It is difficult to finish projects when you don’t have a deadline or anyone to hold you accountable. Not you? Well, hats off to ya! But for me and many others like me, we have this issue. I have so many tasks to complete that aren’t necessarily created by others for me, but I put them on my list. I added various crochet projects, house keeping projects, and organizational projects onto my already overcrowded “to-do” list. However, some of the things that should be on the top of my list everyday don’t seem to get consistently done, such as Bible study, prayer, and writing in my journal what God is showing me day-by-day.
Currently, I am studying the Bible in a few different ways. One of the ways is in Bible study with a group of ladies. In this specific Bible study, there is a study workbook of sorts we are studying from that was thoughtfully and intentionally put together to grow our relationship with God. In addition to diving deep into the portion of the Bible that I have not thoroughly studied before, we are applying some of the God given principle’s being unearthed here to our lives in practical and tangible ways. This has proven so very beneficial for me personally. Other ladies in the group have expressed the same sentiment.
In reading and preparing for the next time we meet, one of the questions to answer led me to the idea of persistence and perseverance. Prayer is essential to our relationship with God. And the idea of prayer as a passive activity seems absurd when we view it in light of the Scriptures. Prayer is persistence, conflict, and spiritual warfare. I need to be persistent in my pursuance of relationship with God. Just as I need to be persistent in my building up of relationship with my husband, children, siblings, parents, and friends. I don’t have someone necessarily standing by me telling me to do specific tasks required to build these relationships as if the relationships were based on some sort of formula. I am not a robot. I am a human being with feelings, emotions, and reasoning.
In my pursuit of close relationship with God, there is going to be conflict because we are living under the pressure of two conflicting truths: faith and its enduring benefits versus a fallen world under Satan’s influence. It is difficult to live faithfully obedient to God’s commands while in constant exposure to the temptations we experience at the hand of our flesh and the influence of Satan. However, remembering that pressure produces a character without impurities, we are to “count it all joy” (James 1:2). To “count it all joy” means to appraise one’s situation intelligently, confident of the good that God can do through it. And the “trials” that God allows strengthen the believer and are different from the consequences of sin. Patience does not mean to resign ourselves to whatever happens but to have a tough resolve or brave endurance in adverse circumstances. Trials produce durability as well as maturity. And to perfect means to be fully and completely developed or mature. Without trials, we cannot develop to maturity or wholeness.
As we suffer trials and tribulations, God tells us in 1 Peter 1:6-9
Wherein ye greatly rejoice, though now for a season, if need be, ye are in heaviness though manifold temptations: that the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ: whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory: receiving the end of your faith, even the salvation of your souls.
God’s people can anticipate praise and honor and glory. Praise is the Lord’s commendation in heaven. Honor is quite possibly the crowns that will be distributed at the judgment seat of Jesus. And glory is a precious (more precious than gold which can wither away), enduring, and genuine faith. This is all as a result of our suffering. And notice here that the writer is commending those who love Jesus even though they have not physically seen Him. That is a measure of faith right there.
At the end of all of these tasks that we set for ourselves, knowing that it is hard to complete without persistence and perseverance, is a joyful sense of accomplishment. Following Jesus is difficult, but doable and worth it. He has shown us the way. He has shown us that it is possible. And He has shown us the reward which is being whole once again, fully reestablished, reconnected, and reconciled to Our Heavenly Father. So while we may not have someone physically, naturally present with a clipboard and a list checking off all of the things on our “to-do” list of life, the Holy Spirit is present with us, helping us to remember Our Loving Father Who pursues us with grace and mercy, calling us back to Him which is the only way to become whole again.
Gotta go fill up my cup…..