Soma leaders on the gospel, community and mission in the everyday…
Scrub those dishes.
I was doing dishes and trying to clean a transparent mixing dish, scrubbing away as hard as I could and no matter how hard I scrubbed I could not get the chocolate off it. I scrubbed and scrubbed but it just didn't seem to budge. Finally, minutes later, I realized that the chocolate wasn't on the outside where I was scrubbing of the "see through" dish, but on the inside. Dirt and crud doesn't come off unless you scrub where the problem is.
Isn't that true of my heart, I work so hard to make the outside of my life look clean by scrubbing, organizing, and controlling my circumstances and days. I order them so that I never have a reaction because I am never confronted with something that is too difficult for me. I compartmentalize my schedule in the name of efficiency and give my first loves preeminence in my schedule.
And then there is this verse that God brought me to yesterday:
I Peter 4:1-2 "Since therefore Christ suffered in the flesh, arm yourselves with the same way of thinking, for whoever has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin, so as to live for the rest of the time no longer for human passions but for the will of God."
The flesh here is all things pleasing to the flesh that we so easily fall into worshipping, control, pleasure, affections of others, athletic pursuits, approval of others, food, and all sorts of other things. I order my day, control my schedule, my finances, so that I can "balance" my day, getting just a wee bit of Jesus in, doing just enough so that I am still aloud to pursue really what my heart is after. In the name of priorities, I allow my flesh to have a little of what it is after. I, metaphorically, scrub on the dish trying to get it clean and so many of them look clean until we get a transparent dish that no longer lies about what is on the inside.
1 Peter calls us to suffer in the flesh to cease from sin. In other words, attack the dirt. Knife out ruthlessly those things that draw our heart away from the passion of the will of God (the will to know Him, delight in Him, to be captivated by Him alone). We need to clean where the dirt actually is and scrub ruthlessly. Arm yourself by making your flesh suffer so that you whole heartedly live for the will of God.
Oh, so many verses apply this same principle. I have been a white washed tomb this summer, complaining and being grumpy about so much of how I couldn't control my schedule, my running, and my time and lost "the will of God" entirely when it was fully free and available to me. I am a teacher and have months of time to experience Him, to delight in Him, and to rejoice in His salvation and love the people around me. But God has pursued my heart, not my activities, but the root of my heart. He has called me to "arm myself" but taking some things away from my flesh this summer and how beautiful it has been since He has. God be praise for freeing me from what I want. Oh my! So good to me.
Hey! Psalms 37:4 says, "Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart."
It is true! My heart is satisfied. My schedule is not in my control but I am satisfied. On top of that, crazy, but God's will to be known is spreading too, the moment I stop feeding my flesh and looked up, He brought me to His heart and makes disciples out of it. Crazy.
Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart. So much more I can say, but I trust God with your hearts. Find Him first and eliminate all else, arm yourself by putting to death the desires of your flesh that would stand before finding and knowing His heart. Stop scrubbing the outside, but rather put to death, choose to put to death fleshly ambition and arm your heart to find His presence. Celebrate and delight in that presence. Oh Jesus You are good!
Alright, back to the dishes.