“I’m running to Your arms
I’m running to Your arms
The riches of Your love
Will always be enough
Nothing compares to Your embrace
Light of the world forever reign”
During a recent quiet time I sang these words to myself that so many Christians are familiar with. I prayed that the Lord would help me to desire to embrace Him over other things that were creeping into my heart. The Lord brought to mind how he had saved me. Then he reminded me of how He saved his people out of Egypt and how they rebelled against Him by worshipping idols and complaining in the desert.
“I don’t want to be like your people who complained and rebelled after a rescue, Lord.”
I opened my bible to this…
“Fear not, nor be afraid;
have I not told you from of old and declared it?
And you are my witnesses!
Is there a God besides me?
There is no Rock; I know not any.” (Isaiah 44:8)
In my last blog post, I said that contentment was the state of being happy with what we have in life and who we are. This is partly true, but I left something important out. As a follower of Jesus, I want to live at an even higher level of contentment than that.
You see, contentment is also, more importantly, being most content with Jesus.
There is a spiritual component to contentment that goes beyond just hanging one’s head and accepting life as it is. The follower of Christ takes delight in the most important thing he or she has…Jesus.
At the beginning of this series I said I’d be trying to tackle questions like, “As a Christian, is it OK for me to want more?”
The answer to that question really depends on what it is we want more of.
What I’m sure of is this:
Thinking something else – a fantasy, desire, or dream – is better than Jesus’ embrace – is not part of an abundant spiritual walk with Jesus.
What sort of dreams or desires get in the way of you loving Jesus and others?
I personally struggle most with intangibles like wanting peace, comfort, and ease. I want life to go smoothly. Perfection in these areas is a fantasy world because life just isn’t comfortable, smooth, easy, and peaceful all the time. When I desire ease more than loving Jesus and others, I get irritated with life’s challenges and prone to complaining.
Back to God’s people complaining and rebelling:
“For I do not want you to be ignorant of the fact, brothers and sisters, that our ancestors were all under the cloud and that they all passed through the sea. 2 They were all baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea. 3 They all ate the same spiritual food 4 and drank the same spiritual drink; for they drank from the spiritual rock that accompanied them, and that rock was Christ.” (1 Corinthians 10:1-13)
Christ was the “Rock” that never left His people and sustained them as they wandered in the wilderness.
He’s ours too.
Just this week, I was sitting on the beach struggling with an attitude. Honestly, I didn’t want to let go of some dreams and ideas that were ruminating in my head. Dreams and ideas that had temporarily become more appealing in my heart than Jesus.
Out of desperation for change, I consumed Psalm 119 and I prayed over these verses:
Psalm 119: 17, 18, 19, 25, 29, 32, 39, 44
“17 Deal bountifully with your servant,
that I may live and keep your word.
18 Open my eyes, that I may behold
wondrous things out of your law.
19 I am a sojourner on the earth;
hide not your commandments from me!
25 My soul clings to the dust;
give me life according to your word!
29 Put false ways far from me
and graciously teach me your law!
32 I will run in the way of your commandments
when you enlarge my heart!
37 Turn my eyes from looking at worthless things;
and give me life in your ways.
44 I will keep your law continually,
forever and ever…”
The more I meditated on these verses, the more I longed for God to spiritually deal bountifully with me (vs. 17) in order that my heart would be changed. He answered my heart’s desire beautifully!
It’s OK to carefully and prayerfully dream and desire as a Christian, even to dream and desire for more or different.
My desire to finish rehabbing and decorating our old farmhouse is appropriate. We are moving in order to be closer to the church. As I wait for that to be finished, I must be careful that I don’t get too caught up in the pursuit of perfection or loving the actual work over spending time with God.
My desire to begin my online therapeutic stretch classes is appropriate as it is, hopefully, going to minister to other women. It is inappropriate for me to dream about and work on that business so much that I fail to care for my family well or make time to pray and be in God’s Word.
The questions I’m asking myself right now are:
Are my dreams and desires more appealing to me than Jesus’ embrace?
Am I embracing the dream or Jesus, the dream-giver?
After establishing that answer, I’m moving on to the next level of contentment:
Am I OK with who I am, what I have, and where I am?
If I answer no, I go on to the next level:
Is there a godly reason for that? Am I ignoring God’s working in my heart to do something, love someone, or grow in some area?
Am I holding onto sin?
Is my unrest over something that will produce a heavenly perspective or an earthly perspective?
Am I feeling bitterness, anger, resentment, anxiousness, or unrest about any area of my life?
The answers to these questions can help us to see reality and the shocking truth that sometimes we can be discontent with what Jesus offers us. As a follower of Christ, I want to be aware of this.
Our dreams and desires don’t have to be something against Jesus. We just have to love Jesus more.
Will you carefully and prayerfully pursue godly dreams and desires with me as I turn to the highest desire, our “Rock”?
Hear my cry, O God,
listen to my prayer;
2 from the end of the earth I call to you
when my heart is faint.
Lead me to the rock
that is higher than I,
3 for you have been my refuge,
a strong tower against the enemy.” (Psalm 61:1-3)
Linking up with these awesome bloggers this week!