Often life is hard, but God is always good

Posts tagged ‘weary’

Am I worn out?

Photo Credit: Bo Insogno

Photo Credit: Bo Insogno

I pray you may know….”his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is the same as the mighty strength he exerted when he raised Christ from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms.” Ephesians 1:19-20

When I asked Jesus to “come into my heart” at age fifteen, I opened up to the Holy Spirit who came in His powerful presence; He entered my life and began to transform me.

But somewhere along the line, I succumbed to my own perfectionistic tendencies and the influence of other Christians, and began trying to be good.

After many years of living from this paradigm, I was intensely “weary and heavy laden” from my own efforts. (see Matthew 11:28-30) I was dried up, tired, powerless, and guilty for not doing or being enough.

To top it off, I was attending a church with others who lived the same way, but weren’t ready to admit it and, therefore, could offer no answers for my spiritual malaise.

Long story short, my family’s journey led us to a different place of worship where believers had rediscovered the power of the Holy Spirit.

We humans, especially middle-class Americans, tend toward an independent spirit; but that spirit lies to us subtly, whispering: “You can do it all on your own. If you are having trouble, just try harder!”

But I cannot just “gut it out”. Neither can you.

The fruit of the Holy Spirit in Galatians chapter 5, that many of us memorized as children in church, comes as a by-product of the dynamic working of a powerful God – not the outcome of our self-effort. “Power” shows up all over the Scripture; my favorite Bible translation (NIV) contains 135 references of the word in the New Testament.

I am definitely not making the claim that finding a new church is a magic answer for all who are spiritually heavy-laden.

The only two requirements to receive power are humility and willingness.

You are the only source of power, Lord.”

“I open my heart to the power of the Holy Spirit today to change me and bless others.”

Let ‘s pray this and see what happens:

“I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. “ Ephesians 3:16

What Does it Matter Anyway?

Photo Credit: Zuki  -  Creative Commons

Photo Credit: Zuki –
Creative Commons

“Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.” Galatians 6:9 (NIV)

I confess I get discouraged and weary. I have turned over a new leaf at this time of my life – by God’s grace.  The result of a life of discipleship is a loaded plate – raising children, loving a husband, and reaching out to others with sincere caring.  Sounds good, so why do I feel sometimes as if what I do doesn’t matter much?

It occurs to me that I was an overachiever as a student, finding the kudos of high grades and successful coursework extremely rewarding.  Now I don’t have much back patting.  No high marks, no awards, no letters of commendation.

How do I live without all that?

Several years ago I attended my husband’s Christian counseling conference in Colorado.  On the last evening of the week-long event I arrived early at the entrance to the hotel before the special concert performance and saw a man in jeans, a ratty sweatshirt and an old baseball cap unloading sound and music equipment all by himself from the back of a trailer.  As I made my way past him, I took a second look at his face.  It was our special guest, Michael Card.  The poet-scholar of the Christian music world was schlepping his own gear.

That is reality – We do good because it’s good – valuable for its own sake – not for the praise or recognition it might bring us.

Jesus knew how this worked:

“Be careful not to practice your righteousness in front of others to be seen by them.  If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven.  So when you give to the needy, do not announce it with trumpets, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets, to be honored by others.  Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full.  But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret.  Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.’  Matthew 6: 1-4 (NIV)

Remember that our Heavenly Father sees us, and will reward us in his way, in his time.

 

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