“24 I tell you the truth: unless a grain of wheat is planted in the ground and dies, it remains a solitary seed. But when it is planted, it produces in death a great harvest. 25 The one who loves this life will lose it, and the one who despises it in this world will have life forevermore.” John 12:24-25 The Voice
This scripture pointed out so clearly why I have to die to myself. The concept is a tough one to embrace. It boils down to what do I really want? Do I really want all the fullness that God has for me? Or am I satisfied with just a taste? His fullness requires the sacrifice of self. This helped me to understand that it’s not about me and my plan. It’s about God and His plan.
As I picture the planting of a seed, I want to be planted. I don’t want to die on the stalk and wither away, useless and wasted. I REALLY want to plant and have a shot at being part of a larger harvest. When I think about all the things in my life that I need to lay down, a few things come to mind like over-planning, over-preparing, and over-performing. These are top of mind. I have had a tendency to charge “over” the path all three ways without seeking God’s direction. Moving ahead instead of following.
Father I repent for that old pattern. I can feel it kick in. I turn to You. I want to walk in Your light. I want to understand Your ways. I want to follow Your lead. Help me relax and just walk with You. Help me keep it simple. Help me to count on You. Thank you for Your love. Thank you for making my heart sing!
“3 Wisdom is required to build a house; understanding is necessary to make it secure. 4 Knowledge is needed to furnish all the rooms and fill them with beautiful treasures.” Proverbs 24:3-4 The Voice
For me, this house is not a physical structure. This house is symbolic of relationships with people. I have many people in my life. I am to be wise with them. Be careful with people – not in a fearful way. Treat them with care. They are not disposable. I sometimes have discarded people as though they were unimportant. Regardless of what might be happening at any given moment, each person is very important to God. I am never to lose sight of that. Always seek to see them through God’s eyes. All things with all people have a specific purpose. I do not know what that purpose is. So I will continue to seek God in everything I do. Loving God first so that He can show me the way.
Father, continue to teach me your ways. Show me how and when to be Your hands and feet and speak Your word.
“12 Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. 13 Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.” Colossians 3:12-13 NIV
As I read these verses, I started to imagine putting each of these characteristics on as if they were articles of clothing. A beautiful gown of compassion with a robe or jacket of kindness over it. Gorgeous custom boots of humility. Dazzling ear rings of gentleness and a necklace of patience. Then my make-up would look flawless with a foundation of forgiveness. I really had to sit with that for a while. It sounded regal and beautiful in such a stately and timeless way. It made me think of all the money I invest in clothes, shoes, the latest face creams and moisturizers. Closets of clothes are all over my house! But God’s garments are timeless, ageless classics. They never go out of style and their beauty never fades.
Lord, help me dress in these beautiful characteristics that reflect You. Help me wear each of them daily and with joy. Thank you for teaching me a new way to dress for success!
“13 I remain confident of this: I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. 14 Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord.” Psalm 27:13-14 NIV
Wait for the Lord. What does that mean? I’m learning. I’m learning that to wait for someone, you have to be in close communication. You also have to trust their word. If I don’t ask what their plans are, I might barge ahead with my own plans. I might get in the way of the other person’s plans. It might mean that we miss our connection entirely. Sometimes I forget to pause and check in with God’s plans for me. I barge ahead without hesitation thinking I know best. Occasionally I delude myself into thinking I know a lot more than I do. I waste time and energy worrying about things He has already worked out. So waiting is an art. To wait confidently and gracefully with composure. I still struggle in this area but I am learning! Sometimes I get too wrapped up in my head and don’t rely enough on God’s voice. So I have to go back to square one and get quiet and listen.
Father God, I’m so blessed that You are always there waiting for me. You never leave without me. You never leave me stranded. Thank you Lord!
“7-8 He grants good sense to the Godly – His saints, He is their shield, protecting them and guarding their pathway. 9 He shows how to distinguish right from wrong, how to find the right decision every time.” Proverbs 2:7-9 The Living Bible
“He shows…how to find the right decision every time.” Now that is a strategic piece of knowledge. So, why do I always think I know best? Why do I invest so much time and energy trying to figure things out?
I have found that many times I fight against letting go of the helm. I want what I want when I want it. That is not an optimal place to submit to God’s will. It is the antithesis of submission. Why am I so afraid to let go? That requires an examination of my heart. If I really sit quietly soaking in God’s Word and seeking His input, He begins to reveal what might be standing in the way of totally relinquishing to Him. Sometimes it requires healing; sometimes it requires repentance; sometimes it requires deliverance. It always requires that I sit with Him. Being real and being vulnerable enough to hear His voice.
The promise is really incredible! He grants good sense to the Godly. He shows how to distinguish right from wrong. He shows us how to find the right decision every time. It doesn’t get much better than that.
Lord, I pray that I seek You for the right decision every time.
“2If you listen for Lady Wisdom, attune your ears to her, and engage your mind to understandwhat she is telling you,3 If you cry outto herfor insight and beg for understanding,4 If you sift through the clamor of everything around youto seek her like some precious prize, to search for her like buried treasure;5 Then you will grasp what it means to truly respect the Eternal, and you will have discovered the knowledge ofthe one True God.” Proverbs 2:2-5 The Voice
Today, I had a sense of being stuck. I know God is faithful to me. He is also very patient with me. I am thankful for that. I have the sense I am missing something. I cried out to God and said “What do I need to do for breakthrough?” I heard a still small voice say: “Be obedient.” So I replied, “What am I missing?” And the still small voice explained: “You are not able to sit in it. You are not fully trusting me. Wait for me, daughter.” And yes, it’s true. Sometimes I get in a hurry. I don’t leave things up to God and I take things into my own hands. I’m trying to learn to trust Him more. It takes lots of practice. Lots of prayer. But it’s so much better all the way around if I will leave things with Him.
So after reading this scripture and listening to the still small voice I prayed, “Father God, help me accept what You tell me and store Your counsel and directives deep within me. Help me listen for Lady Wisdom and tune my ears to her voice. Engage my mind to understand what she is telling me. I cry out to You for insight and understanding. Father, help me seek wisdom like a precious prize or buried treasure. Help me grasp the fullness of truly respecting You and to discover the knowledge of You, my One True God. In Jesus Name, Amen”
“Beyond all these things” (compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, patience, forgiveness)”put on love, which is the perfect bond of unity.” Colossians 3:14 NASB
Love. To love like God first loved us is a lifelong pursuit. Whenever I am feeling catty, harsh, impatient or critical, it really shifts things when I pause to think what God sees in me. And remember He loves me anyway. As I go through my day and sometimes feel like taking issue over getting the credit I think I deserve, or taking advantage of an opportunity to influence or control a situation, I have to pause and remember that God loves me so much that I do not need to try to manipulate or control to reach an outcome. It helps me to stay in that unselfish and uncontrolling place. He has a plan for me. He will guide me. God wants His saints to stand firm together. Not to ostracize or isolate each other. To be bound in unity. To stand together in His love.
Father God, help me stand firmly in unity and love.