Clear the Way

Clear the Way

Ecclesiastes 6:1-2 (NLT) There is another serious tragedy I have seen under the sun, and it weighs heavily on humanity. God gives some people great wealth and honor and everything they could ever want, but then he doesn’t give them the chance to enjoy these things. They die, and someone else, even a stranger, ends up enjoying their wealth! This is meaningless—a sickening tragedy.

The house is packed. The new one chosen. Details are falling into place. Soon it will be time to journey on to our next destination. It’s a God thing. Truly it is. Why else leave the house once dreamed of? A heart nudge or faith push? Call it what you will. Our family is moving. If life were a game, I would call it leveling up. Headed out to the country and a new way of living for a soulful purpose that some days, I don’t even understand. I feel drawn, led and called to this place. Now it is happening and my heart is content.

I have shared many times the impact of brokenness in my life and how a little church in the woods drew me from hiding to enter the Presence of the Living God once again. Stepping forward to reclaim the discarded sword called faith, too tired to fight anymore, joining Elijah in the cave hiding from the evil Jezebel, the Lord whispered “what are you doing here?” “I can’t do this anymore God.” That was my reply. I didn’t run across the finish line just barely crawled with an extended hand claiming victory.

How do you go back to ordinary life when you encounter an extraordinary God? You don’t. It is not because the Lord cuts us down a notch but He is building a foundation for the abundance that He has for us and the rich satisfying life Jesus died for us to have. Sometimes it takes a situation, condition, heartbreak or tragedy for us to see that there really is more to life than what we can see, touch, feel and want from this world. The Lord must clear the way so we can see Him rather than all the stuff and mitigating circumstances that we get entangled in. So here I am… getting ready to move… oh I am ready to move.

There is a serious tragedy in life. It is called discontentment. It is the thing that drives us for more of this life rather than seeking soulful satisfaction in Jesus Christ. I have fallen victim to this snare so many times even in the name of following Christ. A life without contentment is meaningless. It is a constant pursuit for something more than what we have. Jesus offers a rich and satisfying life but we decide there is more to life than this. What profit a man if he gain the world and lose his soul? (Mark 8:36) It is not about not having nice things. It is not about living in poverty or abased. It is about waking up each day truly thankful for what you have and not worried about what you don’t have. It is worship unrestricted by want. Praising without perplexed in your need. It is an abandonment to Jesus that allows Him to fill us with exactly what He promised. Satisfaction. Contentment. Abundance as our soul prospers so will we.

Ecclesiastes 1:7-9 (NLT) Rivers run into the sea, but the sea is never full. Then the water returns again to the rivers and flows out again to the sea. Everything is wearisome beyond description. No matter how much we see, we are never satisfied. No matter how much we hear, we are not content. History merely repeats itself. It has all been done before. Nothing under the sun is truly new.

Reading Ecclesiastes 1 can be quite depressing. King Solomon, son of David was a very wealthy and influential man. Nothing was unattainable to him. Well almost nothing. His power afforded everything this world had to offer yet Solomon couldn’t find contentment. He halfheartedly obeyed God and did many things that he knew an abomination but could not satisfy his cravings and lust so continued. Having everything – he was still a miserably man who decided life to be meaningless. Monetary wealth was not the problem. Wisdom belonged to him. His struggle was surrender. Giving his heart, mind, body and soul to the Lord completely.

We often suffer the same condition. Loving God but watching the world. Straddling the fence of compromise wanting creature comforts yet still desiring communion with God. Reaching for the light yet holding on to darkness, our life exists in the gray gloominess of compromise. We see the love, joy and peace of those who submit their life to Jesus, but still entranced by the ever present temptation to want more, do more and be more in this lifetime, too. Let’s face it – we want people to like us, welcome us, celebrate us and be influenced by us. The Jones seem like nice people so we try to keep up with them.

Rivers run into the sea, but the sea is never full. This is a powerful statement. The river runs into the sea and the sea feeds the river. We want our own pond. Building tiny dams and gateways to control the water flow so we do not run dry. Fear of lack causes the water to stop moving through our life and living water to stand still. If only we could see the sea rather than standing in our own puddle, we could see that God wants to flow through our life in all things. He wants to feed us and give us enough to share with others in every sense of purpose in life for His Glory. Contentment is a godly quality not found in the world. Satisfaction is from Jesus and nothing else can take His Place.

John 14:6-9 (NLT) Jesus told him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through me. If you had really known me, you would know who my Father is. From now on, you do know him and have seen him!” Philip said, “Lord, show us the Father, and we will be satisfied.” Jesus replied, “Have I been with you all this time, Philip, and yet you still don’t know who I am? Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father! So why are you asking me to show him to you? 

“Have I been with you all this time, Philip, and yet you still don’t know who I am?” Ouch! Don’t judge the disciple too harshly. We are not far from his example many times. God blesses us in so many ways but we still want more from Him before we will believe. The disciples had an image of who the Messiah was, what He would be like, and how His Coming would impact their life. Jesus was not that kind of Messiah. They were looking for a change of life now not a forever impact like Jesus gave us. They thought in following Him and laying aside their lives for the Lord that they would be elevated to a place of power and authority in the earthly realm but instead they were hunted down like animals some even dying just for believing. This was not part of their plan. Philip wanted Jesus to show him God the way he envisioned him to be.

Are we really any different? Do we not think that our life should be priceless, painless, perfect and powerful just because we give up our sin, pick up our cross and follow Jesus? We want it all. We want it now. Some will never be satisfied because they want Heaven on earth but it doesn’t look like this world. Heaven completely exists and is powered by Jesus Christ. He is at the Center of everything. It is all created through Him. If you do not find a way to be content in Christ, the Kingdom of God will lose its appeal and will not be what you want because Jesus is the Center of it all.

John 14:12-14 (NLT) “I tell you the truth, anyone who believes in me will do the same works I have done, and even greater works, because I am going to be with the Father. You can ask for anything in my name, and I will do it, so that the Son can bring glory to the Father. Yes, ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it!

Poor Philip was in trouble, Jesus continued to plead for him to just believe in me. Just look for the Father in me and you will find Him. How will I know when I truly believe? How can I be certain that this life means less to me than Jesus? Satisfaction in our soul and contentment in Christ allows His Power to flow from our connection. Rivers run into the sea, but the sea is never full. The vastness of the sea is unquestionable. It never evaporates or runs dry. As the sea fills the rivers, channels and streams, those same things run right back into it. Living water moves because it is constantly connected to the Source of its life. The river doesn’t worry about running out of water because the water is being pushed through by the current. When we work for the things of this world rather than surrendering to Christ, we interrupt that heavenly flow and distort the current of things God sending our way. We are promised provision. He will supply our needs. He will bless us in obedience and as our soul prospers so will we. What’s wrong? We do not believe. How do I know? Those who do can ask for anything in the Name of Jesus and He will do it.

We sit in powerless churches. We give meaningless things our full attention. We invest our priceless time into worthless pursuits. We want more. We work more. We complain all the time. We are constantly in fear of lack. We fight for the crumbs under the Master’s table rather than taking our seat at family dinner. We are all guilty to some degree of living in discontentment and dissatisfaction but it doesn’t have to be that way. Jesus is the River running through us just looking for a stream. He wants to bless us with contentment and full satisfaction but first must break down every wall that stops it.

Philippians 4:11-13 (NLT) Not that I was ever in need, for I have learned how to be content with whatever I have. I know how to live on almost nothing or with everything. I have learned the secret of living in every situation, whether it is with a full stomach or empty, with plenty or little. For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength.

To learn to be content in what we have and have not is the first step to dependency on Christ. Hear me out. I know people who have it all and do not have peace. I also know people who live with very little in perfect peace. The difference is always the same. Peace with God. Dependency on Christ. His Grace is enough to have peace with God and tap in to the Kingdom of Heaven here on earth. Do you believe that Jesus Christ can fill every void in your life today? You cannot answer that question with words alone, but your actions relay the message loud and clear. Those who suddenly come into large sums of money who once had none often find that it reveals a heart problem never known in their desperation. Most lottery winners come instantly rich and go right back to poverty in just a few short months.

Contentment and satisfaction are conditions of the heart that money cannot change one way or the other. How we live in every season is an indicator of our Source of Life. When our present condition no longer impacts our contentment or satisfaction is it safe to say – I can do everything through Christ who gives me strength. Those who are content in all things are surrendered to Christ. Those who are satisfied in all of life’s seasons are connected to the Source of Life.

I Timothy 6:6-8 (NLT) Yet true godliness with contentment is itself great wealth. After all, we brought nothing with us when we came into the world, and we can’t take anything with us when we leave it. So if we have enough food and clothing, let us be content.

My parents were very young when I was born. I entered this life in humble conditions. They divorced. My parents both remarried but achieved very different lifestyles. I had clear images of both sides of the track, if you will. As I grew up, I decided that I wanted better for my children one day. Don’t we all? I wanted them to have things I didn’t have. Well, my life didn’t turn out as I expected either. When I finally surrendered my heart and life to Jesus, my life has prospered in every way possible. When we built this house, I decided that I would never move from it. It was everything that I ever wanted and dreamed of. When we first moved in though I found it challenging to live here. It was too much. More than I expected. Over the years, it became our home.

When our son got sick, it was inconvenient. Work was undergoing major changes. We were renovating and had just put in a pool. Success was knocking. Our plate was full of the American Dream. It all changed in a moment for me. The moment my heart was completely broken, I could see that some things of this life had taken priority. It didn’t matter anymore. I thought it would be for a season, but the Lord was changing my life. Now, I am after something else. I want something more.

I was watching a video online last night from our church. It is Vacation Bible School week at the little church in the woods and after the children had left our church family including our two girls broke out into a dance party. Celebrating success and goofing around in the afterglow of service. I realized that I have the life that I always wanted for I have finally found peace. Peace in my place. Peace in my family. Peace in my purpose. Peace in the known. Peace in the unknown. Peace in my imperfection. Peace with my past. Peace with the future. Peace in this place of surrender that says, “Lord, if you want us there – we will go!”

Once you discover God’s Perfect Peace, His Full Satisfaction and God-Like Contentment – there is no going back. The release is too real. The blessing too noticeable. The prosperity of our soul is life to every other area of our existence. It starts with deciding to trust God for just one more thing. To believe that He is completely aware of your needs and faithful in His Promises just one more time. To take just one more step of faith no matter how small. So today, as most days, my prayer is for the River of God to run through me, refresh me, renew me, fill every void with godly contentment and every space with soulful satisfaction as I put my trust in You! Clear the way and remover every obstacle that keeps you from running through me! In Jesus Name, Amen!

Isaiah 26:3 (NLT) You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in you, all whose thoughts are fixed on you!

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