Out of the frying pan and into the fire: I was reading about how David was trying to stay away from King Saul in 1 Samuel because Saul was trying to kill David. It’s really interesting to me that God sent David a prophet in 1 Sam 22 & told David to leave the stronghold where he was staying & go back to Judah, where he was more vulnerable to Saul’s attempts to kill him – out of the frying pan and into the fire.
No one likes to be uncomfortable or in difficult situations. If you’re like me, we often look for the paths of least resistance & opposition, along with the areas of greatest safety and comfort. But clearly, this wasn’t how God was directing David in 1 Sam 22. It seems to me that we often trust God the least when we are the most comfortable ,)
We get to work with a really cool team of people & Tues mornings we make some time, as a team, to connect with God. This morning, we did an exercise around the definition of love in 1 Cor 13: love is & love is not. One of the things that is continuing to linger with me after this exercise is that love isn’t arrogant. I’ve been thinking about this idea & here are a few things for your consideration:
love connects but arrogance repels
arrogance is an exalted but erroneous perception of self
Being comfortable conjures up different things for different people. For some people, being comfortable can be the experience of sitting by a fireplace in a cozy blanket & reading a book. For other people, being comfortable is best described as being at a really fun and vibrant party. For me, I’ve been thinking about what it means to be comfortable and I’ve learned some interesting things to pass along to you:
being comfortable can sometimes be an impediment to a deeper relationship with God – discomfort usually makes me do something different
I never want my comfort zones to exclude God – indeed, life with God is a more accurate expression of who I really am
I’ve learned that I can be extremely comfortable in a variety of external situations because of an internal contentment that comes from some very sweet & rich communion with God
when I’m uncomfortable, I tend to lean into God better
I read this morning about how Jesus multiplied the fish & loaves for several thousand people & how they were in total awe of Jesus’ power. The very next day, the crowd tracked Jesus down & had an interesting discussion with Him about the multiplied fish & bread miracle. After reading about this (John 6), it seems to me that the crowd was coming after Jesus to keep doing the free food thing – who wouldn’t want free food?!?
But here’s the real challenge for those of us who follow Jesus: let’s stay connected to Jesus not merely for what He does, but moreso for WHO He is, keeping our intimacy with Jesus healthy, vibrant & transformational 🙂
Reece & I have been married for more than 18 years. We have 3 elementary age kids, busy schedules & lots of demands. Translation: it could be easy to lose our passion & interest in each other just to try & keep up with the demands of life.
I think I the same is true with God. If we aren’t careful, our relationship w God can get programmed, stale & detached. Here are a few ideas that could help you stay passionately in love with God:
*don’t let disappointment or bitterness be stronger than genuine love
*be a proficient forgiver
*stay in awe – God is always up to something divine ,)
*pour out your heart to God & receive in exchange everything God is
*watch for God in the mundane – you’ll be pleasantly surprised!!
*Remember that God is Three & knowing the Three will always blow your mind 🙂
*be willing to let God’s will be supreme over your will
Trust can be a tricky tightrope, particularly when you feel like your trust has been betrayed or when the circumstances all seem contrary to what you believe. So here are a couple of thoughts about trusting in ourselves, other people & God.
In short, I’m not too keen to put lots of trust in people or even in myself, since we are humans with flaws, weaknesses, failures, etc. On the flip side, trusting in God has lots better results, even when it seems difficult. But in all honesty, I’ve also been disappointed in God sometimes when I have a short term mindset. However, when I think about God’s intense & immense love for me, along w Rom 8:28-29 (all things work together for good . . . .), my trust & confidence in God increase. And best of all, the more & better that I trust God then the deeper our relationship grows. Indeed, trust is an essential ingredient for intimacy 🙂
I always want my fellowship with Jesus to be getting deeper & more vibrant. Some days my fellowship with Him seems to be deeper & more vibrant than others. But I’m reminded about my relationships in my husband. We most certainly have a good marriage, but there are lots of days where we just live together doing the daily routines and maintainence of family life. We talk about the daily schedule for our family, our responsibilities, etc. Just because every day in our marriage doesn’t have indescribable bliss and euphoria doesn’t mean that we’re not close or that we don’t have a good marriage. Quite the contrary.
I think this is also true w our relationship with Jesus. I think that some of the greatest fellowship & intimacy can come through including Him throughout the entirety of each day. Jesus loves to be an integral part of our daily living – hence, daily fellowship 🙂
Perspective has alot to do with our decisions & attitudes. Here’s an example: one of my kids just told me that they’re bored. When I suggested that we could skip the Christmas break & head back to school, they were suddenly “un-bored”. Lots of things are a matter of perspective. Along this line, I’ve been thinking lately about what it means to think about things from God’s point of view, based on Biblical insights:
How does God see the things with which I struggle in my life?
What is God’s perspective on the way I treat my mate?
What does God think / feel about how I interact with my kids?
What does God think about how I behave on my job?
What things / values are important to God?
How does God “feel” about the way I use my time, money & energies?
If you want to get to know someone really well, you have to do your best to understand things from their point of view. This takes time, intentionality, honor & humility. Getting to know someone else’s perspective tells them that they are important to you, that their values are significant & that they matter in your life. Getting to know God’s point of view is a noble adventure, worthy of our focus & energies 🙂
I like what Paul says in Philip 3:10 about knowing Christ, the power of His resurrection, fellowship of His suffering, . . . .
I’ve been thinking about this alot & here’s something to consider: i can find myself following strong people; people who have vision, strength of personality & character & those who are strong within themselves. I’ve been around LOTS of strong people – some politicians, Christian leaders, social leaders, etc & they’re very interesting people.
However, when it comes to connecting on a personal level, i find myself drawn to people who are flawed, who share their struggles & vulnerabilities. I think this is because i can easily relate to someone else’s frailties & failures in some ways better than a person’s strength. There’s a distinct fellowship & intimacy that can be experienced in hardship, weakness. Truth be known, i think most of us find it difficult to share our weaknesses. Our society applaudes strength, power, victory & not weakness, vulnerability & failure. Nevertheless, we’re invited to share in the fellowship of the sufferings of Jesus – bringing an intimacy w Him that is both distinct & beautiful.
I read this quote yesterday, “if things seem under control, you are just not going fast enough” – mario andretti (racecar driver). In the past (maybe not so distant past), i’ve had some challenges with driving too quickly. We could go into some humorous descriptions, but suffice it to say that when i was dating my husband, he complimented my driving, saying that, “you drive like you’re going somewhere.” He’s a diplomatic man 😉
Seems like everything in our world is fast & getting faster: iphones w 3G speed, wireless as opposed to high speed internet, faxes have become moribund & facebook lets us see what our friends are up to in almost real time. i’m a BIG FAN of this speed evolution, but its not beneficial in all contexts (i.e. speeding tix & that’s all i’m gonna say about that right now). Let me say to you that intimacy doesn’t grow & isn’t fostered at mach speed. My husband & i have been married for more than 15 yrs & our relationship has grown & deepened over time. We have a more indepth relationship now than we did when we were 5yrs married or 10yrs married, etc. I anticipate that our relationship will be even deeper when we’re 25yrs married.
Take this premise & consider God. I want a depth & intimacy w God that is indescribable. But i can honestly say that my intimacy w God has definately increased the most over the past 5 years, i believe largely due to the increased quantity of time that i’ve spent w Him. Time w God is an essential ingredient to intimacy w God. Time w God can come in lots of different contexts & formats, but being intentional about spending time w God expresses w your actions that God is important to you & that you desire to be with Him. Without such intentionality, intimacy w God can easily become an elusive & frothy expression lacking substance & grounding.