I want to start with that question.
How much do you want it?
Did you answer alot? Good.
Now I have another question for you.
What are you willing to do to get it?
I am convinced that when we want something enough, we will do whatever it takes to get what we are after. If we don’t, then we don’t want it that much! And if we want something enough we will also do whatever it takes for as long as it takes to get it.
In the Bible, God promises a lot to those who believe in Jesus. A lot. When I look back at our 12 years as a Christian, I can see many, many of those promises have come true. I also see that Jesus has changed both Robert and me. I also see that while many promises are true in our life and God has blessed us; I also know that God has tested us and taught us. Each time we have been tested, we have been blessed. Each time God has taught us a lesson and we stopped doing what we were doing and starting doing “it” God’s way we were blessed. So, this has made us want more. More of God in our life. More living God’s way. Our life, as we have gotten closer to God has improved exponentially and that is a major motivator!!
So when we read the Bible and then looked at our life, we realized things had to change in order to experience more of God. Compared to how we were living, living in relationship with God and doing life His way has brought us much more happiness, joy and peace! We wanted the tsunami to change from American culture and this world crashing in on us to Jesus crashing in on us! We wanted it and still want more of it – a lot. A whole lot!
I will now speak strictly for me. The first “shift” was taking a look at how I spent my time. A good hard look. How much tv did I watch? How many hours did I train? How much was I reading the Bible? How much was I studying the Bible with others? How much time did I spend on facebook? Twitter? The internet? How much time was I spending alone with God? How much was I looking for opportunities to help others? What was my mind busy thinking? What was preoccupying me? I realized that in order to get more of God, I had to give up a lot of other things – perhaps temporarily. Perhaps long term. I didn’t know. I had to start focusing on God! Over the course of about 2 years, I really stripped my schedule down. Sometimes I wondered just how much I would need to cut out of my life! What I learned was God really wants to spend time with me and wants to be with me. This was stunning to me. Me? God wants to be with me? So, I began to tell myself, “The God of the universe is asking for your attention. You. He wants to spend time with you, so what are you going to do? You better spend time!”. And this is one of the big shifts that starting causing the J-Wave to roll in my life.
Once I began to say yes each time God asked me to let go of something that took my time and my interest, it got easier to say yes. And this caused a big shift. I believe with each yes the J-Wave built momentum!
This is my story. My experience. Your experience may differ! See God created each of us uniquely and He plans to relate to us just as uniquely. There is no one more inexhaustibly creative than God! If you will quiet yourself and look and listen in His direction you WILL know that God is asking you to spend time with Him and give Him your attention because He wants to spend time with YOU..yes YOU. What could be a better investment of your time and attention? The answer is unequivocably, nothing.
I pray that you will take the offer God gives below in Jeremiah 29:13 and that the J-Wave will gain momentum in your life!
Jeremiah 29:13 (the Message translation)
When you come looking for me, you will find me. When you get serious about finding me and want it more than anything else, I will make sure you won’t be disappointed.
(How’s that for an exciting invitation?)
Matthew 6:33 (NLT)
But seek first His Kingdom and His righteousness and all these things will be given to you as well.
I John 2:15-17 (the message translation)
Do not love this world nor the things it offers you, for when you love the world, you don’t have the love of the Father (God) in you. For the world offers only a craving for physical pleasure, a craving for everything we see and pride in our accomplishments and possessions. These are not from the Father, but are from this world. And this world is fading away, along with everything that people crave.
Proverbs 15:14 (NLT)
A wise person is hungry for knowledge while the fool feeds on trash.
Tomorrow: Shift #2 – 11 yrs in the dessert finally ends
I’m not sure about you, but I have days when I am confident, hopeful and rocking and rolling in a groove and then I have days where, well, I am not confident, hopeful or rocking and rolling yet alone in a groove. I find on the not so good days I have forgotten who I am! See, I am a Child of the Most High God. I am blessed and highly favored and my God is with me, empowering me, guiding me and protecting me. That is the truth, so I’m working on more consistently operating from this truth. I was combing through my “God” articles file and I found the writing below from 2009. I cleaned it up a bit and I’m posting it now to help myself and you remember our true identity in Jesus Christ!
The apostle Paul wrote a huge portion of the New Testament. In nearly every single book that he wrote Paul’s opening verses state with clarity and authority who he is. Check out a few verses from a book he wrote called Galatians.
Galatians1:1 This letter is from Paul, an apostle. I was not appointed by any group of people or any human authority, but by Jesus Christ himself and by God the Father, who raised Jesus from the dead.
Galatians 1:10 Obviously, I’m not trying to win the approval of people, but of God. If pleasing people were my goal, I would not be Christ’s servant.
Galatians 1:15 But even before I was born, God chose me and called me by his marvelous grace. Then it pleased him to reveal his Son to me so that I would proclaim the Good news about Jesus to the Gentiles.
Do you hear Paul’s clarity? Paul is clear about who he is and why. He is clear about who God is and who his Son is. Nothing grey here. Paul has amazing clarity of who he is despite his own dark past. Paul really knew how to be a good Jew! He was a Priest and very highly educated. Perhaps because of his knowledge, Paul knew only too well how difficult following the law was and how easy sin is! Paul, prior to God divinely showing him that Jesus was the messiah was a persecutor of Christians. He was one of the prime influences for the stoning of Stephen. Paul says this about himself:
Galatians 1:13…I violently persecuted God’s church. I did my best to destroy it.
Paul sees both who he was and who he now is! Recently I read the following statement:“We see ourselves through our past and God sees us through our future”. Does Paul seem guilt ridden or hindered by his past? Does he sound like he’s nervous about how people will see him or accept him in his new role as an apostle because of his past? Absolutely not. Does Paul place his identity in his past or in his present and future? Paul has clarity and knows he has a past but he sees himself as God sees him – through his future!! Why? Because Paul lives in the truth of who he is and whose he is. He is a child of the one true God, saved by Jesus, his sins are forgiven, eternal life guaranteed, Holy Spirit received.
Gods’ word is full of promises for us, and statements about who we are because of Jesus. God’s word is our truth and our reality. God’s word tells us our future. If we would just begin to ask God to help us comprehend this we could begin to know who we are with the same kind of clarity that Paul demonstrates in the verses mentioned above!
“Now with God’s help, I shall become myself.” Soren Kierkegaard
My prayer is that God will keep showing us through His word, who He is, and who we are in Him. I pray that the Holy Spirit will lead us and teach us God’s word so we can know whose we are and who we are at all times! Not just intellectually, but into the very DNA of our being. I pray that we can let go of our past identity and fully embrace the new identity that Jesus purchased on the cross for us. I pray that in each moment of our life, we will have the same confidence and clarity that Paul expresses in Galatians as we move ever forward into the marvelous future God has planned for us since before we were born.