Archive | May 2015

Busyness Is Not A Spiritual Gift

                                                     Be still and know that I am God. Psalm 46:10Busyness 6

        We live in  a culture of busyness!  We never feel like we have enough time to accomplish everything we want or need to          do, and the clock keeps ticking.

According to the Merriam Webster Dictionary one of the definitions of busyness is “full of distracting detail”. The                   devil is in the distracting details!

In a recent survey by Machael Zarelli approximately 13,000 believers were asked to respond to the following statement: “The busyness of my life gets in the way of developing my relationship with God.”  Six out of 10 (or 60%) of believers responded that this is “often” or “always” true of them!  Satan loves to keep us running in circles trying to beat the clock.  If he can distract us he can minimize our usefulness to the Kingdom of God.

What are we all so busy doing?  Why do we act like we deserve some prize for how busy our life is?  Do we find joy in being busy?  Is exhaustion a badge we respect and honor? Or, is it a cover-up for our lack of joy?  Are we afraid to be still?

As Christians, we cannot allow ourselves to be swept away in the cultural undercurrent of busyness.  Romans 12:2 says, “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.  Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is – his good, pleasing and perfect will.”

Perhaps we need to ask some tough questions about our busyness.

  • Am I busy for the right reasons? God doesn’t honor laziness or wasting time.  However, it is easy to fall into the trap of staying busy for the wrong reason.  God intends us to care about all the needs around us, but He does not intend for us to try to do it all.
  • Has busyness become my identity? – Do I take pride in my busyness? Is my motivation to get praise and admiration from others?  Our worth is based on who Christ says we are not on what others think of us.
  • Do I set appropriate boundaries on my busyness? Jesus knew how to set boundaries (Luke 12)  For many of us saying no is very difficult.  The truth is sometimes God gives us permission to say no to serving others.  We can be confident that when he does He will find another way to meet that need.
  •  Do I stay busy in order to avoid issues that need to be confronted? If we are busy, we don’t have time to think.  If we are busy, there are no quiet moments when the convicting voice of God can get through.  It becomes an escape mechanism.  If we are staying busy because we don’t want to hear what God is trying to say to us, we must give it up and remember that God only wants good things for us.
  • Is my busyness an obstacle to my spiritual growth? Is time with God what falls through the cracks then the schedule gets heavy? This is one of Satan’s best tricks – to keep us so busy that we don’t have time to read our Bibles, develop a meaningful prayer life or just to get to know God better.

Perhaps the most familiar passage of scripture dealing with busyness is the story of Mary and Martha (Luke 10:38-42)  From it we learn that it is not our performance but our presence that God values.  Compiled lists and flawless events are not the lasting stuff of eternity.  Only one thing is essential – sitting at the feet of Jesus.

Truth to Claim:  While all of us experience seasons of busyness they should not dominate our lives. God can be found in the stillness.

Application:  Evaluate your schedule not only with an eye for the necessary but the eternal.

 Solo Deo Gloria

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The Adrenalin Rush

Excitement roller coaster4

“Whatever you do, do it enthusiastically, as something done for the Lord and not for men.”  Colossians 3:23

 One of my grandsons loves to live on the wild side.  Roller coasters are his favorite rides.  I think if you took him to a theme park, blindfolded him, spun him around and turned him loose, he would head straight for the roller coaster or, the most heart stopping ride in the park.  He seems to thrive on the excitement.  His mom lovingly refers to him as her adrenalin junkie. He is one cool kid!

There are many things that excite us.  For my grandson it’s the thrill of the ride. For others it’s a football game, a trip, a great concert or the birth of a baby.  We have all experienced those moments that defy explanation or description but were accompanied by those butterflies in our stomachs.

We have experienced those moments in our spiritual lives as well.  Most of us can look back on our salvation experience as an exciting spiritual high. Not only did we feel relief that our sins were forgiven, but excitement and passion for our God who loves us sacrificially and unconditionally.  We wanted God more than we wanted air, or food or water.

Other mountaintop experiences may have fueled our walk with God along the way – a Vacation Bible School, a summer youth camp, a women’s retreat, or a Bible Study where God revealed truths about Himself that were new to us.

But as time goes by, like my grandson when the ride is over, the excitement may fade. We may “lose” that fire for some reason and it scares us.  We don’t know why.

There may be multiple causes acting together to create a crisis of faith.

  1. We experience discouragement when things do not go as we had planned or hoped – especially when it is related to our work for the Lord. Elijah and Jonah both experienced this.
  2. We may have allowed ourselves to become minimalist Christians. We equate our Christianity with going to church.  If that is all Christianity is to us, it becomes routine, dull and boring pretty quickly.  Christianity is not defined by rules and rituals – it is a relationship. Excitement and passion are found in the relationship.
  3. We have allowed something precious (the gospel) to become familiar or commonplace.
  4. We may have failed to grow in God’s word and to continue to grow spiritually. When a person stops increasing their knowledge of God’s word, they become spiritually stagnant and zeal and excitement decline.
  5. We may have had the experience of having tried hard but not having seen very much tangible results in our work for the Lord. When this happens it is tempting to want to give up and let someone else do the work.
  6. For some, the older we get the less our zeal. We adopt an attitude that says, “Let someone else do it…I have put in my time.”  Remember Caleb. At the age of 40 he was one of the 12 spies who wanted to take the promised land  –  when he was 80, he marched across the Jordan with Israel.
  7. Unrepented sin will extinguish our passion.

We could go on, but I think we all get the point.

If we have lost our passion, no matter the cause, we must consider – how do we get it back?

  • We must go back to the beginning and remember the original source of our passion and excitement. It was the gospel – when we first learned that God provided an escape from our sin because He loved us so much that he allowed His only Son to die for us. That message of love creates a love for the Lord in return. (1 John 4:10, Romans 2:4) His love for us prompts a response of love, joy, gratitude, and passion.
  • We must pray for a return of the joy of our salvation and a passion for the things about which God is passionate. Jesus said, “My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me, and to finish His work.”  (John 4:34) He was passionate about His work.
  • We must remember what God has done for us as we have walked with Him.
  • We must associate with passionate people
  • We must activate our spiritual gifts (1 Timothy 4:14-15)
  • We must make passion for Jesus Christ a priority in our lives.

Consistent enthusiasm and passion come from within as a result of our relationship with Jesus Christ, rather than being dependent on changing circumstances.  Inconsistency confuses, discourages and de-motiviates.

Let us be women of passion and excitement for the Lord!

Truth to Claim:  Our passion for Christ is not dependent on our circumstances.

 Application:  Commit to live with passion regardless of the circumstances.

 Solo Deo Gloria