Following Perfection Versus Jesus

I have been feeling led to study 1 Timothy for quite a while. As I study, I generally blog about whatever it is – that I am studying. The Timothy study is tugging at my soul frequently these days, reminding me of where I need to be.

Why haven’t I committed to this study? I have perfectionist tendencies and set lofty expectations I cannot realistically meet. My heart and physical abilities are in two separate places, and must be able to meet.

Developing Courage

We miss so much when we put everything on hold – in case we can’t follow through as planned. Our expectations cannot be more important than God and relationships.

Here is the thing: Perfectionist level expectations can strain those relationships and hold us back, to the point where we won’t immerse in our friendships or read our Bibles without the promise of expectations being met.

The Real Question

How willing are we – to step out in faith, where we trust Jesus Christ to make us courageous people?

We have been called to be strong and courageous. Every little bit we give to God is a worship offering. Just because we miss our own expectations, does not mean that we somehow miss His or those of loved ones. We have to be willing to lay down our own expectations, and exchange it for time with Jesus and those we care about.

Allowing Ourselves to Worship

It goes back to the truth of being a living sacrifice. When we give ourselves to God, we become an acceptable offering.

Jesus Christ is the key ingredient. We need Jesus to be the One leading us, even in our expectations. He is the One who enables us to set reasonable expectations for ourselves and those around us. So, let’s make our lives about our relationship with Jesus Christ.

While my best efforts aren’t enough, I have a Father whose resources are unlimited. This Father of mine is willing to help out His sons and daughters in any and every way – as we call upon His name. We may not meet our own expectations, but this is the place where we meet the grace and amazing love of our great God.

Choosing Wisely

Standing in this place of  God’s love and grace is where we can allow ourselves to make a trade. We can trade in our high expectations, for the opportunity to stand in awe and worship God – as we trust Him to make a way.

I hereby command you: Be strong and courageous; do not be frightened or dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go (Joshua 1:9, NRSV).

Friends, we must choose whether we want to follow our perfectionist tendencies or Jesus Christ – the Living God. Our lives are messy and out-of-control, which may lead the perfectionist march, but Jesus Christ is more than enough. He doesn’t have to try to be, for He is perfect!

As for God, His way is perfect: The Lord’s word is flawless; He shields all who take refuge in Him. For who is God besides the Lord? And who is the Rock except our God? It is God who arms me with strength and keeps my way secure (Ps. 18:30-32, NIV).

Until next time,

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A Day at the Hospital {The Prayer Offering}

Last night, I wrote about the goal in trials. My goal, during hard times, is to remember I am a daughter of the Most High God and allow this crucial identity to shape my thoughts, words, and actions.

Today, I was given the opportunity to put this into practice. I had an appointment at the county hospital. Things went right. Things went wrong. But, the biggest achievement? It was simply remaining as quiet as possible, as Trigeminal Neuralgia talked to Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome.

As long as I stay quieter on the rough days, I can avoid saying things that might hurt, rather than help, someone. My ability to control the kind of words – becomes harder, as the symptoms become more intense. The temptation to use hurtful words is definitely there.

The Heart-Felt Prayer

Today was a day of praying for God’s peace and presence. In my life, I have little control over how I feel on a given day (with the exception of my attitude).

What I can do is control how I respond to trials. So I responded, by “trying” to stay quiet. This was both easy and difficult. It was easy, until the moment of leaving the hospital to go home. Then, the overwhelming symptoms and impatience kicked into gear.

The good news is – I survived my long hospital day. I am preparing to have surgery in about 1.5 weeks. We had appointments scheduled for today and Friday, but by God’s grace and faithful prayers of others – I was able to get it all done today.

What We Need

The truth is. . . We need to pray over our souls for His peace and presence. This is what we need more than anything.

We can survive many things, but only with Jesus Christ leading the way. I don’t know about you, but nothing soothes my anxiety quite like the peace and presence of our great Savior, King Jesus, can.

If you are finding yourself in a rough spot tonight, begin praying over your souls for His peace and presence to overwhelm you. When we are overwhelmed by God, His presence, and unimaginable peace, we are in the best place possible to overcome our trials. They will not overcome us, but we will be able to overwhelm them with our relationship with God through Jesus Christ.

Lord Jesus, overwhelm our souls with Your peace and presence. We live in a difficult world. You remind us in John 16:33 that we will face troubles in this life, but You offer to us a peace that is nothing like this world’s. Overwhelm us with Your peace and presence. Thank You, Lord! Amen.

“Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything; tell God your needs, and don’t forget to thank him for his answers. If you do this, you will experience God’s peace, which is far more wonderful than the human mind can understand. His peace will keep your thoughts and your hearts quiet and at rest as you trust in Christ Jesus (Phil. 4:6-7, TLB).

I have told you all this so that you will have peace of heart and mind. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows; but cheer up, for I have overcome the world (John 16:33).

Until next time,

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The Most Humbling Worship Offering {Romans 12:1}

I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship (Romans 12:1, ESV).

We are urged by God to give Him our bodies – as a living sacrifice. God wants all of us, as we are today. He doesn’t want us to hold off – until our bodies or souls have made it closer to a version of perfection. God wants us, as we truly are.

I don’t know about you, but I don’t feel as though my body is worthy enough to be a sacrifice, or worship tool, for my great God. I feel so far from where I could be, in terms of my physical body, sensitive and overwhelmed soul, and yes even in my relationship with God through Jesus Christ.

I want for God to be given more of me. As I enter this new season of life, I have to remember God wants me as I am. Though unworthy, He accepts me. . . and invites me to come to Him as I am. I can lay down the mask of this false self, where I pretend to be more fine or spiritual than I am. I can lay down the expectations I can never meet.

Because Jesus Christ invites me to come, and boldly come to His glorious throne as Hebrews 4:16 teaches us, I can walk in fellowship with my Wonderful Savior and Prince of Peace. What makes the difference? It is in the assurance that Jesus Christ has purposefully chosen to have a relationship of constant communion with me, that I can freely offer my body as a living sacrifice.

While I may not have much to give, I can make the deliberate choice to give what I do have – to Jesus Christ.

This is about spiritual worship. This is not about seeing my offering as “too little.” Rather, it is about coming to Jesus with whatever I have to offer.

Jesus Christ is the King of all Kings, the Name above all names, and He has chosen to make my body His dwelling place. He has made the deliberate choice to love me, even when I am most unlovable.

He has chosen to make His presence known, even in the midst of physical hardships beyond my control.

Jesus Christ has chosen to love us. Even when we were once His enemies, He came to reconcile us with the Father. While our relationship with our heavenly Father was once shatter “beyond repair” (if left up to us, mere humans), Jesus Christ brought us into this glorious place of restoration through His suffering, death, and resurrection.

God is all powerful. He is the only One who can take our broken pieces, and make us whole.

This is what He is choosing to do, as He invites us to give Him the broken pieces of our lives, and turn them into a complete spiritual worship tool.

. . . We may not have much to offer, but how willing are we to give God what we do have to offer?

Week 7: 2 Thessalonians 1:11

With this in mind, we constantly pray for you, that our God may make you worthy of his calling, and that by his power he may bring to fruition your every desire for goodness and your every deed prompted by faith (2 Thess. 1:11, NIV).

It always stops me in my tracks, when I read “By His power, He may bring to fruition your every desire for goodness and your every deed prompted by faith.” Many of us have unmet desires we are waiting on. God can give us these desires, but it is up to God if they are fulfilled and when that fulfillment happens.

Let’s focus on the Lord, and give Him our heart’s desires!

Truth be told, it is about surrendering our desires to God and keeping our focus on Him. Our focus needs to be on drawing nearer to our King Jesus, not the dreams.

In the waiting and wondering period, we are learning to trust that God is working on our behalf. As we draw nearer, God is changing us from the inside – out. Look at what Philippians 2:13 teaches us – For God is working in you, giving you the desire and the power to do what pleases him (NLT).

The right kind of desires are given to us by God, and fulfilled by God in His timing!

Keep coming back to Jesus – our Redeemer. When we keep coming back to Jesus as our Redeemer, we will not be disappointed. We will be reminded of the abundant hope we have been given. Jesus Christ came for you and me.

Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners—of whom I am the worst (1 Tim. 1:15).

Called by God

While the God of the Universe gives us other desires, He gave us the ultimate desire for Him. God is the One who calls; what we are called to is God’s own kingdom and glory (Reformation Study Bible). We have been moved from a place of condemnation because of our sins (see John 3:16-17) and ushered into the presence of God (see Hebrews 4:14-16). It is a complete change in our destination.

Not only has He chosen to save us, we can enjoy His sweet presence – today!

Cleansed by Jesus

Through Jesus Christ, we have been saved and made new. His love for us is what made the difference in our lives. Jesus Christ is what matters in our lives, which is why we celebrate our Redeemer. He came for us, and is away. He is worthy of our praise and the One who makes us worthy.

Because of Jesus Christ, we can stand in His presence and enjoy our heavenly Father. We have been reconciled to God and He will make us worthy and cause us to grow in all areas of our lives. Now, that’s worthy celebrating!

Both past election and present growth are crucial. They are already children of God; they are to live lives governed by this reality. Thereby, Jesus’ name will be glorified and they in turn will be glorified in him. All of this is accomplished through grace (Asbury Commentary).

Week 6: 1 Thess. 5:16-18

Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus – 1 Thess. 5:16-18

This past week, God has been doing amazing miracles left and right. While I hold these miracles sacred, I can say this: It is things that have been a long time needed. These days, Jesus is showing me what it looks like to pray, have community with Him, pursue reconciliation, and how to have the faith to remove distractions from my midst.

Rejoicing.

Praying.

Giving thanks.

. . . on a continual basis and in all circumstance.

Memorizing and  Meditating Upon Scripture

As we memorize this Scripture, let’s take it to heart. I hope as you study, you take time to know the truth and learning how to put it into your life (I need to, as well). If we read the Bible as though it is a secular book, we will miss Jesus’ resurrection power!  As we study, let’s be willing to ask ourselves –

 

How do I take God at His Word, and allow Him to bring me healing as I submit all areas of my life to Him?

Today’s Scripture

. . . shows us how to live a godly life. This Scripture teaches us how to have the kind of attitude that makes us run toward Jesus. If we applied this Scripture to our lives, we would make drastic choices. We would notice distractions and remove them by His power, giving Him our daily habits.

Coming Away

Becoming prayerful, joyful, and thankful are three commands all rolled into one, as we think about what it means to come away with King Jesus. If we try to do these things on our own, they will seem impossible.(For me too!)

While our attitudes are called to reflect Jesus’, I know most of us struggle with our attitude. Just as we have to watch the tone of our voice with our community of friends, we have to watch the tone of our hearts.

Jesus wants to help us to get rid of the dirty parts of our hearts. The tone of our hearts, our attitude, can turn into something beautiful beyond words when we allow Jesus to come in.

Jesus is knocking at my door. He wants to come into my life, and commune with me. Jesus wants to hang out with me on a personal level. He doesn’t just want to see or talk with me on a Sunday morning, although He certainly takes joy in those Sunday mornings.

Jesus wants to spend today with us. He wants us to come away with Him. The intimacy we seek with our favorite person, is the kind of thing Jesus wants to have with us on a growing scale. He is our community, and loves to commune with us.

Live in me. Make your home in me just as I do in you. – John 15:4a, The Message