Saturday, June 11, 2016

Walking Toward the Waves: How Deep is Your Pursuit of God?

“Why must we give ourselves fully to God? Because God has given Himself to us. If God who owes nothing to us is ready to impart to us no less than Himself, shall we answer with just a fraction of ourselves? To give ourselves fully to God is a means of receiving God Himself. I for God and God for me. I live for God and give up my own self Therefore to possess God we must allow Him to possess our soul.”  Mother Teresa
(Mother Teresa Come Be My Light by Brian kolodiejchuk, p. 29)

This summer, we had the pleasure of going to the beach with my family (Thanks, Dad! J), and it was a blast. Riley Grace is approaching her three-year-old birthday, and she loved everything about the beach. She loved the sand, the waves, the pool, the sun, the sunscreen, the swimsuit, the Ariel towel, the cousins, the shells, the sand castles, the beach toys, the snacks Everything! All week, she told everyone she met that she went under the water (which actually she did not do until the last day! Lol). She had so much fun in the pool and the ocean, and even the tiniest wave would excite her. We would stand at the edge of the surf, wait for the waves to touch our toes, and then run back to the safety of grandparents, aunts, and uncles. She called this “going under the water”, when in all actuality, she was wet up to her knees. When the waves became bigger than what she anticipated, she ran back to safety instead of being immersed in the power of the wave. Finally, on the last day, she was brave enough to stand where the waves could knock her over. One wave finally succeeded in knocking down her 30 lb. body, and she was finally under the water! She rolled around under the wave for a few seconds before I picked her up. She opened her eyes in shock, looked around for a minute, broke into the biggest smile, and ran back to the surf. She loved it! Now, she had truly went under the water, and her little story was finally true. J 

Through her little tale of “going under the water,” God impressed upon my heart the following question: “Are you fully immersed in Me as someone who surrenders to the waves and experiences their fullness, or are you satisfied with just getting your toes wet with little religious experiences from time to time?” I wanted to answer that “I went under the water” and that I’m always “fully immersed” in my pursuit of God, but my heart would not let me utter those words, for I knew that I had been very guilty of living with “wet toes” with regard to my pursuit of the Lord. And I had learned the hard way that living with a “wet toes” approach toward my pursuit of the Lord (aka living in a complacent, apathetic, indifferent, and/or noncommittal way) is sinful, tiring, and not satisfying to my soul. Just as Riley Grace said that she went under (but she really didn’t), we can say that we are deeply committed to the Lord, while in fact those may be empty words in light of our actual pursuit (of lack of pursuit) of Him on a daily basis.
The quote above is from Mother Teresa before she embarked upon her mission to serve the poor of Calcutta, India. She spent many years in solitude so that she could pray and seek the Lord for His next task for her. Mother Teresa’s love, passion, and desire for her Lord motivated everything she did. She grasped what it meant to give herself fully to God. In her pursuit of Him, she realized that it was foolish to give him a “fraction of ourselves” when He has given us His whole self AND He doesn’t even owe us anything! We are forever indebted to Him and His sacrifice, and yet still, we withhold ourselves from Him because we are too busy seeking after worldly things. How foolish this is and how saddening it must be to our Lord!

Are you seeking the Lord whole-heartedly, or have you merely offered Him a fraction of yourself?

Have you given yourself to Him the way that He has given Himself for us?

Do you have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ?

Have you grown comfortable with the story of the cross, or does it continue to amaze you and press you further into your relationship with God?

Are there ways that you have become complacent, apathetic, or indifferent to the Lord?

Are there ways that He is calling you to go deeper?


-       REMEMBER: Take time to remember the cross! Jesus’ sacrifice was immensely painful, horrifyingly shameful, acutely obedient, and incomprehensibly loving. God, through the sacrifice of His only Son, gave Himself fully to us. Ultimately, the sacrifice satisfied His wrath against our sin, but it also remarkably provided a way for people to be reconciled to our Creator. Remember that this Creator, this Savior, this King is the One who calls to YOU personally. Don’t settle for filthy rags and earthly riches when you can have Jesus, the precious sacrifice that was given for sinners like you and me!

-       PRAISE: Praise the Lord for the cross! Take time to thank Him for providing a way of redemption. Thank Him for giving Himself fully to you and allowing you to give yourself fully to Him. Praise Him that He will enable you to seek after Him in the way in which He has called, and that He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion in the day of Christ Jesus.

-       READ: Reread Mother Teresa’s quote. Read Matthew 6:19-21, Luke 9:23-27, and Titus 3:3-7. How does Jesus describe earthly things vs. heavenly things? How does He talk about the way that we should seek Him daily? What is our reminder in Titus about who we were before Christ redeemed us? How should these verses impact us and challenge us to seek Him with a fire that cannot be quenched and a passion that cannot be stifled by worldly distractions?

-       PRAY: Pray over Psalm 139:23-24. Ask the Lord to purify your heart, sanctify your mind, forgive you of your neglect, and empower you to seek him with steadfast devotion. Ask Him to protect you against the schemes of the enemy and worldly pleasures that will eventually burn up.

Don’t lose heart about your current state of pursuit. Whether your toes are barely wet, you’re walking in faith toward the waves, or you’re already fully submerged, the Lord can and will meet you just as you are! He offers forgiveness, reconciliation, hope, and strength to persevere and go deeper with Him than you currently are. Remember that HE is your ROCK, SAVIOR, CREATOR, KING, and FATHER!

My prayer for you is that your love and desire for the Lord will deepen drastically each time you open the pages of your Bible, speak tender and honest words in prayer, and worship Him with your life. My prayer is that you will not grow weary, complacent, apathetic, or indifferent to your Creator, but that you will forever be in awe of His grand power and personal presence in your own life! Let’s jump in with both feet and offer our whole self to Him!

Always, Jacquelyn