What hogs your space?

I was driving my morning route today, and I was feeling pretty good.  Driving in on time, not too much traffic, nice blue skies, good music . . . but, the embarrassing, vain part is that I was primarily feeling good (i think) because I liked the way my make-up came out.  I have been fighting with this black Bobbi Brown eye liner gel . . . and I somehow decided that I got it right today.  After a few minutes, I have the feeling that I am feeling a little too good about the make up scenario.  I am starting to laugh at myself.  God knocks on my heart and says . . . Is that all it takes to make you happy?  So if you like your physical appearance, you feel good?  But, if that’s not the case, then what?  Right God, You are right this morning.  That’s when I smile and feel the real kind of happy in my heart.  The truth in love feels good.

We are so easily swayed.  The flesh is always right there waiting to drop in and hog the space in which your spirit resides.  I am thinking about my very private friend whose name I will not mention (except that she lives in Florida so as not to confuse her with any of my other very private friends living elsewhere).  She told me recently how she struggles with her mind going in directions that eventually cause her to question her purpose in this life.  As I watched her talk, I connect with her struggle and think about how often our flesh draws us away from the Spirit of the Living God.  Think about how powerful the coupling of the flesh and the human mind can be.  A thought leads to a thought leads to another thought and you, who are so closely connected to Jesus, are now questioning the purpose of your life.

Now, think about how powerful the coupling of the spirit and the human mind can be.  A thought leads to a thought leads to another thought and you, who are so closely connected to Jesus, are now scheming how you can minister to children on the other side of the planet.  Planning to send a note to a friend with an encouraging word.  Figuring out how you can give to a ministry more than you planned.  When my mind is in accordance with the spirit, I am overwhelmed with lists and lists and lists of good works that I can do in my home, in my community and for my friends.  My thoughts and lists of thoughts are so uniquely God that I am entirely confident none of it comes from my own silly brilliance.  My own silly brilliance is flattened by God ideas and thoughts.  So, why is it so hard to keep the mind and the spirit on the same team?

There is no doubt that you and I have enough to do to keep us busy until our final date with life on earth.  None of our to-do lists will squeak out even a moment for spiritual things.  The answer is intentional feeding of the spirit.  I rely on email devotions and note cards on my office wall throughout the day.  If I find myself veering away from the spiritual things that come my way, then I know that means I need to take a moment to read that verse, quote or devotion.  I need to remain intentional about feeding my spirit if I want to keep my mind connected to the spirit.  The alternative is losing my spiritual space to a hog called flesh.  The alternative is missing out on a whole spiritual world of opportunity.  God has keys to an extraordinary number of doors that we will never get to open unless we are intentionally letting Him into our mind.  So He can lead our spirits far away from that stinky hog called flesh.  Need I say more?

FF Aug 22

Thanks to Kaitlayn Bouchillon for this inspiring illustration of the word.

Fall in Love Today!

Go to fullsize imageBy Bindu Adai-Mathew

“For the spirit is willing, but the body is weak!” Matthew 26:41b

As I read JMathis’s post yesterday, this was the scripture that came to mind. When I read her post, I, too, begin to feel the strong stirrings of conviction. I’ll be the first to confess, that, I, too, have had many dreams of grandeur in terms of my writing ambitions. Yes, I do want to encourage women through my writing. Yes, I do want to inspire them to pursue their passions while also serving God. But secretly, I do confess that I’ve imagined doing all of this from my beautifully furnished home office…the one I spend my days in since resigning from my corporate day job. It has a beautiful view, this office…ocean view on one side…mountain view on the other…modern espresso colored desk and bookcase…a cozy velvet couch, perfect for sipping hot tea from porcelain teacups while trying to battle those pesky writer’s blocks! Oh, wait, I didn’t mention God anywhere, did I? Hmmm…well, it is for His glory anyway, riiiiight?

Yes, JMathis is right…sometimes our dreams take little detours that have nothing to do with our original goal of serving and honoring God.  I want to want what God wants for my life…really, I do! But somewhere in there, very quickly, materialism and hedonism quickly creep in and push God out of the way until there is no room for Him.  Sometimes, to be quite honest, both my spirit and my body are weak. So then what?

Pray. Pray for that desire to want God. Pray for that desire to want to please Him.

Lest we forget, it is the first commandment. All of us know the Thou shall not steal…Thou shall not kill…But how many of us know what Jesus described as the first and greatest commandment?

“Jesus replied. ‘And you shall love the Lord, your God, with all of your Heart, Soul, and Mind. This is the first and greatest commandment.’”  Matthew 22:37-38

And ironically, it is often the first one we forget.  Of course, most of us would say, yes, we love God…but can we say we loooooooooooove God? That we are in love with God? Jesus didn’t say just love God with your heart. He said to love him with your heart, soul, and mind. Basically we are told to love Him with every fiber of every aspect of our physical, spiritual, and emotional selves.

Why? Because He said so? Maybe… He is God…He makes the rules…But I think of it this way…remember the early stages of being in love with your significant other…Remember how you thought of them always? How you considered their feelings, sometimes before your own? What you wouldn’t do for them because you were in love with them?

Those of you with kids can think about them…yes, unconditional love at its human finest! What wouldn’t anyone of us do for our children? Sure, they’re helpless and unable to do for themselves, especially when they’re babies. But that’s not what goes through our minds when we look at them or when they cry. Love. Love gets us up in the middle of the night when they’re sick. Love keeps us up at night when they missed curfew. Love keeps us loving them even when they don’t act loving towards us.

Love is a powerful motivator. Imagine what YOU would do for God…not because you had to…not because you were told to…but because you wanted to…because you loved with God with all of your Heart. Soul. And Mind.

Jesus knew the power of love. After all, it was love that motivated Him to come to earth. It was love that caused Him to give up His life so we, too, could have Life. Not just life…but Eternal Life.

So my challenge for you today…tomorrow…and always is to love God. With every fiber of your being. Heart. Mind. Soul.

And let’s see what YOU will do for love…