Thursday, September 21, 2006
I have recently been reading The Jesus Creed by Scot McKnight. This morning, I read a chapter titled "Abiding in Jesus." It opened with the story of Martha and Mary and the time that Jesus visited their home. Martha was running around like a chicken with its head cut off. Doing this and that, worrying about her own needs to be doing the things that she felt needed to be done since Jesus was there in her home. She was growing impatient with her sister, Mary, who, instead of running around preparing things, was sitting at the master's feet, abiding in Him.

This reminded me so much of my mornings. I typically get up at 5 a.m. or a bit earlier, with the intention of praying and doing some Bible study and other reading and perhaps checking in on my email and planning for the day before I hit the shower around 6. All too often, though, I start worrying about my "self" -- the things of this world -- and my email and planning time expands to fill the majority of that hour instead of just 15 or so minutes. Rather than putting the emphasis on abiding in Jesus, I put the emphasis on my "self" and my needs in this world. And, again all too often, my Bible study becomes Bible reading instead -- just reading the words in order to get through them rather than reflect upon and study them and make them apart of my life going forward.

Then I remembered how last evening, as I dropped off Evan at the church for Wednesday evening kids' programming, I ran into a good friend from church, talked to him, and spent a few minutes with him. But rather than really abide in that time with a brother in Christ, my mind was all over the place thinking about things I needed to get done, places I needed to go. I was too busy with all of my "self" stuff to really abide in Christ through fellowship with a good friend. I thought of how my behavior short-changed my relationship with Christ and was probably just flat-out rude to my friend.

This morning, I started reading the book of Nehemiah. Chapter 1, verse 11 reads "O Lord, please hear my prayer! Listen to the prayers of those of us who delight in honoring you..." How can I expect God to really pay attention to me if I am not abiding in and paying attention to Him? I have had a lot of focus lately on trying to let His love flow through me but yet, in order to do that, I must be abiding in Him rather than worrying about my "self."

And then, as if I needed another 2 x 4 upside my head (which I did) in order to get this all through to me, following is the email devotional I received from Steve Troxel this morning. Do you think God's trying to get through to me? Wow.


Jehoiakim was king of Judah just prior to the first Babylonian invasion in 605 B.C.. He had become comfortable in the security of the palace, and an alliance with the Egyptians made him feel even more protected. But Jehoiakim led the people of Judah further away from God; "he did evil in the eyes of the Lord, just as his fathers had done" (2 Kings 23:37).

God sent the prophet Jeremiah to warn Jehoiakim and the people of Judah that disaster would come if they did not repent; "If you do not listen to Me and follow My law..., then I will make this city an object of cursing among all the nations of the earth" (Jeremiah 26:4,6). But with his every need and desire fulfilled - and with all his fears removed - Jehoiakim did not see a reason to listen to God.

Jeremiah 22:21 "I warned you when you felt secure, but you said, 'I will not listen!' This has been your way from your youth; you have not obeyed."

We spend the majority of our lives building security in our job, finances, and relationships. But security within the world system is extremely shallow and deceptive; "Do not store up for yourselves treasures {security} on earth, where moth and rust destroy, where thieves break in and steal" (Matthew 6:19). We ought to be thankful for every one of our earthly blessings, but we should NEVER receive our "security" from the world. Our complete dependence must always remain on our Heavenly Father, and our eyes and ears continually open to His leading.

Our daily walk is made one slow step at a time as we "trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding" (Proverbs 3:5). Usually, we are allowed to see only the next few steps; "Your Word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light for my path" (Psalm 119:105). But our true security, peace and comfort, comes from simply knowing we're on His path, not from feeling we control the direction or pace of the journey.

This security begins with faith in Jesus Christ and builds on a pure love which flows from the innermost part of our heart. Even activities such as church attendance, Bible study, or work in various ministries mean nothing without a faith based love; and these well-intended actions become a false security when they replace the need to abide in the presence of God or daily seek His direction.
Let's not allow our lives to develop a sense of security which shuts out the need for God and the absolute hunger for His presence. Our walk of faith will always require stepping into the unknown where all we have is what He provides - and a loving trust is confident that His provision is enough! Let's lean on Him, love Him, and draw ever closer. Let's seek true security by only being secure in His presence.

  posted at 5:54 AM  

At 2:22 PM, Anonymous Lorna said...

I needed this . Thanks!

Seek FIRST his kingdom ...


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Todd M


An ordinary guy. A wife I love very much. A great son. Wonderful friends. A metal roofing business and a sales training business. A loving church family. A few trade associations. A Christian school. And a four-pound poodle. Just trying to follow God and see where He leads.

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