One of the reasons it is so vital to the Christian life that we meditate on God’s word is that meditating on God’s word provides the antidote, the answers, to the struggles we face moment by moment in our days.
I am a mom of seven kids. For some reason people think that means I have “the patience of a saint.” And I do, but only in the sense that all who trust in Christ are saints. In actuality, I am not patient at all. Part of me thinks God has given us seven kids because I need the extreme course on developing patience. One child wouldn’t be enough for me; I need an intensive program.
Having kids reveals all kinds of areas where I am not yet like Christ. Having lots of kids magnifies those areas to a point where I cannot miss them. Which makes my children a blessing on so many levels. Not the least of which is the blessing I have of growing more and more Christlike as God uses scripture to speak into these areas where I still succumb to the flesh rather than the Spirit.
One such area is serving others. I struggle to serve others sweetly. It’s not a pretty truth for a pastor’s wife or for a mom of seven, but there you have it. It is true.
I am exceedingly selfish.
This whole take-up-your-cross-and-follow-me thing is a lot harder than it sounds. Only when I am steeped in scripture do I even come close to seeing the false advertisements of the world for what they are and choose service over selfishness.
And there are all kinds of false advertisements out there trying to sell an empty happiness apart from identity in Christ and cheap peace that falls apart the first time you try to use it.
Let’s just look at the ever-popular concept of “me time.” It promises to return a mommy who is refreshed, recharged, with renewed energy for the duty that calls us back home. (Hang with me here… this ends a lot differently than it sounds at first…)
I don’t know about you, but I know when I try to re-enter our family after having an hour… day… week of “me time” I often experience a bumpy ride. I struggle with resentment, bitterness, and ungratefulness. For years I thought I just wasn’t getting quite enough “me time.” I thought I was not ready to “come back” because I hadn’t disengaged long enough to really get rested up before duty called.
That was when scripture reminded me that Jesus never took “me time.” Oh, he did take time out. Time away. He did get alone to refresh, recharge, and renew his energy for the task at hand. But he didn’t go to the Dead Sea Spa Treatment Center to recharge. He didn’t spend a day shopping to refresh. He didn’t linger over a cup of coffee with friends or indulge in a special treat at the bakery to renew his energy. He didn’t even go to the gym to build endurance.
He did pray. He did get up early, before the demands of his ministry life began, and spend time connecting with God. He did struggle with what it meant to lay down his life for his friends, to love his enemies, to serve God without serving self. Just think about that last night in Gethsemane. His “time away” was spent seeking the heart of God through fasting and prayer. His “me time” was really “let-go-of-me time.” He got away to reconnect with God, not to find himself. For Jesus it was never about “time for me.”
I don’t want to minimize the true importance of Spa Days, shopping, connecting with friends, and enjoying the many blessings (pastry and otherwise) God has woven into the pattern of living in his ways. I just want to put them in their place.
When we set the easier parts of serving God (coffee with friends) in opposition to serving God in our homes (bickering children, whining, unending laundry and hungry kids) we buy a lie and sow discontentment. We turn joyful service into begrudging duty. We end up enduring the challenges “serving God and others” for the hope of “time for me.” We are called to serve God for the hope of glory… his glory.
So here’s the plot twist.
Think about this: We are just as called to the cup of coffee with girlfriends as we are to provide food for our families.
We are just as called to care for our bodies as we are to care for the bodies of our husbands and kids and the clothes that cover them.
When we don’t spend time in scripture we tend to think of one part of our calling as duty and the other part as the reward. We fail to recognize our calling is to do whatever we do (eat, drink, cook, discipline, laundry, pedicure, exercise…) to the glory of God. His pleasure is our reward.
In God’s economy, there is no “me time.” Every moment is sacred.
Spa Days… Shopping Trips… Coffee Dates… Folding laundry… are all recognizably sacred.
Jesus “got away” to spend time with God so he was prepared to recognize how he was to serve moment by moment.
Jesus spent time alone with friends.
Jesus enjoyed delicious foods.
Jesus went to weddings and funerals and celebrated the lives of those around him.
Jesus lived every part of the human experience – joy, pleasure, exhaustion, weariness, relationship, humor, grief.
Every moment was all serving the Father – even when he enjoyed it. Especially when he enjoyed it.
Do you get that? Every single moment. Every tear, every laugh, every heart-to-heart, every broken heart, every sickness he healed, every comfort he accepted, every fish on the fire, every walk through a sunny field with friends… even every second on the cross.
It was all part of his calling.
He only “got away” to reconnect with the Father so he could recognize how he was to serve moment by moment.
Meditating on scripture does that for us.
We really do need to rise early or stay up late to spend time in communion with the Father.
We really do need to feast on the Word of God, not to the exclusion of Girl’s Night Out or in favor of Mount Washmore, but to prepare us for them.
Meditating on God’s word helps us recognize how we are called to serve moment by moment. Meditating on God’s word develops the wisdom to recognize if we are best honoring God by meeting with a friend, planting flowers in the garden, or disciplining a child. It all begins when we have had enough “me time” and are ready to prioritize a little “let-go-of-me” time with the Lord every day.
Speaking of recognizing how we are called to serve moment by moment… I am exhausted. (Who isn’t, right?) While I know I am called to write, I also know lots of things have been slipping through the cracks in my own home. Things I am called to do, like spending time with my kids (you’d think I do a lot of that by homeschooling, but that’s not what I mean. I mean spending time with them as people, not as those who need educating or feeding or dressing.) Things like fixing broken tables and chairs and gutters. Things like preparing for a mission trip this summer, planning engaging lessons for school next year, writing a Bible study on James, and visiting our extended family. And things like meditating on God’s word for what he wants me to hear, not what I’ll write about… Bottom line, I think I am called to a mini-break from publishing at Cultivate Grace.
So, I’m taking a “Spring Break.” 🙂
Which means you won’t get any posts for the next couple of weeks, BUT beginning in May you can expect more about spending time in God’s word and prayer on Mondays, a series about organizing a pantry (even if you don’t have one!) on Wednesdays, and more on Relational Wisdom on Fridays. And sometime in the fall (Lord willing!), look for a study on the book of James.