James 1:2-5 (ESV) Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him.
The pity party was in full effect. I set my alarm for 4:30 AM during the week to spend time with Jesus. It should give me two hours to do what I need to do and sit in His Presence to study, meditate and pray for a bit before getting ready for the day. This morning as I fed the dogs, took them out, gathered dirty clothes from the girls room, tidied their bathroom, started laundry, cleaned out the fridge, made lunches for everyone and detox tea for me, I could feel myself getting frustrated. I set this time aside years ago to spend specifically with the Lord and somehow it has been overtaken by lesser things. My poor husband encountered the pity party. I might add that I recently started a new diet and now on day 3 am tired and irritable anyway. Compound that with menopause and people it is not pretty. As I slide into the seat and sit with my Jesus, I realize that it is my own fault. So pardon the interruption as I share the details of my morning and it is only 5:45 AM.
I am an over doer. I have a Martha spirit and am asking the Lord to help produce Mary’s heart. I am comfortable when in control. I like the house tidy, laundry done and family happy. I am a pleaser who is running out of time in her 24-hour day. The Lord leads me to James. Oh no – not the Book written by the tell-it-like-it-is disciple with no filter at all. Count it all joy. I am counting on the wrong things to bring me joy. When life is imbalanced and Jesus tumbles from the throne of my heart to somewhere beneath a pile of dirty laundry – I have made a terrible mistake. I wonder sometimes if the greatest “trial” humanity faces is simply time management. I hear people say all the time, “I am too busy!” We are all busy. Just as each one has a 24-hour day, each is granted the privilege and freedom to decide how to spend the most precious commodity given to us. Time.
Steadfastness is not busyness. Being the perfect wife, mother, grandmother, employee and even Christian is not about being busy but steadfast. Steadfast in pursuing those things that increase our faith, trust and hope so that our confidence is secure in Jesus Christ. His Kingdom is not built by our hands but comprised by our hearts. When steadfastness has its full effect, it makes us complete lacking nothing.
Philippians 4:11-13 (ESV) Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. I can do all things through him who strengthens me.
Diligence becomes duty in our determination. When our commitment is to the world and people, there will never be contentment because it is not offered by such things. It is in our commitment to follow Christ that true contentment is revealed. Paul said that he “learned” in whatever situation “I” am content. Two things here. Contentment is a learned behavior. It is a discipline that takes time and energy. It is painstaking as one must kill the flesh and suffocate pride to achieve it. He also states “I” am content meaning his contentment is not based on other factors but a person decision to live in such a state. My grumbling and complaining today does not reflect a life of confident hope and total trust but one of doubt and fear. When I am content, it doesn’t matter what is going on around me because I can still count it all joy.
When I allow tasks to take over time, I allow the enemy to rob me of the source of complete contentment. I can do all things THROUGH Christ. When my priorities are out of order, then my pursuit is led off course. I become task driven and not Christ following. It interrupts the flow of God in my life because it is through Christ that I have righteousness that allows me to live in the Presence of God filled by His Spirit. The truth I that I love taking care of my family, I like my job, and the tasks associated with such things really are not a burden. I am content with my life yet know God is still working on me and Christ has things to do through me. The problem is that I allowed an interruption to become a full-blown pity party when really I am just have a busy morning that I have the power to change. “But godliness with contentment is great gain, for we brought nothing into the world, and we cannot take anything out of the world. But if we have food and clothing, with these we will be content.” (I Timothy 6:6-8)
Philippians 2:12-16 (ESV) Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure. Do all things without grumbling or disputing, that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world, holding fast to the word of life, so that in the day of Christ I may be proud that I did not run in vain or labor in vain.
So…pardon the interruption today as the Lord carefully and lovingly puts me in check. It is easy to let the burdens, cares and worries of life rob us of precious moments better spent with the Lord. As I put my priorities back in order, I realize that my life becomes complicated when I am not content. When I begin to try to do or be something other than Christ called me to be. I am making changes. The Holy Spirit has really been heavy on my heart lately. It is kind of like the detox tea that I have been drinking. As I digest it each day, it detoxifies my body. Cleans me internally and externally – I can see the impurities and toxins leaving my body. Sometimes even strong believers who serve seemingly sinless and flawless lives could use a good flush now and then – it is only in removing and reorganizing such things that we order our life and prosper as He promised. Just keeping it real today! God is good. He loves us. He loves me. He has a plan and purpose for my life that is just for me. I am not in a competition. I should probably live in that peace each day. It might just eliminate the worries of comparison that keep me striving for wife, mother, employ and Christian of the year. Lord, let me be a Light of Your Love today. Keep me from running in circles and laboring in vain. Thank you for your Presence that is my peaceful place of constant reflection that it is all about YOU Lord, and not about me. I can do all things THROUGH Christ!
Colossians 1:10-12 (ESV)…So as to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him: bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God; being strengthened with all power, according to his glorious might, for all endurance and patience with joy; giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in light.