Sunday, May 03, 2015
Dawn & Heather Read Together: Own Your Life (Chapter 4)
"His lord said to him, 'Well done, good and faithful servant; you were faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your lord." (Matthew 25:21)
For the Christian, this verse is the goal of our lives. We want to hear our Lord tell us He is pleased with us & that we can rest forever with Him. Do we think we are some kind of special people? Well, yes... BUT not because of us! Oh, no! We are special, we are loved and our Lord is pleased with us because His Son lived a perfect life so He could die for our sins. Christ then arose & lives because death had no power over Him! Our hope, our faith is built on Jesus Christ alone- without Him, we are but dust. Through Christ, we are His children, His beloved. Oh, how glorious!
"Men of Israel, hear these words: Jesus of Nazareth, a Man attested by God to you, by miracles, wonders and signs which God did through Him in your midst, as you yourselves also know- Him, being delivered by the determined purpose and foreknowledge of God, you have taken by lawless hands, have crucified, and put to death; whom God raised up, having loosed the pains of death, because it was not possible that He should be held by it." (Acts 1:22-24)
"In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace which He made to abound toward us in all wisdom & prudence." (Ephesians 1:7)
"Now, therefore, you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God." (Ephesians 2:19)
In chapter 4, Clarkson challenges us to live with the end in mind. To be told we were faithful means we have to actually be faithful. Today. Right where I'm at. Ouch. Honestly, I often fail at being faithful. I do it all the time with lots of lofty excuses: I'm busy. I'm tired. So-and-so can do it better. I'm scared. I might fail. Hm. None of those excuses seem that lofty.
Here's one more really lame excuse: my life is too boring to do anything really good. I can't even believe I've thought that but I have. There have been days when mundaneness of motherhood left me wondering what the point was. Oh, shame on me! I'm serious- I feel utter disgust that I've ever thought like this. I'm nurturing the lives of little souls for His kingdom! I'm helping my husband fulfill his calling before the Lord. Why would my eyes ever look for more? Oh, Lord forgive me! AND I'm not living in a vacuum- I meet & encounter so many people who I could reach out to!!! I love Clarkson's quote here:
"Jesus has chosen you to be a picture of Him to your world too. He loved you so you could share His love with everyone you meet. He forgave you so that you could extend grace to those who need to experience the forgiveness of a real, flesh-covered person. He lavished your world with beauty so you could reflect His beauty to those in your life." (pg. 49)
Dear mama of littles, your world may simply be your children & husband for this season. Be at peace. Dig in & get to work! God sees your work & He is pleased when you are offering these sacrifices. Sally encourages the reader to pray & ask God to direct your vision. What does He want you to do? Where can you serve Him? I bet there's ways where you and your littles together can show Christ to someone else! But if all you can manage is to wipe noses and bottoms and feed your brood, then THIS is the vision He has for you. And don't worry, this season will wax into another. :)
Maybe you're not a mama or not one of littles but you still make excuses. Just like me, we need to turn to His Word & ask God to shape our thoughts after His. Then find one way to be Christ to someone else. Then find another. Keep going!
But wait a minute. Didn't I just share how Christ is the reason we are saved? So why all the emphasis on being faithful, obedience & serving? Why not just focus on His love? You see, we (you, ME!) obey because we are saved and not the other way around. Our culture doesn't want anything to do with authority & many in the church do not want to be perceived as earning their salvation (because we can't), so we make light of obedience. But salvation doesn't leave us dead (and that's what we are unless He saves us)! God gives His children His Spirit, His Word & His church to equip us to LIVE!
"If you love Me, keep My commandments. And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever... I will not leave you orphans; I will come to you." (John 14:15-16 & 18)
It's such a balance- knowing we are saved because of Christ's work alone + pouring our lives out in service + seeking His guidance through prayer & diligent study of His Word + resting in His will. We need God's help to know how to balance it all!
Be sure to check out Dawn's thoughts on chapter 4 here! And we'd love to hear your own thoughts.