Something I struggle with, is having my quiet time with the Lord without a "plan"- I am most successful in carving out time if I am doing a study with homework or going through a set "Bible Study" with accountability. If left to my own motivation, I am usually not as productive, I journal and read something and of course have my prayer time, but it doesn't motivate me like having a planned study. [Just being honest] UNTIL recently! As previously mentioned, we just moved to Arizona and I am in a study and getting settled in, but I did not have the routine of a study with homework. I decided to start at Matthew and just hang with Jesus- read His words and really just spend time in the gospels. (if you do not have a Bible with red letters to highlight Jesus' words, I highly recommend that!) I read out of the NIV Bible- I never want to switch Bibles, I love my Bible, seeing the notes from previous studies and dates when something hit me from The Word, but I love reading from other translations as well. So I pull up BibleGateway.com and love to read from the Message, The Voice, The King James version, the New King James Version, The NET, etc.. I have gone through chapter by chapter and read it in various translations while journaling what impacts me the most and I am telling you, I can't wait to get my quiet time in every day. Jesus was/is THE MAN, I just love reading His words every day!
SO...This morning something hit me as I was reading and studying and I wanted to share it. I read Matthew 23 in the Message-
8-10 “Don’t let people do that to you, put you on a pedestal like that. You all have a single Teacher, and you are all classmates. Don’t set people up as experts over your life, letting them tell you what to do. Save that authority for God; let him tell you what to do. No one else should carry the title of ‘Father’; you have only one Father, and he’s in heaven. And don’t let people maneuver you into taking charge of them. There is only one Life-Leader for you and them—Christ.
11-12 “Do you want to stand out? Then step down. Be a servant. If you puff yourself up, you’ll get the wind knocked out of you. But if you’re content to simply be yourself, your life will count for plenty."
See, something has just been eating me up lately. I am as plugged in to Social Media as the next person, (I do not have cable, so I am not plugged into the 24/7 Newsfeed there) and as I read some things that people post it just makes my heart hurt. It occurs to me that our generation is just looking to "follow" to be led by humans who seem to be or have what we want to have. I am all for being inspired by some godly people- Beth Moore is at the top of my inspiration list...but I have to regularly check myself with her because I do not want to do the above to her..put her on a pedestal and make HER the expert over my life. That would be my doing not hers. She is being obedient to God's calling and we all make these teachers "celebrities" and place them where honestly, God does not want them. He wants to be the authority, the celebrity, the focus of our attention, the focus of our desire. He is the only one who can live up to that. I read so many comments to these Bible teaching "celebrities" and "false Bible Teaching celebrities" (because holy cow, is there ever a movement of people trying to "inspire" with the label of "Christian" or "god" but leaving out the teaching in the Bible, calling it irrelevant to the culture today) and our generation seems to be looking for someone to have it all figured out and tell us what to do. We want instant gratification. I am ALL ABOUT people using their spiritual gift of teaching to point us toward Him and help us to gain greater insight into the Word of God. My life has been dramatically changed because of faithful teachers sharing their wisdom with me. I just want to make sure to check myself and make sure that I am letting Christ be my only "Life-Leader".
FIVE WAYS TO FOCUS ON CHRIST AS YOUR LIFE-LEADER:
1. Spend Time with HIM: Just Him, reading His word and talking with Him- I have been SO blessed by putting aside my "planned learning" and just hanging out with Him!
3. Ask God for Discernment: Make sure those who inspire you are speaking and teaching Truth according to the Word of God. Isaiah 11:3 "and he will delight in the fear of the Lord. He will not judge by what he sees with his eyes, or decide by what he hears with his ears;"
4. Ask with Confidence: YOU yes YOU are God's kid! He loves YOU, He wants YOU, He desires YOU. We are all "classmates" with ONE teacher. If you ask Him and seek Him..He will give you knowledge and wisdom! Matthew 7:7-8 “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. 8 For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened." I think we can be so insecure that we defer out to other people too much, no one else can claim your inheritance from God. No one else can receive your salvation. No one else can have YOUR relationship with the King. Let's step up in confidence and go after Him on earth, don't wait for Heaven..Live in communion with Him NOW!
5. Be Content with YOU: "But if you’re content to simply be yourself, your life will count for plenty." We live trying to compare ourselves to others, social media has helped with that a LOT: "they are a better mom" "they have better skin" "they get to travel all over the world" "they have perfect children" "they get to have a baby boy and I am stuck with girls" "they are so skinny" "they cook such beautiful meals" "they have a beautiful house" "they have fabulous clothing" "they have the best car" "they never seem stressed out" "they have an amazing job".....you get the idea! God says "if you are content to SIMPLY be yourself, your life will count for plenty" or the NIV says "For those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted." God made you just as He wanted to, YOU are amazing, YOU are created in His image, He has a plan for YOU..lets try to live up to being the daughter of The KING not living up to the stranger on Pinterest who we think has the life we want. You are Fearfully and Wonderfully made! (Psalm 139:14)