Thursday, January 23, 2014

Like Gravy on a Biscuit

I recently read Matthew chapter 13. It walks through the life of Jesus. People were amazed and astonished by him AND easily offended by him and his teachings. Chapter 13 verse 58 stood out to me:
And He did not do many miracles there because of their unbelief. 
Even in His hometown He was rejected and pushed away. That had to be difficult in a way. He was willing and ready to bless them if they would only let Him and believe Him. I can imagine seeing someone who had grown up in their small "country" town now speaking wisdom beyond his "status" was puzzling. Instead of being amazed and transformed by Him, they rejected Him and told him to leave.

As I look back on my life, I can't help but think about this same Bible verse. For years, I felt God leading me to trust and believe, yet I gave in to sin and insecurity and selfishness. The obvious outcome was struggle, more sin, less peace, less growth, and more pain. Then, I had the nerve to pray for a bail out! I wanted Him to basically overlook my unbelief and bless me in my "panic."

Sometimes He did. Often He didn't. He is always gracious and compassionate, but His blessings are  directly tied to our obedience and trust (unconditional love, conditional blessings). Otherwise, if I receive His blessings with my heart and mind not ready (i.e. bad soil), then then they would quickly become a "curse" or downfall to me. Like throwing "pearls to the swine."

As the quote said, "The worst thing that can happen to us is to be successful before we are ready." I don't want to go through life "chasing" success or blessings. I want to pursue growth, maturity and have my heart sold out to Christ. I want to want Him more than His "stuff" or what He can give and do for me.

Blessings tend to come as a result; not in spite of. I will still pray for His blessings, but even if they don't come in the way I was hoping for or expecting, the greater blessing is to be closer to Him and be more mature in my faith and wholeness. Who I become as His child in the process of walking with Him is way better than what I tangibly "get" from Him. The additional "tangible" blessings are like gravy on a biscuit. The biscuit is good all by itself; the gravy just makes it taste that much better! (though it's more fattening)

Look at Matthew 25:23. A parable of Jesus that teaches on faithfulness in a few things so that more can be enjoyed and given:
23 His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful slave. You were faithful with a few things, I will put you in charge of many things; enter into the joy of your master.’
Belief. Trust. Process. Time. Surrender. Joy. Patience. Faithfulness. Honor. Integrity. Slow and steady. Daily Bread. Peace. Hope. Gratitude. These are the things I want to chase after in my walk with Christ. The outcome and results are really up to Him. I just want to be open and ready to receive them, as He sees fit and when He thinks I am ready. I believe. Help my unbelief!
Ephesians 1:3-6 (HCBS)
Praise the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavens. For He chose us in Him, before the foundation of the world, to be holy and blameless in His sight.[b] In love[c] He predestined us to be adopted through Jesus Christ for Himself, according to His favor and will, to the praise of His glorious grace that He favored us with in the Beloved.

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