February 1, 2010

To Live is Christ — waiting on the Father

Today’s devotional reading asks an important question: What is the most important thing in your life?

For me, this question has an obvious “right answer” yet I must be honest about it. What is really important to me? Christ and the Bible of course, but I juggle other things and am often uncertain what I should be doing. Even last night I told my husband that I still don’t know what I want to be when I grow up.

Most of my life revolves around home responsibilities, family, friends, church, and an acronym called WAIT. The letters stand for writing, art, InScribe and teaching. Their order is not their priority. My spiritual gifts include teaching and I know this is something God wants me to do. Art includes graphics and making quilts. I love color and working with color. I also write, and have been involved with InScribe, a Christian writers’ group. I am currently their webmaster. Yes, I may have too many irons in the fire.

Yesterday our pastor gave a wonderful gospel message. He said that giving your life to Christ might mean huge changes, even giving up all that you do right now and starting over. That thought often goes through my mind. Does God want me to do something entirely different from what I am doing now? Does He want me to dump my to-do list and start over? This is what Paul did when Christ saved him:

Yet indeed I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ. (Philippians 3:8)
For the apostle, Christ and knowing Christ were the most important things in his life. He didn’t give up eating and sleeping, but his focus became eternal, not temporal. His goal was to know Jesus and be like Him.

Actually, that has been my goal too. God impressed this on my heart nearly forty years ago when I realized this is what He wanted for me. He used these verses:

And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose. For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren. (Romans 8:28–29)
I’m rambling a bit, but in that writers’ group we often have ideas or are presented with proposals that sound good. To decide what to do with them, we learned it is wise to compare them with our purpose statement. If they fit the purpose, we went ahead. If not, we tossed the idea.

Even though God says He can work “all things” for my good, that is, use all things to conform me to the image of His Son, some activities do have more value than others. For me, teaching is on that priority list. A room full of Christian women who know more than I do often challenges me to change.

Art? Not so much. What I do with it, maybe, or how I respond to what people say about it, maybe, but to change me God uses my involvement with His Word and with people more than what I do with my hands.

Yesterday I wanted to quilt. My husband invited a neighbor for supper, so instead of our usual pizza night with time leftover to sew, I was making a meal and doing dishes. Because I respect the sovereignty of God in the details of life, I reluctantly accepted that, but also see a lesson in that change of plans. My art could make me a hermit — but He wants me to be involved with and serve others.

Paul was able to drop the credentials that he could have used as a claim to being more spiritual (even though he really could not). As a Christian, I know some things are “wood, hay, and stubble” in the value system of eternity. I also know that the “all things” of Romans 8:28 cannot be taken for granted. God knows what tools work best in shaping my life. I cannot pick them myself. I also need to yield to whatever hammer and chisel He wants to use, and pay attention to what He is doing, because He gives me two ways to interpret WAIT.


Beautiful Mess said...

I am so thankful for you! You are a gifted teacher.

Deborah Ann said...

Hi. Jen from Beautiful Mess suggested your blog. I love this post. It's a very real, practical way to living my daily life with Jesus. I can so relate to wanting to do my own thing alone, but ending up in God's will to spend my time with others. Great post!

LC said...

I'm so glad that God is blessing you both! May He continue to do so!!