It started with a question I’ve been carrying around: Why is it that there is such a gap between the things we know and the way we live?
I should rephrase that and drop the ‘“we” and replace it with “I”:
Why is it that there is such a gap between the things I know and the way I live? And, what do I do about it?
3 weeks ago, my pastor started a sermon series called First Five. Every week, for 5 weeks, he is highlighting 5 key verses that can help us orient our days and point our focus in the right direction. The second week he encouraged us to memorize this verse:
“Search me, God, and know my heart. Test me and know my concerns. See if there is any offensive way in me and lead me in the everlasting way.” Psalm 139:23-24
I’ve heard the verse before, but Pastor Andy encouraged us to look at it in a way I had never considered: Isn’t it interesting that God is the one doing the work? He does the searching and testing and leading.
My role is one of stepping aside and letting Him do the work.
What would happen if I started my days by stepping aside? I’ve had it backwards.
For years, I’ve understood that there was nothing I could do to make myself worthy before God. Deep in my soul, I know that Jesus is the only way I can stand before a holy God, but I’ve lived in a way that has said, “Thanks Jesus, I’ll take it from here.”
Phil 1:6 says this, “He who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.”
In her beautiful devotional book, Ruth Chou Simons says, “Paul’s words assure us that Christ is both the Author and the new life in us through redemption and the one who brings it to completion. . . perfected, finished, whole and lacking nothing.”
During this season of change, I feel anxious to charge through and find my footing as quickly as possible, but I keep hearing a voice that’s saying that this isn’t the time for doing. It’s the time for listening, learning, and leaning on Jesus.
He is the doer, the author, the perfector, the finisher.
Sharon Hodde Miller, in her book, Free Of Me: Why Life Is Better When It’s Not About You, writes about the power of changing our self-focus to a Jesus-centered focus. My favorite chapter is one where she writes about what happens when we make God about ourselves. She talks about Moses and Jeremiah and how they questioned God’s call. All they could see was how they weren’t gifted enough. I underlined the notes in the the chapter about God’s response:
“Rather than assure Jeremiah he was talented for his age, that he had great leadership skills and a terrific personality, God simply affirmed his own self: “Do not be afraid of them for I am with you and will rescue you.” (1:8) Once again God directed his servant off of his own limitations and on to the limitless God.”- Sharon Hodde Miller, Free Of Me.
The more I’ve listened, the clearer the answer to my question has become. The solution to bridging the gap between what I know to be true and how I actually live my life is found in getting myself out of the way.
P.S. Free Of Me releases on October 3rd. There are some goodies for pre-order. Check it out here.