I intended to post a wrap-up on my stay in Romania....truly I did! I've been back in the States for nearly a month now…..I’m obviously a little behind. Or a lot behind! First I blamed it on jet lag. After that, I don't know exactly what happened. I crashed. And life won't stop. The next bend in the road is coming up fast! So I've never gone back to finish what I started....and I did start that post, I really did! Maybe I'll get back to it? But for now, I’d like to share something that God put on my heart after I returned from Romania.
One night, as I was lying in bed, I asked God a question. “What happened?”
Meaning, what happened to that passionate thirst for His fellowship, to those rich, deep hours spent with Him, drinking in new insights He was showing me after the Lamplighter Guild this past summer? What happened to my new purpose to begin doing battle in prayer after seeing the movie War Room back in August….the determination to fight back against the enemy’s bid for my effectiveness, my fruitfulness, my potential in God’s kingdom? What happened to those intentions I had when I left for Romania….that I was going to use my free time to learn prayer warfare and to write more consistently?
Would you like to know what He said?
He brought to my mind these lines from a song. It pictures something similar to a quote I’ve heard from C.S Lewis, I believe. He was talking about how weak our desires are compared to what God wants to give us and to do in our lives. Lewis said we are like children making mud pies in the slums, and we just go on doing this in our blissful ignorance, because we can’t even imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday on the seashore. We are far too easily satisfied. These are the words that came to me….
“There you are in the backyard
Covered in mud in the backyard
If you only knew the joy I have for you
But you’re far too pleased in the backyard.”
And I get it. My backyard consists of the things of this earth that dazzle and distract, that split my focus and prevent me from being fully effective in anything to which I set my hand.
It’s my smartphone, which after my choice to leave it off the grid for my two months overseas has inexplicably entangled me in its time-sucking vortex just as much as I was before! It’s things like Facebook and Youtube that play on my tendency to sit and kill time because I feel too lazy or too tired to do something better. It’s the ads and promotions and sales that are sent to my email and plastered in the store windows, calling me to hurry into the stores and look for bargains for Christmas gifts, or maybe just some new additions to my wardrobe. It's the spirit of laziness that entices me every morning to stay in bed just a little longer. It's spending all my time being busy with my hands because then I feel like I'm accomplishing something. Sometimes it is even worship music, which, although it feeds my soul and lifts my spirits, I often allow to become all this noise that drowns out the still, small voice of the Holy Spirit and never allows me to quiet myself enough to listen.
I’m like a kid making mudpies in the backyard when my Father has planned this extraordinary adventure to the seashore and the mountains. He wants to show me so much more than I can imagine, but for the most part, I am content with my small world and small desires. I like to dream of far-off adventure and the glories of eternity…but to actually leave my puddle and walk away from what feels like security and comfort in the little fenced-in yard? It is difficult to focus your eyes on the horizon when they have been stubbornly fixed on the ground beneath your nose all day long.
So what will I do with this? How can I fight against the enemy’s strategy to bind me to small-mindedness?
I don’t know all the answers. For all the Word I have in my head, my sword arm still feels so weak. But the Word tells me that I must choose by faith, every day, to see what is unseen. To lift my eyes from my mudpies and see what God sees. “If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is your life appears, then you also will appear with Him in glory.”
So what does it mean to set my mind on things above? How do I practice this? Seek what is above, where Jesus is. Seek His will, His kingdom, His glory. Seek the advancement of His kingdom and glory over the earth.
But what does that look like?
Jesus is going to reign forevermore, and I will reign with Him and share in His glory! That is what He is preparing me for in this earthly life. Right now, on this earth, we are co-workers with Christ….co-creators with Him in the restoration of all things which will be completed when He returns as King! We are a part of His restoration work here. We have been newly created in Christ for particular good works that He has prepared for us to carry out in His name! That is our purpose and our calling on this earth. And of primary importance, our purpose is to know God intimately and to grow continually in our knowledge of Him. As a result of this, our lives here will be effective and fruitful in bringing Him glory and accomplishing His will!
So the question remains: what does this look like in practical, daily life? How do I throw off the things that are not necessary to an effective daily life, the things that slow me down and dim my sight of eternity? How do I maintain a proper perspective towards the responsibilities, opportunities, and tasks that are a necessary part of daily life? How do I determine what to emphasize more….the things I need to practice with increasing passion and perseverance in order to develop the gifts God has placed in me, grow in Christ’s character, and be the most effective me?
I have plenty of grand, searching questions, but I lack answers. Yet the Word says, “If any man lack wisdom, let him ask of God.” It says that Jesus has become my wisdom from God. His life in me supplies all the wisdom and all the resources I need for life and godliness. So then the question is how can I tap into this source of amazing life and wisdom?
Ask. I must ask Him. You must ask Him. He said, “Ask, and you will receive.”
Because life is bigger than the backyard.