This week’s topic of conversation in my online read-a-long is food. With just a cursory glance through my previous blog posts, you can easily discover that one of my biggest issues is FOOD. I am slowly but surely allowing God to work on this issue in my life. Thanks to Lysa TerKeurst’s book and Bible study Made to Crave, I am finally beginning to see my food issues for what they are: sin. So, as I read 7: An Experimental Mutiny Against Excess, I assume it’s not coincidence when the first area of excess I need to face is…food.
Ok, Lord, you have my attention – again.
Except, what God taught me through this chapter had little to do with food.
WHAT?!??!? But, that’s my issue. Surely, Lord, you have something new to say to get me past this funk I’ve been in lately. This is how you work (usually). Thing 1 isn’t getting my attention, so you kick me in the pants with Thing 2.
But, no. What He needed me to hear was much bigger than my small-minded presumptions.
This sums it up: “When I see kingdom work in the middle of brokenness, when mission transitions from the academic soil of the mind into the sacrificial work of someone’s hands, I am utterly affected. Obedience inspires me. Servant leaders inspire me. Humility inspires me. Talking heads dissecting apologetics stopped inspiring me a few years ago.”
Lately, I’ve felt stuck. I read and study and listen to podcast after podcast, and I have moments of “wow, that’s good.” But, I don’t feel I am really growing closer to God. I don’t think I am becoming more like Jesus. I see bits of heart change and perspective change, but there’s also a feeling of “stuck in a rut.”
I’ve been praying to break out of the rut. Praying to start pursuing the dream that’s always been hidden in my heart.
When God revealed to me what moves me…further from me and closer to Him…I knew He, too, wants me out of the rut.
Kingdom work in the middle of brokenness…When I see kingdom work in the middle of brokenness, I am driven to tears. I ask, “How, Lord, can you still work through him or her when he or she is so broken?” even though I know He often works best in brokenness – whether it’s a broken heart, a broken church, or a broken relationship.
God works in the brokenness – you don’t have to wait to be all fixed and all better to move closer to Him, to serve Him, to rest in Him. In fact, there’s no better time to seek and grow closer to Him than in the brokenness. His grace and mercy will cover the rest.
Kingdom work moves me away from me and culture and closer to Him.
Mission transitions from the academic soil of the mind into the sacrificial work of someone’s hands….Nothing fires me up more than vision casters who don’t follow through. Those who talk big about what he or she is going to do for this group or that country or these people, and then…nothing. Nada, zip, zilch. Some know all the right things to say, but until it moves from their mind to their hands, I simply don’t respect them even if I like or love them.
However, when vision is cast and mission is carried out, I am overwhelmed. I see Jesus in them and through them. Indeed, “I am utterly affected.”
Being on mission and serving for His glory moves me away from me and closer to Him.
Obedience inspires me….On Sunday my friend felt called to stand up and clarify some information. It’s just not this friend’s nature to do so, especially in a very public way. In general, this friend doesn’t need to be right or argue or prove a point, resting in knowing God is in control. But in this case, felt called to stand for what is right. As I watched this friend’s obedience, I choked up. God gave the perfect words and a gentle spirit. It was a God moment for sure.
When I see obedience in others and when I am obedient, I feel closer to God. (I know, thank you Captain Obvious!) Still, just because we know obedience moves us closer to God doesn’t make it any easier when we have to courageously make a stand.
Obedience requires less of me and more of Him.
Servant leaders inspire me…What is a servant leader? I decided to google it. Woah. Lots of definitions in cyber space along with an entire book on the topic by the man who coined the term “servant leader.” Against my English teacher tendencies, I chose this Wikipedia definition: “someone who is a servant first, who has responsibility to be in the world, and so he contributes to the well-being of people and community.”
I may have not known this term for them, but I know these leaders. I think of them as those who work alongside you, not the ones who sit in meetings and hand out directives and decisions.
As if I was drinking from a fire hydrant, God revealed my heart on this issue: I have no respect for those who practice any other type of leadership style. In my book, you’re a servant leader, or you’re a poor excuse for a leader. Harsh, huh? God’s dealing with me on this one. I’ll let you know how it turns out.
Humility inspires me…It just does. True humility causes my heart to sway.
Philippians 2 says, “ 3 Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, 4 not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others. 5 In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus: 6 Who, being in very natureGod, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; 7 rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very natureof a servant being made in human likeness. 8 And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death— even death on a cross!”
This sums it up: Be like Jesus. (THAT will move me or you out of ANY rut!)
When I began reading 7, my goal was simply to learn to create more space for Him, so I could have less of me and more of Him in EVERY area of my life.
That’s my prayer for me today – and for you. More of HIM and less of ME/YOU. I am praying God reveals to me exactly how I can create more space by asking myself these three questions from 7:
- What in my life, if taken away, would alter my value or identity?
- What causes an unhealthy change of attitude, personality, or focus when “it” becomes threatened?
- What is the thing outside of God that I put everything else on hold for?
I’ll let you know what God reveals:)