I just haven’t felt very “bloggy” lately, so I’ve just been silent for awhile. (and yes, I have laughed to myself at the irony of this blog being called “quiet ambitions”) Several of you have noticed and commented—and I’m ever so grateful to be missed!–but God has been talking and I’ve just tried to hush (even though it is often extremely difficult for me!) so I can listen and learn…because my main ambition in life is to become more like Him.
I wish I could say that I’ve been learning things so quickly that He’s had a difficult time keeping up and that, as a result, He’s had a whole lot to say, but that wouldn’t be true. In fact, He’s just been repeating one verse over and over—and actually, sometimes not even the full verse!
In one of my few recent posts, I talked about how my pastor had been teaching on spiritual warfare and had challenged our church members to memorize Romans 13:14. I wrote about how I had been riveted by the first phrase in that verse: “But put on the Lord Jesus Christ…” I’m still not sure how I had missed that for all these years! It was (for me, anyway) a novel concept that we could actually “put on” the Lord Jesus Christ as we dressed for the spiritual battles we all face on a regular basis. I found that portion of the verse particularly important because it tells me that there will be battles that I will face that are beyond my control or ability to fight without being wrapped up in Him. I think that’s a much bigger statement than it would at first appear to be…and I am still learning.
And then God decided to move on to the last part of that same verse: “…and make no provision for the flesh, to fulfill its lusts.” And you know what? I’ve found this portion to be just as riveting! Over and over, He’s repeated this to me in so many different places and situations that I’ve learned something else: some of it IS up to me. You see, left to my own devices, my flesh can—and WILL–lead me away from God , so I need to be particular about what I allow in my environment. I’ll need to monitor those things, events, places—and yes, even relationships—on which I spend my allotment of days. It means that I need to be more careful about what I read, what I watch and wear, what I buy, where I go and, yes, even what I eat. It says there will be those things I want to say and stuff I might like to spend time thinking about, but shouldn’t.
Ahhh. Some of you just shook your head and said something under your breath (or maybe even out loud) about those crazy Christians and their list of rules. Always trying to follow the list of dos and don’ts in favor of becoming even more holier-than-thou…and you’d be wrong about that…this time, anyway. (grin)
You see, I’m not trying to please God just so I can somehow earn His love and acceptance. I get that I’m already accepted by God and I’m so aware of the love He has for me that there are times when I’m just stunned by it! This verse isn’t just about me, however, even though I’ve heard it ring in my head as I’ve made decisions that were good and ring just as loudly as I deliberately made decisions that were bad for me over the past few weeks. This verse is also about you–yes, you—and it is about the little girl who delivered my slush at the drive-in this afternoon. It’s about the lady who checked me out as I bought groceries and the ones who answered my call to the insurance company and the doctor’s office. Scripture is never just about one person. It is about all of us.
Mainly, the second portion of this verse has been my reminder that God wants only the very best for me and that means boundaries are needed for my success and safety. I also need those boundaries for YOUR success and safety because I’m supposed to represent Christ to everyone I meet…and I don’t do a very good job of showing you how wonderful HE is when I’m out of control. In other words, I need to deliberately set some limits for myself so that you can better see the God who has no limits.
I’ll be honest and say that there are areas of my life that aren’t under control just yet. I have some things that I really struggle with and they are my constant reminders that I still have far to go. Some of these quiet days have been full of painful examples which illustrated exactly how far from “controlled” I am! Happily, they have also served as reminders of God’s great grace. He knows every single weakness. Every single mistake. Every deliberately bad choice…and He still invites me to be His ambassador…because I am still His so-dearly-beloved-I-could-eat-you-up-with-a-spoon child.
Grace. It is His invitation to represent Him even in my weaknesses that scream to the world that He’s not waiting on perfect people to serve Him. He wants all of us. More importantly, He wants all of us…because He loves without limits…so yes, that means, you, too.
Isn’t God fun?