A new year sets in, and I find myself doing the same thing I do every year – setting personal goals and making lists of things to finally get done. Each year the list is similar – sometimes more hefty than others, but always leaning towars over doing it – finish that entire list of Christian books I have not yet gotten to, read through the Bible twice this year, memorize a book of the Bible, write in my journal daily, pray three times a day, etc. Somewhere in my planning something is lost, and even as I begin implementing my well-thought out plans, I know deep down they have the scent of failure. I know this because I have done this before. Some say “it is better to try and fail than fail to try”, and so I keep planning.
In the past when I have failedto consistently implement these plans, I tell myself – if I could only devote all my time to reading the scripture, praying, memorzing, meditating, THEN I would be changed. THEN I would be made new in rapid fashion – metamorphosizing into the Christian wife, mother and woman I want to be. I just need more time, less distraction, less responsibilities.
“Happy is the land whose king is a nobleman and whose leaders feast only to gain strength for their work, not to get drunk.” ~Ecclesiastes 10:17
This type of thinking – the one that suggests a life surrounded by Godly things will make me more Godly, is not biblical at all. When I yearn for seclusion with God, I am a leader choosing to get drunk. I want a full meal every time – the cups overflowing with the fruit of the true Vine – but so much knowledge only gets me lazy and intoxicated with God. It does not make disciples. It does not fish for men. It does not make new. I am comfortable and know the right answers, but I am unchanged. Instead, I need to be a leader who eats just enough for the battle – who nourishes thier soul long enough to work another day. I need to soak in only that which can be digested in one sitting – that which fills the inner parts of my body with spiritual vitamins of joy, peace, and encouragement. Rather than trying to do it all – maybe a piece at a time is a better approach? I also need to push myself away from the table – to take on the rest of my day – not leaving God behind, but bringing Him with me. I can’t spend my time lying down drunk on the knowledge and love of God and not share it with others. Those responsibilites, challenges and duties of the day-to-day life that at times I am so eager to shed in order to be able to focus more on God are not obstacles! You see, they are not a distraction from God, but an opportunity He has given me to make me grow, to reach others for Christ, to be a light in this dark world!
So I am going to set aside some of my godly ambitions this year. Don’t get me wrong – it is important to read your Bible! It is important to pray regularly! Scripture memorization can be life that sustains you! But setting human goals to accomplish all of this makes it duty, not joy. Makes it purpose, not pleasure. Makes it my work, not God’s. At the end of a year based on those ambitions (my own ambitions), I might be tired, weak, and unchanged. However, at the end of a year of tasteful bites that I have savored, God may have developed my taste buds. He may change me in a way that makes no other meal satisfy than one given by Him alone. And THAT is what I yearn for. To be completely changed – made new through the power of Christ, and not by my own strength.
Oh Lord, develop my tastebuds for you so that only your word can satisfy. Teach my muscles to move only through your strength and my heart to be driven by your will and compassion. ~ Karen