I love the Word of God. It cuts to the very chase. It rightly divides the truth. It is relevant for me today. If I am in the Word, I am out of this world. If I am out of this world, then I am in the Word. Beth Moore says, “Our great challenge is to take our place in loving ministry to a lost world without getting lost in worldly loves.” If I am in the Word, then I am not getting lost in worldly loves. This has been proven in my life over and over and over.
What are worldly loves? We know about the lust of the flesh and the jealousies that consume. We know about the sins of slothfulness, of gluttony, but can worldly loves be beautiful things like family? Beautiful things like serving in church? Beautiful things like a job we love?
One of the most frustrating things is trying to put into words what God is revealing to me daily through His Word. I love I and II Peter and have been reading through that message. I have literally spent hours devouring these very short passages but I want to make sure I thoroughly glean every morsel and try to understand God’s message for me. First of all, you must understand that God’s message for me is not necessarily God’s message for you. That is another beautiful thing about Scripture: it speaks to the individual.
Can beautiful things be worldly loves that must find their place in God’s plan for your life? Most certainly. I love my family beyond measure. I love my husband. I love my boys and their wives and their children. I love my parents, my sisters, their families. I love my in-laws. But God’s Word tells me that if I love these more than Him, then I have no place of service for Him. I love serving in the church. But God’s Word tells me that if I do not love Him and love the church, then I am a clanging cymbal and useless. I love my job (some days!) but God’s Word tells me that my work is worship and that if I am not worshipping Him through my work, then I am a failure.
I would love nothing more than right now be preparing Sunday lunch for my boys, their wives, and their children. Sunday lunch with family is a delight. But it is not in God’s plan for me right now. I have wrestled with this for the last five years. I keep telling God that time is short and I need all the time I can get with my family. God’s Word says, “that with the Lord, one day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years like one day.” His plan included sending Jesus to die in the place of my family so that our fellowship would last throughout eternity. It doesn’t make it easier, but it brings peace to my heart. God’s Word also has told me that His promises are true and that He is “not slow with His promise, but is patient toward me.” Through this, I have learned that His timing is perfect timing. Mine is not to question but to listen and obey.
I would love to be serving in a church right now. But, I have also been that route in useless service. I was serving self and not serving others. God has rebuked me and my prideful attitude. He has told me, through His Word, that I am “lukewarm and He will spit me out.” He has kept me from serving so that my attitude would be His and not mine. The temptation is great, however, I have learned that serving Him includes serving my family – particularly my husband – and that the quiet heart of service is an immensely challenging job and humbling. “Humble yourself in the sight of the Lord, and in due time, He will lift you up.”
I use to love my job and I am struggling this year. But I am struggling because I love me more. Tomorrow I am going to challenge myself to think about how this work is worship to Him. I work with children who have no past that they can remember and give no consideration to their futures. They live for this moment and fail to see why work is necessary and they fail to see why effort is necessary for a future. It is a sad commentary on teen-agers today who live in lower middle class situations. But it is because they are lost and see no eternity. How can I give them glimpses of eternity in a public school setting where God is not invited? God’s Word tells me “Apply all diligence, in your faith supply moral excellence, and in your moral excellence, knowledge, and in your knowledge, self-control, perseverance, and in your perseverance, godliness, brotherly kindness, and in your brotherly kindness, love. For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they render you neither useless nor unfruitful in the true knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
In my life, I have had the privilege of holding membership in two of the largest churches on the East Coast. I have read books by famous Christian authors. I have traveled on mission trips. I have moved so many times and met so many wonderful people. I have had the love of a man that adores me in spite of me and I have raised young men that love the Lord in spite of me. But, it is the Word of God that speaks to me. It is the Word of God that chastises me. It is the Word of God that holds me together through His Holy Spirit.
“You therefore, beloved, knowing this beforehand, be on your guard so that you are not carried away by the error of unprincipled men and fall from your own steadfastness, but GROW in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be the GLORY, both now and to the day of eternity. AMEN.”