doing what my Father wills…Are you ready to rough it? First things first. Your business is life, not death. Follow me. Pursue life…Become what you believe…Go to the lost, confused people right here in the neighborhood…Touch the untouchables…you have been treated generously, so live generously…You are the equipment, and all you need to keep that going is three meals a day. Travel light…If you don’t go all the way with me, through thick and thin, you don’t deserve me. If your first concern is to look after yourself, you’ll never find yourself. But if you forget about yourself and look to me, you’ll find both yourself and me…This is a large work I’ve called you into, but don’t be overwhelmed by it. It’s best to start small…You won’t lose out on a thing…Learn the unforced rhythms of grace…” (Matthew 5 – 11 various, MSG)
I have recently decided to read through the Gospels in the Message. It is amazing how God’s Word can just jump off the page at you anew! The scriptures above are recorded in my journal because they are a sword to my soul and a breath for my life.
First, to live generously. I have found that I have a hard time doing this. I don’t know if it’s from not growing up with much and feeling like I need to save and secure all that we do have or if it’s driven purely by selfishness. Nevertheless, it is an area in which I need healing and work. It is always easier to “share” when I remain eternally focused and deposit my treasures in heaven instead of clinging to the ones here that will not last. God has been so very generous in His love, grace, gifts, and provisions. As His child all I have is His and all that is His was meant to be given. I pray that God will not always have to pry my heart and hand open to be generous.
Second, to “steep my life in God”. I just love the way that sounds…imagine how it will feel to live it! Here are some definitions of “steep”: to ascend; to soak in water as to soften or cleanse; to immerse in or saturate…with some pervading, absorbing influence; greatly exceeding bounds of reason or moderation; devote fully to. Now, imagine those words describing your life for Christ. How would your life look if it “exceeded bounds of reason or moderation”? How generous would your life be? I can only dream and hope and aspire and press on for the better way. A way that will find me studying God’s Word more hours than I watch tv or waste time surfing the net. A way that will find me reaching out more than I stay in. A way that will find me praising Him more than questioning Him. A way that will find me bold and courageous rather than timid and stagnant. A way that will find me reaching for His Higher Ways rather than just having mine.
Third, God’s Way is serious and requires vigorous attention and action! I can’t just sit in my house, make my life nice looking, and call it a day. There is much to be said about making a house a home and a place of refuge for your family and others; there is also much to be said about opening my door and seeking what God has for me “outside”. I’ll be honest, this one is extremely hard for me. To think, I was once the teen who couldn’t stand when Mom said we were just staying home for the day; now I’m that mom. Well, to a certain degree I suppose. When we’re going to a movie or doing something fun as a family, I’m usually up for that, but when a new family moves in and all it would take is a stroll down the street to say “Hi”, I find a schedule that just happens to be too busy. It comes from a timid feeling and a fear that I will be bothering them…and I don’t like rejection. Jesus has so much work to do for me to be like Him in that way. Nevertheless, time ticks on and God’s love is waiting to be shared. Someday, hopefully soon, my obedience and belief in God is going to move my hands and feet out the door!
Next, there is much to get overwhelmed about standing side by side with the Holy Creator and Savior of the world. So, how do we stand? Well, His grace beckons us and gives us strength to. Jesus’ yoke is truly light compared to the world’s demands on us. The world tells us to “live” our life, the best we can with what we have – until we die; God encourages and equips us to live the life He dreams for us right into our new life in Him. When I have a hard day with the demands of being a woman, wife, mother, and child of God, I can turn on the tv and pretend for awhile that my life isn’t real while I watch the lives of “friends” living in NY or of a family living right beside their in-laws or of professionals using science to solve the latest crime. At the time it’s a great escape. After the tv and lights have been turned off, though, my burdens are still there because I haven’t taken them to the One who will make them light. Instead, I’ve sat down for a bit, and thinking the load was gone, tried to get up and go again – only to find out I had just been sitting.
So where do we find this grace and strength? In His Word, in relationship and communication with Him, in relationship and communication with other brothers and sisters in Christ, in living everyday in our belief in Him – take Him at His Word!
David Crowder sang it well, in relation to us living for His glory,
Everything will change,
Things will never be the same,
We will never be the same.
And after tasting the love that God has for me, I will never be the same! Nor do I want to be.