Monday, January 27, 2014

Becoming Part 5: A Short and Sweet Afterthought

In comparison with the other “Becoming” blogs, this one will be short and sweet!  The heart of the “Becoming” blog entries was to look at the three key elements of how we become who we are: God, outside circumstances, and personal choices.  When I started writing this blog, I wanted to write entries about being a woman devoted to the Lord, and more specifically being a woman devoted to the Lord in her different roles, such as a wife and mother.

The afterthought of parts 1-4 is this: Who we become affects a lot of other people. God did not create us for selfish purposes. He created us for Himself, and part of our purpose on the earth is to serve Him by loving and serving others. When I think about the personal choices I make to either pursue or neglect my relationship with God, my thoughts are weighed down by the fact that I do not live in an isolated bubble. I am a wife to Patrick. I am a mom to Riley Grace. I am a daughter, sister, niece, granddaughter, teacher, employee, member of the body of Christ, citizen of America, etc. Therefore, the person I become affects all of the people that I encounter. My actions and attitudes affect others. If I am walking with the Lord, I will progressively be more patient, selfless, humble, loving, and forgiving. If I am not walking with Him, I will be more selfish, prideful, critical, negative, and entitled. If I am not walking with Him consistently and more deeply every day, my own life suffers because of it, but it doesn’t stop there. Patrick will be affected if I am a selfish wife. Riley Grace will be affected because she won’t have a good example to emulate. My students at work will not have a godly example to learn from. Lots of people will suffer because of who I become.If I don’t pursue the Lord. On the contrary, lots of people will be blessed if I do follow the Lord and pursue Him daily. Patrick will be blessed by a godly wife who is focused on serving him instead of serving myself. Riley Grace will be blessed by a godly mom who teaches her the ways of the Lord instead of the ways of the world. So in essence, I love others when I become who God has called me to be because, in doing so, I am pursuing holiness, which will spur me on to live a selfless life instead of a self-centered life.

Who you are becoming affects a lot more than just yourself.

How do you want to impact others?

What kind of legacy do you wish to leave for your family?

How are people closest to you affected by your relationship with the Lord?

Meditate on the following verses, and ask the Lord to show you how to encourage others in their faith with your life.

Hebrews 10:24-25 And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.”

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Becoming Part 4: The Role of Our Personal Choices…Get Out of Bed!

Psalm 40:8 “I delight to do Your will, O my God; Your law is within my heart.”

Oh, that every choice we made showed evidence of this verse within our hearts!  If you are anything like me, this verse may not be indicator of every personal choice we make from day to day.  Some days, my heart is completely (or almost completely) in tune with the Lord, and I really do delight to do His will. Those are the days that I am not angry when the alarm clock sounds because I desire to be in the Word in the early morning hours. Those are the days that my heart is inclined to pray for my husband if my feelings are hurt rather than “give him what he deserves”.(as if that is my place or my judgment call anyways!) Then, there are other days where the last thing I want to do is His will. I want to do my “own thing”. I want to be lazy and sleep a few extra minutes instead of spend time in God’s Word. I want to say that cutting, critical remark to my husband instead of holding my tongue and responding with grace. I want to waste time watching movies and viewing Facebook instead of cherishing time with my family and the Lord. The choices I make each day whether in pursuit or neglect of my relationship with the Lord affect who I am and shape who I am becoming.  If I desire to be a mighty woman of God but fail to make small choices every day to become that woman (i.e. sleeping past my quiet time instead of making the small sacrifice to get out of my warm bed), then I am in effect making the choice NOT to become that woman instead. Rather, I am making choices to become more self-centered, even though I wouldn’t come right out and say that. In the moment, those extra few minutes in my warm bed seem extremely appealing, but in the right perspective of my life with the Lord, what is more important? What do my everyday choices show about what is important to me? What do my everyday choices show about who I want to become?

When I was considering a good Biblical example that illustrates this point, my immediate thoughts were of Noah. I have always loved reading the story of Noah. There are only a few short chapters in Genesis devoted to this narrative, and in the grand scheme of the Bible, his story doesn’t receive very much spotlight, but there are some key words about his life that speak volumes. Imagine yourself in Noah’s shoes. Lets examine some key verses and consider how they apply in our day.

Genesis 6:5 The Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intention of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.” 

This sad reality was the world in which Noah lived. EVERY intention of the thoughts of the heart of men was only evil all the time! Noah could have very easily succumbed to the pressures of ungodly living. He would have looked like everyone else, which sometimes seems a lot easier than standing out. Genesis 6:6 goes on to say that God regretted that He had made man because of the evil they were committing. This verse could be applicable to a lot of the evil intentions of man that are carried out today. In our world, we are faced with a multitude of personal choices we can choose worldliness or godliness.

Let’s look at how God saw Noah (despite the fact that He regretted creating mankind because of its wickedness).

Genesis 6:8 “But Noah found favor in the eyes of the Lord.”

Why?  Because

Genesis 6:9 “Noah was a righteous man, blameless in his generation. Noah walked with God.”

Noah walked every day with the Lord every small step every seemingly unimportant personal choice. Because of Noah’s consistent faithfulness to God, He entrusted Noah with a massive task: building an ark to save his family and the animals. Noah’s task could have seemed impossible. He was 500 years old when he started his building endeavors! The earth had never seen rains before so it took a lot of faith for Noah to even believe that an ark would be necessary. He could have experienced ridicule from those who thought his endeavors were ridiculous. But, how did Noah respond to this task?

Genesis 6:22 “Noah did this; he did all that God commanded him.”

Genesis 7:5 “And Noah did all that the Lord had commanded him.”

Genesis 7:16 “And those that entered, male and female of all flesh, went in as God had commanded him.”

Noah was obedient every time, even when the task seemed crazy or impossible!

What if these few verses were described your life?

“She found favor in the eyes of the Lord, despite the great wickedness all around her.”

“She was a righteous woman, blameless in her generation. She walked with God.”

“She did all that the Lord commanded her.”

Wow! Every small choice matters! Who do you want to be? Who do you want to become? What are you doing in pursuit of those desires? Are you actively pursuing become a woman devoted to the Lord or is it a passive, distant “warm fuzzy idea” that you never actually pursue? Ultimately, God is the author and finisher of our faith and is in control of all things, BUT we still play an active role! What small choice can you start making today in order to become a woman who is more devoted to God?

Read over Genesis 6-8, the full story of Noah’s obedience and blessing.
Make a small goal to pursue in your relationship with the Lord.
Make prayer a priority in your pursuit of God. Pray to be a woman who fears the Lord, trusts the Lord, and obeys Him no matter the cost!

Stay tuned for Part 5: The Conclusion to “Becoming”!