His glory, above all, should reign higher than any other desire. That sounds a lot easier than it is. Sometimes we are faced with making decisions that are not what our hearts desire, simply to be obedient to our God and King. Something God has recently taught me is that I need to allow Him into every area of my life, even the parts that mean things might get uncomfortable if I let Him into them. I've been wrestling with the Lord for some time now because I felt that He wanted something that I wasn't willing to give up. Sometimes I feel like God gently teaches me lessons, other times He slams them right in front of my face. The Spirit beckons me asking, gently, "give this part of your life over to me, this isn't what I intended this to be like for you." Of course, in my stubborn and sinful will I kept denying, justifying, comparing and the list goes on. But God got hold of me this week at a Campus Crusade for Christ Winter Conference. God used one of the speakers to powerfully share that God wants us to have an open hand to everything in our lives, and that it was time I start acknowledging the Holy Spirit's leading in my life. It was as if God Himself told me "I love you. Give this to me and you will be rewarded." I don't mean rewarded in a monetary or self-satisfying way. Scripture says that if we store up our treasures in Heaven, there we will find our hearts desires (Matthew 6:20-21). So my reward is something far greater than happiness or success, but rather something that will last, a sense of assurance in my identity in Christ as well as peace knowing that obedience to the will of God is far more satisfying than striving after earthly desires. So I have to start practicing what it is that I believe, plead with God to give me a heart that desires what He desires, and ask Him to tune me in to the leading of His Spirit. So I say to the Lord: "I don't want to miss this. I don't want to miss what you are leading me to do. Help me to pray for big things, help me to pray for what I think is impossible," because when all things go through the Father, nothing is impossible. I need to devote myself to prayer because I know full well that it is the only thing that will get me through the next 4 months.... and if I'm being honest, this whole year. More than that, prayer like this is the foundation on which everything else builds! I need this as I continue to grow in my prayer life as the Lord sanctifies me and bring me to maturity. And I have quite a lot to be praying for.
Let me start with praise to the One who is delighted by those who come to Him with all things. I am grateful that he gave me two people who encouraged me by saying that this blog/my facebook brought encouragement to them today! And I am grateful that He has given me a renewed sense of intimacy with Him, almost like He is assuring me that any present and future suffering (there will be more in the weeks to come as I go back out on the road, I'm sure) is no comparison to the joy He will reward me with in the time to come. That's the thing about grace, obedience, and finding my treasure in Him: there is freedom in knowing that the God of all Creation knew I would be struggling through this very heartache the moment the world was created. He knows things as detailed as the very hairs on my head, telling me I am worth more than I think I am (Luke 12:7).
"For all the promises of God find their yes in Him. That is why it is through him that we utter our Amen to God for his glory."
"...utter my Amen" keeps ringing in my mind over and over. I think God is trying to tell me that if I am willing to say "yes" to everything He has for me, regardless of the cost, seeking His glory above all, He will reward me richly. And no, it's not easy. I feel like I am literally fighting for my joy. So why do I find it so necessary to be obedient to the invisible God of the universe even when it hurts? Because I know that my joy can only come from again soaking in the free gift of grace Christ gave me the day He sacrificed His life for my own. With no hesitation, let me come to the foot of the Cross saying "anything for you Lord, even if it hurts, you can have it all." Amen.