Why do I continually teeter on the edge of following God whole-heartedly and being aware I’m totally self-seeking? I’m 64. Have I progressed at all? Am I just a weak, flabby believer? Have I deceived myself and fallen for the easy life, comfort, warmth, never pushing myself too hard? Am I real with others? Am I just looking for the way of lest resistance? I say I want to follow Jesus, that I am His follower but am I dying to self? Jesus said the one who comes after Him must deny themselves take up their cross and follow Him. The line between following Him in self-denial and living to enjoy all He has given becomes blurred.
His word says He gives us all things richly for us to enjoy. Everything is a gift from Him. But my flesh so easily starts looking to the gifts more than the Giver. The Giver is the one who is the source of my joy, peace, and life. The gifts are to point me to Him. The pull to self-exaltation is always out there, luring me away from worship of God alone. Why else would I continually battle jealousy, pride, and comparison? My flesh looks for recognition and honor. My spirit longs to honor my Lord. I know I belong to Jesus. He is my Lord and my Savior. But will I enter heaven as if by fire, with all my works burning up? Will I have any gold or silver to offer to Him? Have I had it too easy? Is that why my flesh so easily falls back into floating along? Do I truly love people? Loving others is everything. That is the whole law summed up. Love your neighbor as yourself. Do I even know how to love?
Sometimes I feel trapped in my own mind. Trapped in seeking ease and comfort. My brothers and sisters around the world suffer just for believing. They have no choice. It’s so easy to make excuses for myself. It’s so easy to give myself a pass. But the only true evaluation is what my Lord thinks. Am I living in obedience to Him? Am I listening to His voice and following my Shepherd? What others do or don’t do has no bearing on me. My call is to listen to and obey His call on my life. Am I listening and following or am I deciding what I think should be His will for me? Am I choosing the way I want to go or following Him in faith? He will call me beyond myself. He will call me to do what I can’t do apart from Him. He will call me to die to self-exaltation, self-protection, and pride. He will call me to lay down my life for others.
Jesus, I want to be willing. I want to hear you. I believe in you with all my heart. I want to live for you with all my being. I want to be willing to die to self-protection, comfort, and the easy way. Help me Jesus. Please, help me abide in you. Help me remain in you because that is the only way to bear fruit. I don’t want to waste the time you’ve given me or whatever time I have left. I don’t want to leave this earth in regret. Please, Lord, take my strengths which are few, my weaknesses which are many, my gifts, talents, experiences, hopes, dreams, my life, my all. Take me and use my life for your glory. Glorify your name in me Father. Let your strength be made perfect in my weakness.
Luke 9:23; I Timothy 6:17; James 1:17; Romans 10:9; 1 Corinthians 3:15; Mark 12:29-31; John 15:13; John 10:27; John 15:4; 2 Corinthians 12:9
“You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; you anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.” Psalm 23:5
Who are my enemies?
I don’t have the kind of enemies King David faced every day. I don’t go into physical battle to fight other nations. I doubt my son will ever wage war against me (as David’s son did). But I do have enemies. My biggest enemy is the enemy we all have, Satan. Our accuser, the father of lies, the evil one. He’s the one who wants to steal from us, kill us and destroy us. I also face the enemies in my own heart. My pride, selfishness, apathy, jealousy, self-protective bent, and desire for comfort to name a few.
Sometimes when I am struggling with these “enemies”, I have a hard time writing or sharing spiritual truth. I find it difficult to write out scriptural insights because my enemies accuse me and tell me I’m not worthy. As I was reading Psalm 23:5 one morning, it struck me that God wants to prepare a table for me in the presence of my enemies. When I come to Him in the morning to read the Bible, pray and write my thoughts, He has promised to spread a table before me, to give me truth and insight into His word even in the presence of my enemies of pride, selfishness and sin. Even in the presence of the accuser, the devil. When I come to Him with an open heart and mind confessing my sin and seeking Him, He will give me truth. He will feed my soul with a banquet spread out on the table. I can ignore the enemies who mock me and jeer at me. They are defeated. Jesus has made a spectacle of them.
He has won the victory!
When I tremble and lay down my sword in the presence of my enemies, I believe a lie.
I am letting my enemies deceive me by convincing me I’m defeated. They rejoice when I let their accusations keep me from seeking my Lord and from acting on His truth. His truth stands no matter how I “feel”. Yes, I’m an imperfect vessel but God still chooses to use me as He has used sinners through the ages. He sees me through the shed blood of Jesus Christ. My faith is in Him and not in my own abilities. I can do nothing apart from Him.
So, I’ll seek Him and I’ll search the Scriptures and I’ll write about His truth even when my enemies mock me. He is my strength and shield. My ever present help in time of trouble.
Originally published at Internet Cafe Devotions
When I was growing up, we mainly ate canned vegetables and lots of fried food. So, there were a lot of foods I firmly believed I did not like. Through the years I have been pleasantly surprised to find out I liked some foods I thought I hated. Fresh baby spinach cannot really compare to canned spinach (yuck!) So how did I find out that I really did like these foods? I took a taste. I took a taste of the real, fresh item not something processed or canned. And I discovered some wonderful foods that are so much better than some of the things I normally eat. I have also felt sad that I wasted so many years I could have been enjoying these foods!
Psalm 34:8 says, “Taste and see that the LORD is good; blessed is the man who takes refuge in him.”
How many of us have preconceived ideas about God from childhood or from listening to others? Some have the idea God is distant, uncaring, vengeful, or like an angry earthly father. Because of these ideas, some of us refuse to even consider God. Others have decided he does not exist. Maybe because they think if they believed he would take all the fun out of their lives or maybe they are afraid to be disappointed. God says, “Take a taste.” Try me. Some may say they did try but God let them down. But it may be like when I tried canned spinach instead of the real thing. There is no comparison. If we reach out to an idea of God that someone else has told us about or to an idea of God that we ourselves have created, then we will probably be disappointed. But if we reach out to the true, living, Holy God, we will find that he is good. So, how do I find the true God? We start by going to his Holy Word, the truth he has revealed to us. We read it for ourselves not just read what someone said about it. And as we read, we ask God with an open heart and an open mind to reveal himself to us. We also need to be willing to hear, willing to find him. In Jeremiah 29:13, God says, “You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.” In Hebrews 11:6, it is written, “And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.” God knows our hearts. He knows when we are truly seeking him and he will answer. Sometimes, we come to him seeking something we want but not really caring about him. But God wants us to seek him first. (Matthew 6:33)
Seek God. Take a taste. He is so wonderful! He gives peace, comfort, hope and joy. Taste and see that God is truth. He is light. He has revealed himself to us through Jesus Christ. That is how much he loves us! Seek who God really is as shown in his written word. May we look into his word for ourselves to find truth. We will each answer for ourselves when we face God, not someone else, so shouldn’t we find out for ourselves what is true? I don’t want my future to depend on what someone else said or on what I imagined. I want to find it from the source. I will seek God, I will study his written word and I will know he is good.
Father, thank you that you allow us to know you! Thank you for revealing yourself to us through your written word. Please help us to seek you with our whole hearts. Help us to seek you first. You are so good LORD! We praise you and adore you!
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