Thursday, May 8, 2008

Out of the Corner of My Eye – Part Two

“But whoever catches a glimpse of the revealed counsel of God—the free life!—even out of the corner of his eye, and sticks with it, is no distracted scatterbrain but a man or woman of action. That person will find delight and affirmation in the action.” (MSG – James 1: 25)

In my last post on this subject I began to ponder a few questions based upon the verse above.

My first question was this; “What or more accurately who, is the revealed counsel of God.”

My answer was: One name: Jesus. Our Lord and Savior lived an earthly existence to provide us a glimpse into the heart and mind of God our Father, to set an example of how we should live our lives, and the sacrifice Jesus made through His shed blood, poured out at the foot of the cross paved the way for us to be redeemed of sin and to give us the hope of eternal life. (John 6:47)

The second question, or more accurately put second and third questions were:

“If I am truly no longer a ‘distracted scatterbrain but a woman of action,’ what actions should I be focused upon?” And, “If I focus on carrying out those actions, will I truly find ‘delight and affirmation’ by doing them?

After many days of reflection and time spent with the Lord in His word, the impressions that are on my heart in answer to these questions follow.

Please keep a couple of things in mind as you read my thoughts. First, these are the things God has placed on my heart. Each person will be different, and the ‘action items’ that God places on your heart may look totally different from mine. Second, often I tend to be a little slow at realizing what God is trying to teach me and it takes me a while to get on board with His plan for my life.

1st Action Step – God is to become greater, I am to become lesser! “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.” (Deuteronomy 6:5 NIV) I have embarked on a journey to not think so highly of myself. Not that I am putting myself down. I realize how truly blessed I am to be loved by the King; Most High God. But, as Louie Giglio says, “i am not, but I know I AM.”

This action step is tough. It goes against everything that most of us have ever felt, been taught, and believed. The world shouts at us to make a name for ourselves. We are encouraged to amass as much of the worlds toys as possible. We are told to do whatever it takes to climb the ladder to success. But, I must remember these are lies of the world, brewed by the master of evil and are contrary to God’s perfect teachings. In God’s word He tells us, "God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble." (I Peter 5:5 b, NIV) I not only want God’s grace, but I desperately need it as well. To more fully enjoy the riches of God’s grace I need to practice humility. Make much ado about Jesus and pay less attention to attempts at garnering glowing reviews on my performance.

2nd Action Step - “Pray without ceasing.” (I Thess. 5:17 NKJV) This means I am to pray about everything. The big things in life and the small things. When I arise in the morning and all throughout the day. Not just during my devotion time, or before I close my eyes at night, but all the time! My continuous prayer has become, “Dear Lord, grant me an attitude of prayer in all of life circumstances, no matter what I am doing.”

3rd Action Step – Humility begins at home. I am being called to become a better model of a godly wife for my husband. “The same goes for you wives: Be good wives to your husbands, responsive to their needs. There are husbands who, indifferent as they are to any words about God, will be captivated by your life of holy beauty. What matters is not your outer appearance—the styling of your hair, the jewelry you wear, the cut of your clothes—but your inner disposition.” (I Peter 3: 1-4 MSG) I am to honor him with my actions, my words and my deeds. I am to be quick to praise and slow to anger. God is teaching me many ways that I can improve my performance in this area.

4th Action Step – Make showing Jesus to my sons a priority. “Write these commandments that I've given you today on your hearts. Get them inside of you and then get them inside your children. Talk about them wherever you are, sitting at home or walking in the street; talk about them from the time you get up in the morning to when you fall into bed at night. Tie them on your hands and foreheads as a reminder; inscribe them on the doorposts of your homes and on your city gates.” (Deuteronomy 6:7 MSG) I must be daily in the word. I must be ready, at any given minute, to respond to the challenges of parenthood with Godly instruction. I desire to point the way to Jesus by the manner in which I live my life. This is critical in raising children. Without knowledge of God, a child has no true compass; no way to reach the full potential for their lives that God uniquely designed them to fill.

Looking over this list of action steps, I realize that I have my work cut out for me. Each one of these things will challenge me, and test my resolve to follow Jesus. All combined, I realize that apart from the grace of God I would have no chance for success. I realize that, this side of heaven at least, I will never grow to the point of living in a state of perfection on any of my action items. But, praise God, He doesn’t call us to live a perfect life. He calls us to have a heart that desires to do a little better each day, and to strive to live out the desire to grow in Him.

“Father God, Thank you for your grace. Thank you for your amazing word and how it has the power to soften my heart and change my life. Thank you for not expecting perfection from me. I pray that you will give me the strength, willpower and determination to open myself fully to your revealed word. I pray that I might willingly surrender any stronghold that keeps me from hearing your voice and following as one of your faithful sheep. Help me to allow You to become greater while I become lesser, assist me toward giving myself to a life of prayer without ceasing, please help me to become more humble, and give me the knowledge and wisdom to point my sons to your unfailing love. I ask this in the precious Lord and Savior, Jesus.”


Kathryn Bonner said...

Hi Joanie,
I love your blog! Your thoughts regarding our Lord, and the journey are beautiful and inspiring
You are truly a lovely daughter of the King!
I pray that we all see so much more than just out of the "corners of our eyes" that we see with the eyes of Christ all that He wants us to see. Love your post on this!
Blessings upon blessings to you!
Kathryn Bonner

Kathryn Bonner said...

Hi Joanie,
I love your blog! This passage is great! I pray that I see so much more than just out of the corner of my eye, and yet, whatever the Lord wants me to see fully, I pray that if I am about to miss it that I "catch it in the corner of my eye!" Oh and YES, we do find the awakened free life of Christ!
Love your post!
Blessings upon blessings to you,
Kathryn Bonner