I have a confession to make. The past few days have brought me to seriously question my motives for getting alone with God.
I found out the hard way that what comes out of a man is what makes him ‘unclean’… for from within, out of the heart of a person, comes evil … deceit…arrogance and folly. My deceitful, arrogant, shameful folly being that even just yesterday I approached God with an ulterior motive: writing content.
I’m still fighting a gag-reflex when I look at my journal and pen, knowing my pursuit of God has been almost unrecognizably smudged with selfish ink.
Yet, my subconscious found a way to justify it: “I’m writing for people to encounter Jesus; so, it’s okay to seek Him for content.” Well, yes. But, seeking Jesus for things instead of seeking Him is a deceitful trap. It’s something we all too often fall in to.
Remember the young man in Mark 10, when he asked Jesus what he must do to enter eternal life? Jesus “looked at him and loved him and said ‘One thing you lack. Go sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in Heaven. Then, come, follow me.'”
Just like this man wanted answers from Jesus, I wanted writing content from Him. And just as this man left disappointed with Jesus’ reply, so did I. The truth is I was frustrated because Jesus was calling me to abide. His answer was “no blog ideas right now, just be still and fellowship with me.”
But, abiding takes discipline and perseverance. Abiding means putting to rest my ever-racing thoughts and patiently waiting. It means forgetting about the compelling article I want to publish so badly. Abiding grinds against instant likes, shares, comments and praise and works to enter into that space with God that offers us true rest for our souls.
Jesus tested the young man’s willingness to follow Him wherever and whatever the cost. In my desert void of writing content, I’ve been tested. I realized my fists weren’t clenching Jesus, but my pen. So, when Jesus didn’t respond to me with a brilliant, life-changing new blog idea, I left my time with him a wee bit unhappy.
What a shame to think I left unsatisfied because I was seeking satisfaction in what I could get from Jesus and not seeking satisfaction in Jesus alone.
If you’re a Christian writer, artist, pre-med major, petroleum engineer intern, or stay-at-home mom, I’m sure you’ve felt the sting of realizing your own misplaced desires. Our naturally self-seeking hearts are ugly, to say the least.
But, the realization of our desperate state is a sure sign that we are being sanctified and made more like Christ. God wants us to be closer to Him, so He kindly reveals that which is hindering our intimacy with Him. We have merely to recognize, repent and run onward with Jesus, pursuing Him for Him, just for him, and trusting him with the gifts he gives.
Oswald Chambers says, “Whenever the insistence is on the point that God answers prayer, we are off the track. The meaning of prayer is that we get hold of God, not the answer.”
God desires bent knees and open hands. He desires intimacy and closeness. He desires to know us in the innermost parts. He is jealous for you and for me, no gifts, talents, or strings attached.
So, I’m inviting you to join me in asking for His Spirit to transform us, to bring our souls to the point of joyfully proclaiming, “The Lord is my portion; therefore, I will wait for Him.” (Lamentations 3:24)
When you’re at home alone with Him, or in your car, babysitting or at your desk, speak to God these words, with confidence that He will hear you and He will move on your behalf: “Turn my heart toward your statutes, and not toward selfish gain. Turn my eyes away from worthless things…”. (Psalm 119: 36-37)
Lastly, to all my writers out there, let’s challenge each other to follow in the footsteps of so many devoted Christians before us and truthfully proclaim: “What we are in our letters when we are absent, we will be in our actions when we are present.” (2 Corinthians 10:11)
Photo by (flickr cc) Drew Coffman