Every morning when I wake and clear the cobwebs from my head, and I start my prayer and study I never really know where I am going to start or where I might end. Every morning there is a bit of anxiety that comes with this uncertainty. I think more so since I have been posting to this blog. This morning the Holy Spirit reminded me that seeking Christ Jesus MUST be my priority. Nothing else will fit together if that is not first.
After my morning prayers just thanking God for another morning the first place I went was ‘Utmost for His Highest’ by Oswald Chambers. The opening paragraph hit me.
“A Christian worker’s greatest need is a readiness to face Jesus Christ at any and every turn. This is not easy, no matter what our experience has been. This battle is not against sin, difficulties, or circumstances, but against being so absorbed in our service to Jesus Christ that we are not ready to face Jesus Himself at every turn. The greatest need is not facing our beliefs or doctrines, or even facing the question of whether or not we are of any use to Him, but the need is to face Him.”
As I read this passage, I had to ask myself which one am I? Am I so caught up in the work that I am not ready for Jesus? Or am I placing my focus on Jesus and letting the work unfold on its own. It is so easy for me to question, am I doing enough or am I doing the right thing? In fact, I should focus on Jesus and His return.
The referenced verse for the Chambers devotional was Luke 12:40 so I went there and read it.
40 You also must be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect.” Luke 12:40 (ESV)
That rekindled those questions and more prayer. I went on to read Luke 12:35-38
35 “Stay dressed for action and keep your lamps burning, 36 and be like men who are waiting for their master to come home from the wedding feast, so that they may open the door to him at once when he comes and knocks. 37 Blessed are those servants whom the master finds awake when he comes. Truly, I say to you, he will dress himself for service and have them recline at table, and he will come and serve them. 38 If he comes in the second watch, or in the third, and finds them awake, blessed are those servants! Luke 12:35-38 (ESV)
These are such encouraging words. All I could think of as I read them is my need to be always prepared for Jesus soon return. To be prepared my lamp must be full and my wick trimmed, like the maidens at the wedding who did get let in. I must be clothed and ready to go when He comes. My source for all these things? Being clothed in God’s Word.
I thought and prayed about this passage, and I thought of the phrase “seeking God with all my heart.” I knew there was a scripture, but I could not remember it, so I googled it, and the search took me to Jeremiah 29:11-14
11 For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. 12 Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will hear you. 13 You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart. 14 I will be found by you, declares the Lord, and I will restore your fortunes and gather you from all the nations and all the places where I have driven you, declares the Lord, and I will bring you back to the place from which I sent you into exile. Jeremiah 29:11-14 (ESV)
When I look at this passage, I do not see a punch list of tasks but a need to call to the Lord and seek him with all my heart. He has plans for me. I do not need to hunt for them. I do not need to fill my plate with tasks or goals; I need to fill my plate with seeking the Lord first.
I am reminded of a favorite passage in Ephesians. This passage reminds me that God’s plans are not a series of hoops to jump through. A series of tasks that I must complete begrudgingly, but a gift rich in grace and mercy.
Ephesians 2:4-10 (ESV) 4 But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, 5 even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved— 6 and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, 7 so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. 8 For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, 9 not a result of works, so that no one may boast. 10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.
He saved me when I was dead in my trespasses. He loved me in spite of that, and He saved me by His grace through faith. All of this was a gift; one I did not earn. I am His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for works He has prepared for me. If I will seek Him first and listen to His voice, He will make the path clear for me.
I read the remainder of Ephesians 2 and down through Paul’s Prayer for Spiritual Strength ending in verse 21. God has revealed so much to us. His love is just hard for me to get my head around some days. Ephesians 3:14-21 fills me with joy and creates in me a hunger to grow closer to him.
14 For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, 15 from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named, 16 that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being, 17 so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith—that you, being rooted and grounded in love, 18 may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, 19 and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.
20 Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, 21 to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen. Ephesians 3:14-21 (ESV)
I am so thankful for His Word and the gifts of prayer and repentance so that I might draw closer to Him. His love for me is overpowering, and my hunger for knowing Him is more than I can explain.
I thought of Psalm 1. My friend and brother in Christ Lee taught on Psalm 1 last Saturday. This morning I am moved by verse 3.
3 He is like a tree
planted by streams of water
that yields its fruit in its season,
and its leaf does not wither.
In all that he does, he prospers. Psalms 1:3 (ESV)
I pray that I might live my life like the Tree the Psalmist speaks of in this verse. I pray that I might be nourished by God’s Word like the tree is nourished by the stream and I pray that my fruit might be pleasing to my Heavenly Father.
I am so thankful for Gods discipline. I am filled with joy that He will remind me of where my focus should be. It is so easy for me to drift into a focus on the task and to complete it that I can lose sight of who directed me in the first place.
I thank God for opening my heart and mind that I might listen and obey and focus on His desires over my own.
Father, thank you for all you do in my life and around me. Thank You for the correction when I need it and the Love you share when I do not deserve it.
Father, I pray for strength to be a strong tree planted in the water yielding good fruit in the tasks you have laid out for me.
Help me Father keep my focus on you and trust in you to lead me that I might follow in what you have chosen for me.
Help me to seek you first and trust in you for all the rest.
In Jesus name, I pray, Amen.