Life has become very busy here! Often in the States we think of busyness as a good thing; and it can be to a point, but I also think Satan loves to use excessive busyness to distract us from real intimacy with Jesus. I am sorry to say that this tactic has worked so often in my life (even for years at a time), and it still catches me off guard. As I looked back on the the past week or two I realized I have fallen for this again. I’ve been busy from morning to late evening almost every day, and although I still set aside time for devotions, it was shorter and more rushed, and I was often distracted thinking about all I needed to do that day. And, during this time my annoying flesh grabbed at the opportunity. Small things that had mildly bothered me before now seemed to be all I could see, and unfortunately I saw them through my eyes rather than God’s. As my heart began to focus on them, and my words began to reflect my heart, I was reminded again of who I am apart from Christ. It seems that every time I begin to wander from that place of fellowship with God I experience again the truth that abiding in Him is essential if we desire true righteousness or works that have eternal impact to flow from our lives.
So, over and over God has had to quietly remind me not to glory in ministry or allow myself to be consumed or distracted by it. What truly blesses Him is for us to understand and know Him, and it is this relationship that He wants us to celebrate and prioritize in our lives, not our service.
One thing that has really encouraged me in my relationship with God here has been downloaded sermons. Daily life can take a lot of time since laundry has to be done by hand and cooking is almost completely from scratch, but I often love those times because I can listen to sermons, and God plants seeds in my heart. Several weeks ago as I was making dinner and listening to a teaching by Pastor Damian Kyle on 1 Corinthians 13, God reminded me that it is possible to serve Him with EVERYTHING- I can “give all my goods to feed the poor”, “have all faith”, do great things, but if my motive is not love it means nothing and there will be no reward. So, God can call us and use us even in very great ways, but if we are not serving Him and others out of a motive of true love “it profits us nothing.”
I’m so thankful God spoke that lesson to me, and I have especially needed it this week. If someone tries to take advantage of me, or I see a lack of integrity, my human love cries out, “Ok, that’s enough!”, and my human affection stops and is replaced with a hard heart. God has to remind me again that He is extending an invitation to me in each of these situations to walk in communion with Him. And, He is teaching me how important serving with a motive of love is-even when we see flaws. He reminds me that He sees my sin and flaws and their sins and flaws, but He does not write us off because of it. He sees, but still loves, and He loves but still purifies.
So, please pray I learn these lessons! For me, they do not seem to be learned all at once. Instead, it is one situation at a time with many failures along the way, but I want to grow and to learn to truly walk with Him in the small, inward frustrations as well as in the bigger, outward things.