To live is Christ

You know how you read God's Word, but it doesn't really sink in? You're thinking, I know this is really profound, but it just isn't changing my life right now. What am I doing wrong? I feel like that a lot. But God's Word is not a dead book for me to figure out all by myself:
"For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart." Hebrews 4:12 
God can take something that's been planted in my heart (however shallow) through simply reading and meditating and--BAM--apply it just when I need Him to speak.

Yesterday God brought to mind something from the 1st Chapter of Philippians that I've been reading. It has not been a stellar homemaking week: a little too much yelling, a lot of social media escapism, and my menu plan only made it to Thursday.

I have this idea that the model woman/mama always loves her role, enjoys her children, and never wishes she had another job . . . and I am not that model woman.

Maybe you're there, but in a different season. You really wished you enjoyed where God has you, but it's just hard.

First, can I remind you that there is no such thing as a "model woman"? Only God is good (Matthew 19:17). We all fall short. Only Jesus makes us holy and good through his blood and through his right-ness given as a gift through faith (which is also a gift--Ephesians 2:8-9). Breathe that in for a minute.

So I heart my amazing kids, and being at home (and homeschooling this year) makes sense right now for our finances and the life we live. But I don't always love it.

Paul wrote this to the Philippians:
"For me to live is Christ, and to die is gain. If I am in the flesh, that means fruitful labor for me. Yet which I shall choose I cannot tell. I am hard pressed between the two. My desire is to depart and be with Christ, for that is far better. But to remain in the flesh is more necessary on your account. Convinced of this, I know that I shall remain and continue with you all, for your progress and joy in the faith." (Philippians 1:20b-25)
Paul's missionary life was far from rosy. He was persecuted, beaten, shipwrecked, stoned, imprisoned, and turned against by his church plants. He was constantly in prayer for his flock, and likened helping them grow to giving birth (without an epidural Galatians 4:19). Paul admits that it would be much easier to go and be with Jesus. But Paul knew that life was more about Jesus than anything else, and so was death. Death meant he'd be with Jesus; life meant he'd be serving Jesus.

Paul knew he was called to "fruitful labor" through the Spirit of Jesus in him, to working towards his disciples' "progress and joy in the faith." If that meant more years in his aging body and difficult calling, then he had no choice.

Like Paul, it's okay for us to long for relief from difficulty, to admit that it's hard. Even Jesus prayed for the "cup" of His death to pass by Him if there was another way (Matthew 26:39). 
"And he said, “Abba, Father, all things are possible for you. Remove this cup from me. Yet not what I will, but what you will.”  Mark 14:36

As long as we're still HERE--wherever here is--there's "fruitful labor" for us.  Life gets complicated and suffocating when we turn inward, becoming all about us. God cares about US, and the details of our lives, so trusting Him to order our days and lives is in our best interest! Paul understood (likely through many years of God's discipline) that life is about Jesus, and is only fully lived when oriented around Him.

Does that encourage you where you're at today? Wherever you are today:

  • There is labor in Jesus prepared for you to do (Ephesians 2:10). 
  • There is a light burden and an easy yoke He is laying on you. Rest in Him (Matthew 11:28-30). 
  • There is self to deny and a cross to take up and endure (Matthew 16:24). 

Let's long for God's Kingdom fully come, all wrongs made right, and all broken things made whole--that's what we were made for! But here or there--our living is for Jesus.

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