Luke 10:39-42 (NIV)
She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said. But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!” “Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed—or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.”
Thriving on schedule and routine, one of my greatest struggles is maintaining my attitude when this is not maintained. It is how I keep from becoming overwhelmed. I thrive in order. There are many reasons that I will not bore you with from childhood to adulthood that have made me this way. The prioritization of life ends procrastination and promotes progress. I am very driven by it to the point that when it becomes interrupted that I cannot see the forest for the trees. For a week now, my husband has been out of town which has changed our morning routine. The rhythm established that keeps our house moving has been left up to me. Second distraction. Every Thursday, I clean my house. On rare occasions, this is moved to Fridays but that pushes grocery shopping to Saturday which is inconvenient. So when plans changed last night, I could feel myself getting all stirred up. Our routine was interrupted by a midweek event that though it was an obligation I really wanted to back out to keep order in my life. It would not have been the right decision but one to pacify my flesh. Now all the mole hills in my life were slowly building into mountains. When you add the Daniel Fast which makes meal preparation and planning a little more challenging and add to it the fact that my body is now rallying against me…well, you get the picture. I am a bit distracted. My house is not clean. My grocery list is not done. My husband is coming home which makes the first two very important to me. I could add the list of “things” but you have one of your own. Walking into my prayer closet this morning, getting into the Word, the Lord whispered in my ear, “Lori, Lori, you are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed – or indeed only one.”
“But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made.” The challenge within in. Every day, I want to live on purpose. My purpose is to serve the Lord. However, sometimes I get distracted by all the ways that I think honor Him when really He is after only one thing. Jesus wants my heart. When He has my whole heart, it gets my attention. When I step into His Presence leaving all of those “things” and “preparations” behind I see that He is all I need. Are you distracted today? Do you keep your phone by your side at all times? Do you lose it when your schedule is interrupted? Does chaos undo you in a vain attempt to keep a firm grip on your life? Do not get me wrong. I am not in any way condone a life lived randomly. To serve the Lord with each moment will require a certain schedule and order to be obedient with our time and talents. The life of faith is not random but intention as we take control of flesh and lead it to the Cross each day in submission to the Word, Will and Way of Jesus Christ. We must live an ordered live for a lack of control and firm grip will lead us from wilderness to wilderness. However, we cannot get lost in the doing and forget who we are.
Matthew 6:9-13 (NIV)
“This, then, is how you should pray: “‘Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.’”
The mindset of religion is doing something for God. The heart of the church should be the pursuit of Christ. I know a lot of worn our ministers of the Gospel on every level who are wearied by the work of the church and distracted by it. When I came to the Lord this morning, I was reminded that the only way I see the lack of proper prioritization in my life is when my routine is interrupted, schedule messed up or experience a change of plans – this takes me from my agenda back to God’s Plan and Presence in my life. To depend on Christ fully means that every detail of my life belongs in His Hands. It begins with this prayer each day. “Your Kingdom come, Your Will be done, on earth as it is in Heaven.” How many times do we ask the Lord to help us get everything “we” need to get done today rather than entering His Presence with our life in our hands saying, “Here Jesus, you work it out today just tell me what to do.” I know…I know… it sounds unrealistic. Who is going to work to pay the bills? Take the kids to school? Clean the house? Prepare the meals? Serve in church? Lead Sunday School? Do those things only “I” can do? The enemy is subtle in his attack. He knows that you are in tune to the Jesus in you so he has to sneak in. If he hit you with something big, satan knows you would run home to Daddy. So he comes in via pride, the kind that says, “I have to do this” rather than “Your Kingdom come, Your Will be done, on earth as it is in Heaven.” The struggle is real. The Truth of the matter is that everything I need to be successful today is found in the Presence of the Lord. I cannot get there in my own way with my agenda and goals to be successful my heart and mind must align with His Will and His Way with a heart fully committed to living close to Jesus.
Galatians 6:7-9 (NIV)
Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. Whoever sows to please their flesh, from the flesh will reap destruction; whoever sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life. Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.
Am I sowing in the Spirit today? OR am I sowing in my flesh? Everything I do should be as unto the Lord and to glorify my Father in Heaven. Who am I working for today? Who am I living for today? Is it me? Or is it Jesus? Think about it. I am. We “do” a lot of things in the Name of the Lord but are we doing it for Him or to pacify us and our own need for order. When we ask the Lord for help in doing, we are sowing in the flesh. See God has already everything we need to live a godly life so all we have to do is step into His Presence, ask for it, and according to His Will it is a given. It is when we enter His Presence desiring Him change our situation here on earth, to help “us” work out our problem or meet our need that is a definite sign that we have become distracted. When come to the Lord for the assistance of others rather than asking for His Help, we have designated that person as the one who has higher authority and power over our life than the Lord. It is when we enter His Presence with Thanksgiving and Praise no matter what is going on around us and even when all our plans have ended in frustration that we know our faith is secure and hope is confident in Christ alone. It is a subtle transference. Trusting Christ alone is our mission relying on Him alone is our goal.
Hebrews 6:19-21 (NIV)
People swear by someone greater than themselves, and the oath confirms what is said and puts an end to all argument. Because God wanted to make the unchanging nature of his purpose very clear to the heirs of what was promised, he confirmed it with an oath. God did this so that, by two unchangeable things in which it is impossible for God to lie, we who have fled to take hold of the hope set before us may be greatly encouraged. We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure. It enters the inner sanctuary behind the curtain, where our forerunner, Jesus, has entered on our behalf. He has become a high priest forever, in the order of Melchizedek.
People have good intentions. The promises made most do with the purpose to keep but then things happen. Life happens. In that moment of disorder, what is your response? I must admit mine is not very good most of the time. I deal with the busyness of life by given everything a proper place. The problem is I create natural comfort that when disrupted distracts me from my true calling and life purpose of serving the Lord in all things. Good is not served by my purpose but when I live for His Glory. That means if He has an assignment for me of greater priority than the one I have established for this day or moment that I am confident and secure enough in His Word that I will walk in obedience not only in my actions but in my attitude as well. It is good to plan. Routine is not the enemy. Scheduling will indeed set the course for a day and even make time for important things like spending time with the Lord. It is when our plans fail and human expectations not met that we see who or what was the driving force behind our plans and purpose.
If it is true that God does not lie or change His Mind, He has it all worked out already. Everything even the smallest seemingly insignificant detail will work for my good according to His Word. Do I trust Him is the question enough to give up control when life throws me a curveball, or will I take my toys and go home? I hear it all the time. How do you find time to write? I get up two hours earlier each day. Oh I can’t do that I need my sleep. I am too busy to pray. Turn off your phone and spend some time with God alone. Oh, I can’t I have to work it’s how I pay my bills. I am tired and need rest. Make time to enter His Presence. Oh you don’t understand, I have kids. We prioritize our life. We choose our Provider. He promised to supply all our needs according to His Riches in Glory. He will not force us to have it but invites us to come. If you want to work yourself to death, He will allow you to its called freedom. If you want to get all worked up, so be it. If you want to wear yourself out until there is nothing left to give until you come crawling back to Him – Jesus will always be there waiting to provide everything you need. He has been waiting to give it you. You (and I) were too distracted in our preparations, plan and purpose to see. We choose the path that we will go in each day with each moment. To fully trust in the Lord means relinquishing control of our mind, will and emotions to Jesus, stepping into His Presence and closing the door on the world. Work and responsibilities outside of the Will and Way of God will only yield human results which will be reflected in our outcomes. The Favor and Goodness of God is reserved for the Marys in life who choose first to live in His Presence and then go conquer the world. Today I am a Martha who needs to join Mary.
Matthew 25:10-13 (NIV)
“But while they were on their way to buy the oil, the bridegroom arrived. The virgins who were ready went in with him to the wedding banquet. And the door was shut. “Later the others also came. ‘Lord, Lord,’ they said, ‘open the door for us!’ “But he replied, ‘Truly I tell you, I don’t know you.’ “Therefore keep watch, because you do not know the day or the hour.
When the bridegroom returned the virgins were “on their way to buy oil.” Five of them brought oil with them and waited on the Lord. The other five were “distracted” and did not bring any oil to trim their lamp. So when he finally came, they were out making preparation and missed it. When they came to him, he said, “I don’t know you.” Keep watch for you do not know the day or hour is the warning in this parable of Jesus. Are we working for the natural or waiting for Jesus to come? Our life means nothing outside of knowing Jesus Christ and living according to that sweet knowledge and understanding that He is really all we need. When Jesus truly is the Lord of our life, our doing is nothing compared to what He is doing. Yes, we should work as unto the Lord. But He is our Provider of all things that make our life fruitful and prosperous because we know Him, spend time with Him and finally trust Him with our life. It is human nature to take God’s Plan and try to run with it. It is not always are job to “do”. Our blessing is not the result of anything we do but strictly our relationship and proximity to Christ. In the end, when it really counts only one thing will allow us to enter Eternity with the Lord, does He know you? I want Him to know me. I don’t want to be the casual acquaintance who calls only in the time of need. I want to have an intimate and thriving relationship with Jesus which means my priority list and his must become the same.
James 2:21-24 (NIV)
Was not our father Abraham considered righteous for what he did when he offered his son Isaac on the altar? You see that his faith and his actions were working together, and his faith was made complete by what he did. And the scripture was fulfilled that says, “Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness,” and he was called God’s friend. You see that a person is considered righteous by what they do and not by faith alone.
Abraham believed God. It was credited to him as righteousness and he was called God’s Friend. I love that. I want to be friends with the Lord. Yes, I can come to Him when I am overwhelmed, weak or weary and HE will restore me, renew me and revive me. He will set the order of my life for His Plan and Purpose when I choose to seek Him wholeheartedly. The sacrifice will be my schedule, routine and plan for success. It will yield results but only natural ones. To take my plan and surrender it to the Lord while accepting His Plan will turn my outcomes from ordinary to extraordinary. Will I keep planning? Of course. Will I keep a schedule? Yes. Will we observe a daily routine? Absolutely. The key is being caught up in Jesus and not our plans that are subject to change in the Light of His Love. It means when all these things are interrupted, I will not become distracted but rather go deeper in His Love. Amen and amen.
Philippians 3:8-9 (NIV)
What is more, I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them garbage, that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ—the righteousness that comes from God on the basis of faith.