Saturday, September 28, 2019

God is enough

I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances.  I know what it is to be in need and I know what it is to have plenty.  I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether I am well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.” (Philippians 4:11-12, NIV)

God is enough.  He is everything we need.  Evidently Paul learned this, although it probably didn’t come easy.  Paul knew that circumstances didn’t determine his life, but God did.  And if God determines everything about our lives, then we don’t need circumstances to be pleasant, convenient, comfortable, or favorable.  That’s how Paul could write, “I have learned the secret of being content whatever the circumstances.”  The Greek word used here (in Phil. 4:11) is autark─ôs, which means sufficient or enough.  Thus, we are only able to be truly content when we really believe that God is enough.

Unfortunately, we don’t always fully believe that.  In fact, sometimes we don’t even believe it a little bit.  And it has an enormous impact on how we live our lives.  If we do not really believe that God is enough, then we have to turn to ourselves, or to others, to fill in the gaps.  That’s where it gets really ugly.  We become anxious and angry and frustrated, or depressed and driven and demanding.  We become the very worst version of ourselves.

But if we can ever get to the point where we truly believe that God is enough, then we can rest in his enough-ness.  His enough-ness, and not that of ourselves or our circumstances, allows us to truly trust in him.  If God is really enough, then we don’t have to be.  And we do not have to demand that others be enough for us.  In fact, it frees us up to be able to love them, rather than manipulate love out of them.  If God is enough, then whatever others have to offer us—if anything—is enough because we are not depending on them for our sense of well-being.  If God is enough, then we have enough—however much or little that may be.  And if God is enough, then we are enough in him.  It is his love alone that determines our value and our worth.  We do not have to jockey and posture and perform for everyone.  Our identity is securely rooted in him; it is not tied to what we do, what we have, or how we look. 

So I pray that, this day, we would all get to know the enough-ness of our God.  For until we get to know him, really know him, we will never know how enough he really is.

Friday, September 20, 2019

occupied

“O Lord, my heart is not lifted up; my eyes are not raised too high; I do not occupy myself with things too great and too marvelous for me.” (Psalm 131:1)

There are no two ways about it, the occupied soul is one that has no room for God.  And it doesn’t even matter how great and marvelous the things are which occupy it.  They are taking up space that was designed for God, space that was created to be filled by him alone.  These things are consuming precious time and energy and attention that needs to be given to the life of the Spirit within and around us.

Thus, an emptying is necessary.  Or, at the very least, a stilling and a quieting must take place.  If we want to dwell with God, if we want to enjoy his presence and hear his voice and be aware of his activity in our lives, we must begin the process of calming our souls.  This is likely to involve some silence and solitude and prayer.  It is likely to require a place that is out of the normal traffic flow of our lives, one without noise and frenzy and activity.  We must allow the turbulent waters of the soul to become still and quiet, so we might be able to see what is underneath.  So we might be able to hear the still, small voice of the Spirit as it speaks to us in our depths.

The only question is: Will we make the time and the space necessary for this to happen?  If not, we should never expect that our souls would be anything other than occupied

O Lord, forgive us when we become occupied; when we get too full of ourselves that we get a little too big for our britches.  Forgive us when we fall in love with our own observations and opinions and begin to take ourselves far too seriously.  Forgive us when we begin to think that we can handle things on our own, or make things happen for ourselves.  For when we do these things, we take up all the space and leave no room for you to move and to act.