Monday, January 30, 2012

Do I really mean it?

This morning we sang this song in church. The lyrics are below.
As we were singing it, I couldn't help but wonder how much I really meant what I was singing. This evening as I was journaling I reflected on it some's some of what I wrote.

Christ wants me to be holy and broken and faithful. But do I really want to be broken? Am I really willing to do what it takes to be holy? Am I ready to sacrifice my will for the sake of being faithful to the One who owns me?
Even when my heart's cry wants to say yes, my flesh wants to run the other way. I do want to be all Christ's. I know that's the only way to truly live with any real meaning. And yet, so often I still want to do my own thing, be my own person, go my own direction. It's moment-by-moment relying on God and dying to myself. Dying is hard---but I must in order to LIVE in the resurrection power of my Savior!
On that glorious day when I bow before His throne, I certainly won't look back and wish I had done more things that only brought earthly pleasure. On the contrary, I will wish I had been a better steward of the talents with which my Lord has entrusted me. If only I could always live with that end in mind!

Holiness, holiness is what I long for.
Holiness is what I need.
Holiness, holiness is what You
want from me.

Holiness, holiness is what I long for.
Holiness is what I need.
Holiness, holiness is what You
want from me.

So, take my heart and form it.
Take my mind and transform it.
Take my will and conform it.
To Yours, to Yours, oh, Lord.

Faithfulness, faithfulness is what I
long for.
Faithfulness is what I need.
Faithfulness, faithfulness is what.
You want from me.

Brokenness, brokenness is what I
long for.
Brokenness is what I need.
Brokenness, brokenness is what
You want from me.

Lyrics from:
{interestingly, one version I looked at substituted "righteousness" instead of "brokenness" in the verse.}

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Philippians 3 Revisited

A little over three years ago, I started this blog. My first post was mainly an essay that was part of the application process to JBU. You can read it here if you want. I had originally written that essay on September 19th of 2008. I was just starting my senior year of high school. My, but that does seem like a long time ago!

What I didn’t say then because I wasn’t really willing to admit it is that I had tried to write the essay the night before. I clearly remember sitting there reflecting on what a relationship with God should look like and realizing that mine did not at all look like I wanted it to. This was one of the nights I talked about in a recent post. But that time I turned to Philippians, with 3:10 ringing in my ears. Reading through it that night framed my essay the next day.

Back to the present – God’s brought me a long way since that night, and JBU has definitely been a piece of that transformation. This month I’ve been chewing through Philippians again, in small bite-sized chunks. I’ve decided Philippians 3 is probably my favorite chapter in the whole Bible (although I like John 17 a lot too!), and I think 3:10 and the section around it is basically my life verse/s. So tonight I just wanted to share some of what I wrote down the other morning as I was reading Philippians 3 after spending a few days in it.

“This chapter is like a definition of the Christian life,” I wrote.

  • · Don’t strive for fleshly/earthly things
  • · Count all earthly stuff a loss for Christ
  • · Seek to grow in Christ’s righteousness, not your own
  • · Most important of all is knowing Christ!
  • · Keep pressing on toward Christ! In a way, forget everything that it past – failures and accomplishments
  • · We do NOT do this {life} alone – we are to do it with other like-minded people
  • · We are citizens of heaven, not of earth. We await the coming of our Savior and the renewal of our bodies.

Hmm….looking at that list it almost looks like it forms a chiasm of sorts. Haha, Dr. Blankenship would be proud of me ;-)

But seriously – if you haven’t read Philippians recently I would definitely suggest chapter 3. Don’t you think it sums everything up pretty well? I’d also certainly advise taking little bits at a time rather than trying to gulp it down. I don’t think reading through the Bible in a year is a bad thing (I just did it in 2011!), but I personally think it’s better to take more time to look into passages more deeply. I know that I “get” a lot more out of my Bible reading time when I do smaller sections rather than a large chunk.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Called to Love

Well, break is over and I'm back at school. It was good to have a time without studying. I still worked a good bit, but I also had time to just relax and to reflect. God is continuing to remind me of things. One of the things in the past month has been what His call on the lives of His people is.

I've been spending time in Philippians for a little over a week now. The last couple days I've been in chapter 2, and God used it to remind me that each of us is called to love others sacrificially, as Christ loved us.

God's love for us is SO amazing and SO unconditional. But we should not keep that love for ourselves. He loves us so that we can in turn pour out love onto others. We are not here in this world for us. We are here to bring glory to God and to shine as His lights (Phil. 2:15).

Just today I was reading a chapel talk that Chip Pollard, the president of JBU, gave a while ago and put into his book May It Always Be True. This particular one was focusing on kindness, based on Mark 12:28-31 about the greatest commandment being to love God and to love our neighbors as ourselves.

In the section about loving God, President Pollard writes:
"We should love the Lord our God with all aspects of our being. Our love for God should move us us intellectually...stretch us physically...shape our spiritual character...define the inner core of our personality. There is no part of our being that should not respond to God's character. Moreover, to love God with all [of your being]...means being willing to surrender [all of your being] His calling." pg. 46

As often happens, God has been using multiple sources to remind me of His truth on this issue. Love is a powerful force. It can change the world - turn it upside down. And we have been given this "secret weapon" if you will. The devil doesn't understand love. How could he? It's antithetical to him and who he is. If Christians would only be willing to sacrifice our own self-pleasure enough to unleash the full power of God's love through us, we could be His tools to transform this globe.

Something else God reminded me of as I was out walking this afternoon is that it isn't enough for me to think about these things, or to write about them. I must act. So, you are more than welcome to keep me accountable on this. When you see me, you could ask me "what have you done to love someone else?" Thanks :)