I recently came inside from reading through a magazine issue on my family’s front porch. As a high school girl who followed the blog of Mary Kate Robertson, I desired to get Issue 11 of Deeply Rooted. Mary Kate was interviewed in this issue. Years after getting the magazine, I look back at the central message of wisdom and realize how transformative this resource has been to God teaching me new things. It was in this magazine that Jesus made my heart wonder and learn the difference between beneficial and permissible.
Now as I have gone through the whole book again, I have identified three main areas of struggles I need to work on. A Bible verse that comes to my mind is 1 Corinthians 10:12 (ESV). “Therefore let anyone who thinks that he stands take heed lest he fall.” Many of us can get into a wonderful rhythm of living in God that we forget that we, ourselves, are still apt to fall into sin if we are not careful. You and I, although seeking after Jesus’ heart, can become blind to sins in our own lives.
The purpose of this post is to share my three current areas of struggles in hopes that it awakens your heart and opens your spiritual eyes to understanding your own areas in need of work. Only by God’s revelation and His help are we able to overcome the issues we face. Being reminded that we are not perfect is one of the only ways we will become better and more closely reflect the character of God.
- Giving to All Who Ask
Luke 6:30 (ESV) tells us, “Give to everyone who begs from you, and from one who takes away your goods do not demand them back.”
This verse really stood out to me because I often find myself locking my car doors and ignoring people on the sides of Chick-fil-A stores or stop signs. My mom and I have always had the intention of creating gift bags for people on the corners of streets. We have yet to do that and I honestly imagine people trying to pull me out of my car if I extend a goody bag. This sounds ridiculous, but how often do we ignore those begging for love? We will not know someone’s true intentions for standing where they are at, but it is always a fact that they need to experience the love of God. Do you find it hard to extend your arm and God’s love to people you do not know? While reading the Deeply Rooted magazine this past weekend, I was continuously reminded to REMEMBER JESUS. He left Heaven to come and give His life for us. He knew the filthy intentions and motives of our actions and still used love as His most powerful weapon. 1 Peter 4:8 (NIV) exclaims, “Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.” Love from God is our most powerful weapon whenever we use it for His glory fulfilling the missions He has called us to complete.
- Loving My Neighbor As Myself
I have to be honest with you. I became agitated with a neighbor of mine a few months ago. I literally live in the country surrounded by some sweet people. I will not lie though. There are some people I do not look at and want to be best friends with. I think you get my drift thinking of your own neighborhood. We are naturally selfish people and often want to enjoy our own spaces without any interruptions. My mom and dad are both awesome whenever it comes to serving our neighbors. My dad will do work on farms and even care for people’s pets whenever they are out of town. My mom shares food with close neighbors and always wants to call and check in with them. She even visited almost all of our neighbors around Christmas inviting them to come celebrate the Lord at our home last December.
This post is about asking God to reveal the hard truths about ourselves. There are still things we need to work on. For me, I was convicted by Matthew 12:28-31 (NIV). The verses share, “One of the teachers of the law came and heard them debating. Noticing that Jesus had given them a good answer, he asked him, ‘Of all the commandments, which is the most important?’ ‘The most important one,’ answered Jesus, ‘is this: ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.” I grew up believing that my neighbor was any person I came in contact with. After displaying love to cashiers at random places and people I meet in my favorite stores, I found it easier to love strangers than some of those I live close to. Don’t get me wrong. I really do love my community. I am just being really honest with you. It is sometimes easier to love people we will never see again than those we share roads and property lines with. Our neighbors are all people, but how well are we loving those God has placed in our backyards? Are we truly loving our physical neighbors as much as we love and care for ourselves? My current would be, “No. I care for them, but my efforts to them are slack compared to the time I spend on myself.” What would your honest answer be to this question? Jesus says that the greatest thing we can do is to love Him with everything we have. The second most important thing He has commissioned us to do is to love other people as ourselves. Maybe you love others better than you love yourself. Make sure you tend to your own heart in a manner worthy of the way you are called to love others. Don’t put yourself down or view yourself negatively, brother or sister. Continue to remind yourself and those around you of how valuable each of you are to the Lord.
- Seeing My Church as A Body in Marriage
Yes, I know this sounds crazy. Once again, an article inside of the Deeply Rooted Magazine was used by God to reveal another area I need help in. In church settings, it is so easy for you and I to focus on how we do not fit in or have much in common with those around us. We can try to pick out the flaws in others, sit at home in isolation, or get tired of even serving in ministry because of issues we see.
The enemy’s biggest goal is to separate the church because you and I are called by God to live in unity. The church is God’s bride. It is not a building we come to once a week or a specific Facebook page we hop on every Sunday morning. If I am being honest, we have been giving the enemy too much ground in having a foothold in the church. I was deeply encouraged by the article author named Théa Rosenburg. If you find yourself looking around your church wondering where the people like you are at, this is for you.
1 Corinthians 12:16-18 (ESV) says, “And if the ear should say, ‘Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,’ that would not make it any less a part of the body. If the whole body were an eye, where would be the sense of hearing? If the whole body were an ear, where would be the sense of smell? But as it is, God arranged the members in the body, each one of them, as he chose.”
This verse fuels me with hope because God has placed you and I in specific church bodies. He has chosen US to play a significant role in building and growing a healthy body. Rosenburg powerfully wrote, “We feel the most left out in the places where our gifts are sorely needed.”
Maybe the enemy continues to remind us of our church’s flaws and reasons we do not fit in because he knows how deeply our gifts are needed in the body God has placed us in. If a physical body lost the ear God created for it, hearing would be gone. In the same way, if we act on our own and leave the body God placed us in, we will leave our church without the gift of hearing specific things only God has gifted us to do. Once again, we must REMEMBER JESUS. Mark 10:45 (ESV) sets a high example for us. “For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.’” Yet again, you could say I was convicted. Instead of becoming tired that we are the people pouring into our church bodies and sometimes rarely being fed by others, we know that our purpose is to serve. In a healthy marriage, it is wrong for an individual to sit down and demand to be served without serving the spouse. We aren’t called to focus on ourselves. We are called to forsake our own desires to meet the needs of others. Wow. Not fitting in with groups or even your circle of church family is not a bad thing. You offer something unique. Your place there is needed and valuable. No where on this earth is our home and until we are with Jesus for eternity, our hearts will not be in the place they were originally intended to be.
This post is very different than usual, but I can attest that God is working in new ways. He answers our prayers and wants to use our lives for good and most importantly, for His glory. It is fun and light to focus on the ways we are growing good fruit. It takes more effort and some pain to sit down and detect the ways we need God’s help to be more complete. I listened to Georgia Brown’s Faith and Friends podcast episode with Taylor Hardy yesterday. Taylor mentioned how being married to her husband Danny opened her eyes to filth in her life she never noticed before. In the Deeply Rooted Magazine I continue to mention, Mary Kate Robertson shares the wise words of her friend Ginna Claire. “Marriage is like a big ugly mirror where you are finding out all these things about yourself that you never realized before. But while you are discovering these ugly things, you’ve got someone walking beside you loving you through it.” This coincides with Taylor Hardy’s thoughts and challenge to ask God to reveal the dirty parts of yourself to you now. Don’t wait until marriage to make you realize the selfishness and areas of ugly lingering around. This post isn’t to make us feel like dirt. It is a challenge to pray and ask God to reveal the specks of dirt still hiding out in the corners of our lives. Our goal is to be holy and blameless before Him. That requires digging into hard things and allowing Him to continuously clean us.
What are the dirty parts of you that still need to be revealed? Will you ask our Father to show you ways you need His cleansing, help, and renewal? What topics in this post have challenged or encouraged you to be more like Christ while recognizing your struggles?
Seeking to become more like Jesus with you,