November, 2011, Sanctified Together Publication.
I have the privilege, once again, to be a contributing writer.
When I think of “life’s lessons,” I wish to pull up great, easy lessons that would have taught me so very much, were a breeze, and gave me fresh life, revival of my spirit. They could have been lessons that grew me into such a fine and perfect Christian woman, made me a better person, helped me become more obedient, compassionate, gracious. But, there really are no easy lessons and there are no paths to earthly perfection. In reality, life’s lessons start off, in most cases, as hard, unwanted, and overwhelming to a person needing to die to self. Hands fly upward, covering my head. Tears well up. I cower beneath feelings of failure, fear, resistance, ready to run, even before attempting to learn what God even wants me to learn.
Of course, these lessons, wanted or unwanted, are from God Who knows just what I need. He knows I need to grow in Him: “…that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of Him, having the eyes of your hearts enlightened, that you may know what is the hope to which He has called you, what are the riches of His glorious inheritance in the saints, and what is the immeasurable greatness of His power toward us who believe, according to the working of His great might that He worked in Christ when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places,….” (Ephesians 1:17-20a ESV)
He knows I want to grow in the knowledge of Him. “…be diligent to be found by Him without spot or blemish, and at peace. And count the patience of our Lord as salvation, just as our beloved brother Paul also wrote to you according to the wisdom given him, as he does in all his letters when he speaks in them of these matters. There are some things in them that are hard to understand, which the ignorant and unstable twist to their own destruction, as they do the other Scriptures. You therefore, beloved, knowing this beforehand, take care that you are not carried away with the error of lawless people and lose your own stability. But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be the glory both now and to the day of eternity. Amen.” (2 Peter 3:14b-18 ESV) He knows I want to grow in His grace.
I am to stay focused on the One Who is Lord of my life. “Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, Who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.” (Hebrews 12:1-2 ESV) I must not run nor hide. I must stand still with eyes and ears open. How can I learn if the eyes of my heart cannot see Him, or the ears of my heart are closed to His Words? He wants me to know that He is beside me and will not leave me. We will walk this path together. Hard lessons or easy lessons, the intent is to draw me closer to my Creator. He wants to teach me His Truth. He assures me that He is molding me into a Christian woman of His making. He prays over me, loving me deeply. Calling upon His Name in darkness or in light, coming to His throne in boldness, depending upon my Counselor are steps I must take in learning His lessons, these life lessons, wanted or not.
When I look back on the lessons of my life, the only ones I can recall are those I stood and faced. If I did an about-face and ran, I have absolutely no recollection of the lesson God intended for me to learn. When I was firm in my stance, desiring to honor the One Who loves me so much that He taught me Himself, I grew in Christ, became closer to Him, more able to be His student in life from there on out. I climbed hard mountains standing on the pathway upward, knowing He was with me. We continued to the top where God’s Glory shone all about. I knew I had succeeded in learning. Sometimes, my lessons seem repetitive….”Haven’t I been here before?” He teaches what I can handle today. As I become ready for a similar lesson, only deeper, harder, we continue on that upward spiral.
The sweetest gifts about facing life’s unwanted (and wanted) lessons are that I get to walk with Jesus, I grow deeper in my Christian walk, and joy exudes from me for I am becoming a woman of Christ. That dead self becomes alive to Christ, a new creation. “Yes, and I will rejoice, for I know that through your prayers and the help of the Spirit of Jesus Christ this will turn out for my deliverance, as it is my eager expectation and hope that I will not be at all ashamed, but that with full courage now as always Christ will be honored in my body, whether by life or by death. For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.” (Philippians 1:18b-21 ESV)
Blessed are you, O LORD;
teach me your statutes!
With my lips I declare
all the rules of your mouth.
In the way of your testimonies I delight
as much as in all riches.
I will meditate on your precepts
and fix my eyes on your ways.
I will delight in your statutes;
I will not forget your word.
(Psalm 119:12-16 ESV)
May you be blessed as you read lessons of faith from the hearts of many. Of course, these lessons, wanted or unwanted, are from God Who knows just what I (we) need.
The whole November, 2011 magazine is here.