Friday, January 20, 2012

Easily Distracted

A Devotional by Margot Cioccio
Take Forgiveness!
 
Luke 10:40 


But Martha was distracted with much serving, 
and she approached Him and said, “Lord, do 
You not care that my sister has left me to serve 
alone? Therefore tell her to help me.”


Its interesting the things that distract us from sitting at the Lords feet and hearing what he has to say. For Martha it was serving and being the perfect hostess. She was doing good things and even following the cultural and even a biblical mandate to be hospitable.

So this morning I have gotten a wee bit distracted from my quiet time. First by face book - I was just going to check in for a second but then got a private message from a friend in India and another from a friend in Ohio. Both great folks to talk with and maybe it was the Holy Spirit that sent me over there so I could some how bless and encourage them. More than likely it was just me being distracted. Whatever the case it is fortunate that we have a snow day today and I can roll my quiet time forward a bit.  I may even be a bit distracted by needing to get this post written. So I think I will pause on this and go sit at the Lord's feet for a bit and then come back and finish up -
You would not even notice if I didn't tell you. Oh and if you are thinking I am some super christian that has it all together - think again. I am easily distracted.

So I am thinking about my tendency towards being a bit driven. I always feel there is a lot that I should be accomplishing for the Lord. To some how be leaving a legacy for others to follow. I think there is a fine line between being led by the Spirit to do those things and being driven to keep busy because I want to avoid dealing with the broken places. Sometimes, not always, being busy is my escape from having to face things that I know Jesus wants to deal with. He is very patient with me.

So this morning He sent me to read Matthew Henry's devotional in a book called Grant Me Wisdom. The January 20th passage looks at Galatians 3:2-3  This only I want to learn from you: Did you receive the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith? 3 Are you so foolish? Having begun in the Spirit, are you now being made perfect by the flesh?

There were, back in that day a bunch of folks that were trying to be super Christians by adding to their faith works of the law. If they could become religious enough - pray enough, do enough good deeds or works, study enough, serve enough they would some how rank themselves higher in God's eyes and in his favor. Sadly the more they leaned towards legalism and works the farther they moved from the truth of the gospel. It is an easy trap to fall into. 

Micah 6:8 simplifies things even for those still in his time living under the law a few hundred years  before God sent Jesus. "He has shown you, O man, what is good; And what does the LORD require of you But to do justly, To love mercy, And to walk humbly with your God?"

So here is my point the Lord may be calling you to do and accomplish various things. He may be training you in spiritual disciplines, to spend more time in prayer, to fast, to study the word. Those are all good things to add to your life. My caution is to be careful that you think by becoming a "super Christian" that you will better justify yourself before the Lord.  Keep in mind that our righteousness is like filthy rags before a Holy God. It is easy for those of us who struggle with being performance oriented to slip into Spiritual workism.  I have to really watch this myself.
 I can go a long way on my own strength and will and then realize all this stuff I am doing and have spinning is my own busyness. I know the Lord shakes his head at me and says  like he did to Martha "Margot Margot, you are worried and troubled about many things. 42 But one thing is needed, and Mary has chosen that good part, which will not be taken away from her.”    

Ok so what was the one thing that Mary managed to get right? To find out we need to go back a bit in the story.  39 And she had a sister called Mary, who also sat at Jesus’feet and heard His word.
Ahh come on - I can hear you saying it - it can't be that simple.
She was found to be sitting with the lover of her soul. Listening to his every word as if it was amazing and transforming. Everything came to a halt when Jesus arrived that day at her home. Nothing mattered except being with him.

The Lord says to the church at Ephesus in Revelation 2:3-5
3 and you have persevered and have patience, and have labored for My name’s sake and have not become weary. 4 Nevertheless I have this against you, that you have left your first love. 5 Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent and do the first works, or else I will come to you quickly and remove your lampstand from its place—unless you repent.

Yikes they are doing all kinds of good things and they have not given up when things became hard but oops their motivation got messed up and they lost their first love.  They were not doing and living out of a thankfulness and love for the Lord. Ouch and Jesus calls them on it and says they need to repent.

What about you - have you lost sight of your first love. What is motivating and moving you currently is it a drive to be good enough, to be a super good Christian, to become spiritual enough to be acceptable enough in your own eyes to stand before a Holy God.   Dude.... you are heading the wrong way. Time to make that u-turn back to the feet of Jesus.

Jesus asks for us to believe in Him. He sends us the Holy Spirit to lead us and guide us. He does prepare wonderful things for us to do and invites him to join Him in serving and reaching out to others with His love. He does not want us to ever loose our love relationship with Him.

Has yours faded a bit, have you become busy and distracted?
Lord help us to see where our motivations are off and help us to get back to the center of that love relationship with you. That relationship that is not based upon our merit or goodness. When everything in us cries out that we are not good enough, clean enough, holy enough, Christian enough, faithful enough, committed enough, strong enough, together enough .....
Remember that Jesus is more than enough and He loves you and wants to be part of everything that you are part of. He wants your heart, your mind, your body, the whole you, the good, the bad, and even the grey areas. He accepts you, and loves you. He loves me and helps reel me in when I get too busy and loose sight of what is really important. He needs to be the main thing. "Keep the main thing, the main thing" a wise leader named DL Browning used to say as he would hold up one finger and point towards heaven. Is Jesus your main thing? Maybe there are some things that are sitting on the throne of your life that are crowding Jesus from His rightful place of Lord, King, First Love in your life.

Prayer:
Lord help us to examine our lives and our motivations and to make sure we are not over complicating being in love with you. Help us see where we are adding "works" to try and shore up our feelings of un worthiness, or feelings of not ___ enough. Help us to find our center in you. Allow your love to so saturate us that in whatever your Spirit leads us to do today it would be part of that great dance of love between the Father, The Son, and the Holy Spirit. Thank you Lord that you invite us to be part of all that you are. Heal us and set us free in you to enjoy your presence and to walk in it step by step as you move us along in your plans and purposes.

I leave you with a song that ministers to me. I found someone on youtube doing a nice job of it. If you are reading by e-mail - click the blue title to enjoy the video of this song. It kind of recaps the heart of what I am saying today - simply accept what Jesus has already done for you. Stop striving and relax in His presence and allow him to simply love you.

  Take Forgiveness.

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