THE CHRISTIAN WALK, The Simple Life

How clean is my heart?


Today I am sitting at home trying to rest and I wonder if a woman ever does so. I haven’t had help in the house for three weeks and it has been interesting. I have had time to appreciate the work my help does and realise that I do a lot too. The beauty of my line of work I can work from anywhere; the challenge has been that I have another full-time job on my plate and I didn’t anticipate just how much it would be. Several days I have been full of energy then I remember the days I have had to go out for meetings and all and my energy levels have been less than ideal in the evening. Just enough to get home keep the young man entertained and do dinner. Once we have eaten and I lie on the sofa I crash in the real sense of the word crash.

The work in the home is unending and if you live where I do close to the road with many trucks it can be daunting at times. There have been days when I have just reached the main door and realise that there is a new layer of dust forming as I stand there because a truck passed outside when I opened the door. I know now that there are things that may look undone at the end of every day that were done but were messed up by the location of the house. Will I move? No way! I love this place and I know that one day the trucks will be blocked as other residents build their homes and block the ‘panya’ routes they use.

But back to the house! There are rooms we clean very carefully and everyday and others that are cleaned thoroughly at a different frequency. I am thinking of the kitchen and the bathroom versus the bedrooms and the living room. We buy special cleaning materials and detergents. We take extra care and train the help extra hard with the skills needed to keep the chances of disease at bay. Of course we clean all rooms well and move the furniture to clean underneath it and behind it and on a monthly basis we do thorough cleaning and then maybe once a quarter we do spring cleaning or is it once a year? All in all we spend time daily to clean out our rooms and keep our homes clean and healthy to live in.

It makes me think about my life. I must clean out all the rooms of my life on a daily or monthly or quarterly basis and be consistent at it. Yet I wonder if I do so with as great a frequency as I should. There are rooms I don’t know when I last cleaned out. There are other rooms I work on daily and yet they are still kind of messy. In the recent past I have often heard the statement; “Die to self daily.” What does it mean? How do I do it?

The man of God said it and I mentioned it before “obedience is easy unless self is in the way.” I understand self to be those things that are me and not of the Spirit of God. Things that my human heart holds onto that have a negative consequence in the spiritual walk I am on. They are things that hold onto me or I hold onto that are detrimental to my spiritual growth. These are the things I need to die to daily and remove from my life. I am better off without them. I think of things like irritability, a bad temper, lies, envy, disobedience etc. on the other hand it could be things that in and of themselves do not seem to be evil but are leading me away from the desired path. Things like procrastination, the desire to see before believing; the need to confirm and re-confirm the word of God, slow responses to the word, the list is endless.

How do I deal with self? I must wake up each day and connect with God and lay my heart on the altar for him to make new. Every moment from then on is another opportunity to keep my heart on track. This is what Paul was talking about in Romans 12:1 when he says…offer your body as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God which is your reasonable service. This implies that it is purely a voluntary act. There will be moments when I wonder what is going on and how to make it, or someone does something and I feel the anger rising in me, or I see something I have always wanted with someone I may feel doesn’t deserve it and I feel jealous or I find something I really wanted finished and want to blame someone or a long list of other things. My role in these situations is to remember those things that God has spoken over my life and still my heart to his will.

It is incredible that when I find peace and strength in the promises of God over my life that I am can overcome inappropriate feelings and emotions. When I am convinced that God’s word over me is true and will come to pass regardless of my current circumstances, I will be able to walk in the way that he has set out for me and die to flesh every day. An interesting scripture I found is John 6:63… It is the Spirit that gives life; the flesh profits nothing. The words I speak to you are spirit and they are life. If it is the spirit that gives life then I must plug into the Spirit at every opportunity and walk in him and achieve everything God has set out for me.

 My heart will be well and true when I am continually connected to the Spirit of God.

THE CHRISTIAN WALK, The Simple Life

OBEDIENCE:


These last few weeks I have been working through the whole lesson of obedience. There are things in my life that I have needed to do but have not had the guts to do yet despite the fact that I know there are far-reaching effects of not doing them. I know you know what I am talking about when I say that often it is harder to do the things we know we should do. Even Paul said “The things I want to do, I do not but those I do not want to do, I do.”

You see, for as long as I know what I need to do and do not do it I live in disobedience to my Lord. However, being as human as I am and working with what I have, leaves me often sorely incompetent to achieve the desired goal and fearful to no end. I struggle with doing things that will alienate me from people more because I don’t want to carry the weight of a broken or bruised relationship. How ironic, because doing nothing hurts me and leaves me unable to be the kind of person I need to be. Catch 22 huh?

As I have thought through things I have realised that the greatest motivator not to do anything is FEAR. When we need to put in a resignation letter fear of the next step makes us sit on it. When we need to leave a relationship that is not working fear of rejection and/or loneliness keeps us in it. When we need to start a business fear of failure keeps us in employment. When we need to take the next step in our walk with Jehovah and it is a strange one fear of the loss of control makes us do nothing.

I had to overcome the fear of following Jehovah recently by doing his bidding unconditionally. The thing I could not explain is that I was petrified. The strangest thing was the desperate fear that letting go would make me fall flat on my face. Ok, I know God loves me and wants the best for me but at this point I could not bring myself to do what I needed to do. After a lot of soul-searching I realised that I had lost my faith and trust in God’s ability to sort me out and was depending on myself for solutions. So I asked myself, when did I lose this ability to trust? What happened to me and where did it happen?

I believe it all started I begun working with my hands and I learnt to provide for my needs. Isn’t it ironic that I say I was providing yet I wasn’t the one providing but it was Jehovah and I had just lost perspective? In the scheme of things opportunities opened up and after a while I lost the conscious remembrance that it is He who creates options then I find and fill. The loss of faith and trust begun with a subtle move from the extraordinary to the ordinary of just being able to put food on the table and make ends meet. In all honesty these provisions did not make up for the loss of a light and airy heart yet it never occurred to me that I had shifted my focus hence the stagnation. I had forgotten the freedom found in being in the centre of the will of Jehovah.

So, what did I do? I got to a place where my life wasn’t working as it needed to and I could only nothing on my own any more. In view of this I spent time sitting back and chilling learning to slow down and listen to the world around me. I found stillness in the quiet place and after I had sat still for a couple of days I begun to hear the birds chirping, the crickets creaking, the children laughing in school and many other things. It is strange…no surreal; to be in a place all by myself and be so at peace and in tune with nature…I must admit I am still developing that part. In the middle of this I turned back to Jehovah and asked him to speak to me and show me the way. His answer was strange ever so strange. He said, “You are standing in the way of your own destiny…you know what I have been asking you to do. Do it and then come back.” Only a father can say that to a child and it was the reality for me.

What I needed to do was hard and heartrending but seeing that I had no other way out I did what he had asked me to do and it was amazing. I can say that everyday from then a new step has been revealed and I am back to a place I cannot remember being for a while now. I love this place and realise that my destiny and peace in my life is pegged on my ability to listen and obey. I cannot say it is easy to follow everyday but the benefits and peace that comes with it makes I worth it. I love Jehovah and will do all I can to stay close to him

Just today I was reminded that the only way to be all I am called to be I must make obedience a lifestyle. So often we talk about the lifestyle of worship and never of obedience. My life has changed and I am free.

Obedience has set me free…how about you?