Next to my desire to cultivate a life of personal response to God, I want be used by Him to encourage those around me to do the same. That is the sole motive of this post. I do not have a shiny track record of quick response and I certainly had nothing to do with the turn of events today... other than... see sentence regarding desire.
So here goes...
Quite possibly because I struggle with a critical and negative attitude, I feel like a big part of my spiritual legacy so far is an apathetic, defensive and lazy attitude of response toward what feels like the urging of the Holy Spirit.
I think this is one of the biggest impediments in my life to a closer relationship with God and at the risk of sounding presumputious, I think it is also one of the biggest problems (if not the very source of problems) facing Christians in America today.
So I sit in the pew, quietly listening to the sermon... which I will admit is not always the case... sometimes my mind goes off on rabbit trails about what's for lunch or what I should have worn today or how annoyed that I am that David just ignored me when I whispered something to him... anyway... rabbit trail...
And... POOF!... it pops into my head- a thing I did this week that is the exact opposite of what Paul was counseling the folks in Ephesus to do. Of which we are reading at this very moment... in multiple letters... written to multiple cities... do you get my drift? This must be a big thing. The thing my conscience told me NOT to do, but which I promptly ignored. The thing which I arrogantly thought was so small that I would "probably just forget about it".
This thing is revealed through scripture to my heart to be a direct act of disobedience to God.
Bondservants, obey your earthly masters with fear and trembling, with a sincere heart, as you would Christ, not by the way of eye-service, as people-pleasers, but as bondservants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart, rendering service with a good will as to the Lord and not to man, knowing that whatever good anyone does, this he will receive back from the Lord, whether he is a bondservant or is free.
(Ephesians 6:5-8 ESV)
Bondservants, obey in everything those who are your earthly masters, not by way of eye-service, as people-pleasers, but with sincerity of heart, fearing the Lord. Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ.
(Colossians 3:22-24 ESV)
Let all who are under a yoke as bondservants regard their own masters as worthy of all honor, so that the name of God and the teaching may not be reviled.
(1 Timothy 6:1 ESV)
Bondservants are to be submissive to their own masters in everything; they are to be well-pleasing, not argumentative, not pilfering, but showing all good faith, so that in everything they may adorn the doctrine of God our Savior.
(Titus 2:9-10 ESV)
This thing = total disregard of a direction from my boss early in the week. In case you don't know me or anything about my job, let me say that the result was not life-altering or even very significant. But that's the whole point- justifying blatant disobedience, no matter how insignificant... is... significant! I chose my own way because I thought I knew better.
Could there be a more perfect example of my heart of pride toward God?
Thankfully, He doesn't leave me there. In His mercy, He picks me up and comforts me with His unconditional, non-performance-based love. In His grace, He gives me the wisdom to know what to do to make the situation right and then equips me with the courage to dial the number and press "send". In His grace, He goes before me and prepares the way.
And, friends, I don't know what the way looks like yet.
But I know several things... He knows the way and He will be with me. And I cannot tell you how unbelievably grateful I am that God has given me another day and another opportunity to respond to Him.
What has God been pressing on your heart lately? About you? About your attitude? About the way you respond to Him and to others? Is there some small way in which you can give in to Him this week? What about that thought or idea that you pushed aside? Try it. Even if it seems piddily and stupid (ps- it's not). Just try it.
9/10/12 Update- Praising God for a dear friend who felt the call to pray for me this morning! Thanking Him for going before me, just like Tammy reminded me that he would. My boss responded in the way that I thought he would in the beginning (very laid-back and unconcerned) and ended up apologizing to me for his part in the situation. And while he didn't feel like an apology was necessary, he thanked me for doing so. Now I'm praying that God will open the door to an opportunity for a meaningful conversation with this man and that He will give me the courage to respond.
This is radiance from ruins, friends, and the credit absolutely, 100% goes to God.