In the meantime, I've found myself battling, fighting to give God the time He deserves in my life. It's been a struggle and a challenge to say the least. The honest answer is I've chosen to give my time to other things. There's really no other way to say it. I can make all the excuses I want, but at the end of the day, I've chosen idols over Jesus. Sobering to write that.
My Bible goes with me wherever I go, and yet lately I've hardly taken it out of my backpack. Even when I take it out, my eyes don't give it much time or attention. It just sits there, as if some part of me expects to glean insight from it by simply being in the same room. Tragic.
Yet, today, something was different. While any and everything was pulling for my attention, my thoughts kept wandering back to the Word of God. So, I kicked my legs up, opened my Bible, and drank from the goodness that has been captured for us in the Scriptures. I asked God what to read, and sensed "Philippians 3".
Beginning in verse 7 of The Message, I read "The very credentials these people are waving around as something special, I'm tearing up and throwing out with the trash--along with everything else I used to take credit for. And why? Because of Christ. Yes, all the things I once thought were so important are gone from my life. Compared to the high privilege of knowing Christ Jesus as my Master, firsthand, everything I once thought I had going for me in insignificant--dog dung. I've dumped it all in the trash so that I could embrace Christ and be embraced by him. I didn't want some petty, inferior brand of righteousness that comes from keeping a list of rules when I could get the robust kind that comes from trusting Christ--God's righteousness. I gave up all that inferior stuff so I could know Christ personally, experience his resurrection power, be a partner in his suffering, and go all the way with him to death itself."
In some ways, some things that were very important to me are now gone from my life. Other things, I've picked back up out of the trash and embraced those again rather than my loving Lord Jesus. I once knew Christ personally, but now feel much like the prodigal son returning home. Sure, we all go through ups and downs like this. Recognizing that is one thing; accepting it as normal and ok is another. I don't want to embrace things of this world. I don't want to embrace anything other than Jesus! I want to get back to experience the "high privilege of knowing Christ Jesus as my Master, firsthand"!
We go on to read in verse 12 "I'm not saying that I have this all together, that I have it made. But I am well on my way, reaching out for Christ, who has so wondrously reached out for me. Friends, don't get me wrong. By no means do I count myself an expert in all of this, but I've got my eye on the goal, where God is beckoning us onward--to Jesus. I'm off and running, and I'm not turning back. So let's keep focused on that goal, those of us who want everything God has for us..........Stick with me, friends. Keep track of those you see running this same course, headed for this same goal......But there's far more to life for us. We're citizens of high heaven! We're waiting the arrival of the Savior, the Master, Jesus Christ, who will transform our earthly bodies into glorious bodies like his own. He'll make us beautiful and whole with the same powerful skill by which he is putting everything as it should be, under and around him. My dear, dear friends! I love you so much. I do want the very best for you. You make me feel such joy, fill me with such pride. Don't waver. Stay on track, steady in God."
THIS VERY MUCH ENCOURAGED ME TO GET BACK ON TRACK, TO GIVE GOD HIS PROPER FOCUS AND DUE IN MY LIFE. I'VE FOUND IN RUNNING, WHEN I HAVE A GOAL I AM WORKING TOWARDS, IT HELPS ME TO STAY FOCUSED. WELL, OUR GOAL WITH JESUS IS TO BE FOREVER ALLOWING HIM TO MOLD AND DEVELOP US. MANY TIMES, THIS IS HARD, DIFFICULT WORK. IT HURTS. IT'S EXHAUSTING. BUT THE END RESULT, THE GROWTH WE EXPERIENCE ALONG THE WAY IS SO AMAZING! TO KNOW THAT WE WILL END UP MORE AND MORE LIKE CHRIST IS THE GREATEST GOAL OF ALL! I WANT HIM IN MY LIFE.
I NEED HIM IN MY LIFE! COME LORD JESUS, EMBRACE ME AS I EMBRACE YOU!
Friends, will you help me stay on track, as I strive to help you? Stick with it! Remember, we are citizens of high heaven! With our Savior, Jesus Christ, by our side!