Commit your work to the LORD, and your plans will be established. -Proverbs 16:3
Trust in the LORD with all your heart,
and do not lean on your own understanding.
In all your ways acknowledge him,
and he will make straight your paths.-Proverbs 3:5-6
I have a lot of what I call “high school verses,” and these are a couple of them. Sometimes my perception is that people quote Proverbs when they want to sound spiritual and wise, which I guess has kind of made them lose their depth to me. Anyway, I call these high school verses because these are things I heard over and over in high school, along with others like, “the violent will take it [the kingdom of heaven] by force” and “‘I know the plans I have for you,’ says the LORD.” Verses that I have a hard time seeing the real meaning because they were so automatic.
But I feel like slowly but surely, God is showing me the power of His word, and that none of it is shallow, despite my perception.
This morning I woke up energized, even though I had only gotten seven hours of sleep and it was 5:25 A.M when I got up. I sat there for a second, because I didn’t really want to go back to sleep, which is a very strange sensation for me (although I can’t sleep past 7, but anyway.) I sat there and tried to evaluate what was running through my head. Nothing was. I had simply woken up, and I wasn’t grumpy or agitated or stressed, for a second I wondered why. Then I remembered last night when three of my friends and I prayed together, for each other. I asked that they pray for my new job situation and the rest of the school semester.
For those who don’t know, I recently got a job at Starbucks, and I begin next Wednesday. I will be working until almost midnight that night, and then I have to be at class at 8 AM on Thursday. Now, until now, I have flipped about that. I laugh about it. It’s the psycho, I-know-I-can-do-it-but-it’s-not-going-to-feel-good-and-I-am-probably-going-to-lose-it kind of laugh. But this morning I don’t feel that way. Why? I believe simply because prayer worked. My friends prayed that God would give me His peace. And I feel like I have it right now. And it’s a fight to keep it, which finally leads me to the core of what I am wanting to say.
Lately I have realized (rather, been shown) that we have a lot of responsibility as God’s people, as His church. Now that’s an ugly word, but it’s a true statement. The example that sticks out to me is the reading of God’s word. Now, it’s not hard to read it without getting your mind active and tuned in to what God is saying in His word. That’s exactly the struggle. Anyone can make a little time to get in God’s word. But it takes a little more, dare I say effort to hear what God is trying to say to us. But that’s exactly what God wants us to do, I believe. His word transforms and changes us, and it can only do that by penetrating our hearts. The Bible is at it’s most powerful when we allow the Holy Spirit to open our eyes and ears to see and hear what it’s saying. Otherwise (and I’m going to be blunt and probably sound like a heathen here,) the reading of God’s word is boring, dull, and honestly a bit discouraging.
I was talking to a good friend recently, and stated my frustration that I am so inconsistent with being Jesus to people. And the advice she gave me is something that I aim to never forget:
Well, while we do not focus on the things we need to “do” to be loved (He already loves us more than we will ever know) we do need to focus on some things to “do” if we want to have that abundance to spill over to others (i.e. reading the Word and praying, seeking the Spirit)
I can’t even say that I am 100% consistent though so don’t worry- just strive to keep going.
And my friend, you worded that perfectly. I don’t know if I will ever hear such good advice again.
Something that has ALWAYS been a struggle for me is finding that reeeeeeeally happy medium between religion and grace, where I don’t read the Word or pray because I HAVE to, or don’t completely neglect them (which is what I tend to do more often) because I DON’T have to do them to be loved. I want to be in that perfect place I call responsive: doing it because I see what it does in my own life as well as the lives of those around me. When I begin to see the Word transform my own heart, and I see God’s love pouring out from me onto others, and I see the way prayer changes situations, then I am likely to continue them.
Father, show me and show Your Church the power of Your Word in the light of the power of Your love. Show us that while we don’t have to read Your word or pray in order to be loved, it is actually for our own good, and because You love us, You give us those tools. Help us not to ‘do to be,’ but show us who we are in Christ that inspires and motivates us to do the work of Your Kingdom. Thank You for Your grace and patience! In Jesus’ name, amen.