5 November Saturday – Continued
[Note: I’ve been writing about a series of messages I listened to a couple of weeks ago, and the journal entries they inspired; 5 November is the longest entry of the lot.]
Continuing on the subject of busy-ness, Pastor John taught that one of the most freeing things in his life was when he finally realized that
“knowing your personal sense of destiny simplifies your life. It narrows your life. It throws away a lot of things that aren’t important. It gets you focused.
“Being single-minded is the key to fantastic success. That’s why we get our own spiritual gift and each of us have our own unique position in the Body.
“Pruning is suffering, but how about looking at it as getting rid of all the non-essentials, narrowing and simplifying your life so you can see clearly the target ahead of you. You have a great Rule now by which you can determine what’s important to keep and what to toss. Part of growing spiritually is a narrowing of focus: Here’s the thing that matter: “FOLLOW ME.”
Speaking of Jesus, of course. Pastor John contrasted Martha in the kitchen going nuts with her preps and Mary in the living room sitting as Jesus’s feet, listening to Him. I always took that to mean Bible class, and I believe that in part it does. But what about moment by moment? I always took “Follow me” to mean Bible class,as well, but that must be moment by moment. And that includes the function of my spiritual gift, which I’ve come to believe is not only writing novels, but apparently writing this blog as well.
To do that, things will not be about my schedule, my priorities, but me following His leading at any given moment.
Colonel Thieme said we’re not to be led by our emotions and desires and impulses – that that’s arrogance and self-indulgent. And it can be, especially at the beginning of one’s spiritual life. But later I think to some degree that is how the Spirit leads. Suddenly you get an idea to do something and you do it.
But too often, especially in recent years I’ve wanted to write in the journal to figure out what’s going on, what I should be thinking — like yesterday. I remember being distracted from my intent of going in to work on Sky, and instead going in to lie on the bed and think about a subject I’d just read about on a blog. All these words and verses came flooding into my mind and finally I decided I should just go in and write them down. The result was my recent post The World is Not Christian.
I think that was God the Holy Spirit. That’s how it happens. It’s almost like I’m taken over. I always regard such events with dismay because they’re never what I’d planned, never what I’d intended to do.
It happens with the sudden inspiration of ideas for making cards as well. And for solving problems related to housework, storage, etc. I think His leading is in those things more than not.
Pastor John’s next tack in his lesson relates:
“There’s an idea that we’re supposed to be busy — that that’s the proof of our devotion…”
(I’ve gotten done all the things I’ve determined to do based on my priorities…which years ago may not actually have been correct. Plus, as I said, this is all about me and my plan.)
“…when in reality it isn’t busy-ness at all, but single-mindedness. When we get pruned, we become more single-minded, more devoted to the Father and His Son. And HE will prune. HE’S the one doing it. He’s the one who identifies and will do what’s needed to make these things perfectly obvious to you and even maybe get rid of them for you.”
And in my notes I asked, “What does this MEAN? That I don’t have to figure it out?” Well, yeah, that does seem to be its meaning. I guess my question is, “but if I don’t, if I just keep muddling my way along, I won’t have any control (!). It’ll be chaos. I’ll go along indulging myself like I’ve done for several months now…
Except… is that true? Have I just been lolling about reading novels, letting the house go, eating at McDonald’s every night? No dishes done, eating off paper plates, no laundry done until every last stitch of clothing has been worn? Leaving the dog to fend for himself, letting the clutter pile and pile? That is not what’s happening. Even my computer time is limited to a few blogs. I’ve not let Bible Class go. The checkbook is not a mess of unentered charges….
I feel afraid. That if I turn it over to Him… what? I’ll be lost? He won’t come through?
“Many times what seems to us as a suffering and a difficulty, turns out to have been the best thing — God removing an unproductive way of spending your time.”
He used as example a sales position he lost years ago. At the time it seemed like a disaster — how was he going to feed his family?
“But it was a job that was mostly about accounting — how many cold calls did you make? How many hours did you spend? It wasn’t focused at all — it was a horrible job.”
And God removed this unproductive way of spending his time. This ties to my Martha mindset of how many tasks have I completed off my list. How many hours have I spent writing. Ohhh… never enough. Never. There will always be more tasks because every one of them eventually must be done again.
“He removes the unproductive aspects of our lives. Then we can go back and concentrate more fully on the broad and vital part of our lives, the productive part: growing in grace and knowledge of our Lord. Being closer to the Vine.
“We don’t bear more fruit by being busier (getting more done) but by being closer to the Vine. He wants us to see more and more of the Life of Christ. That He’s alive, that He’s real and magnificent. That if we more and more devote ourselves to Him, give our lives to Him, He’ll come through in amazing ways!
“This time is really short and it’s the only time we have to glorify Him.”
We do that by trusting Him in suffering and difficulty. By believing His word even when we can’t see any results or sign that it’s true. And also by thanking Him when He finally does come through. As He always does.