Friday, January 13, 2017

Throw Yourself into the Knowledge of God

I remember a time when I was 22 or 23 and I was having a minor freak out
over what I should be doing with my life. I had certainly planned on being married by then and at the peak of my calling(you can all laugh). I seriously thought I had missed it. I remember processing all of this with a leader and he gave me some advice:"Throw yourself into the knowledge of God." Initially, I was like "that's it?" I wanted him to tell me what to do with my life and who to marry! Little did I know that this advice would ring in my heart in each season of both heartache and blessing, as well as job/assignment and relationship changes through the next 7 years. Although, sadly, I was weak many times in following this advice through my 20's, I believe that the times that I did have greatly impacted and stabilized my internal world, especially through pain.

One of my favorite examples of someone who walked this out throughout their life was David. When he fell into sin and made a mess of his life, he returned to God and poured out his heart before Him(Psalm 51). When David was surrounded by enemies being mocked and slandered by them,  he gave Himself to meditating on God's laws. He wasn't going around justifying Himself and slandering them too, but gave Himself to God's Word and prayer.
If that was me, my initial response would be to justify myself to some people and find something to distract myself with.

"Princes also sit and speak against me,
But Your servant meditates on Your statutes."
~Psalm 119:23

"The arrogant mock me unmercifully, 
but I do not turn from your law."
~Psalm 119:51

"Unless Your law had been my delight,
I would then have perished in my affliction.
 I will never forget Your precepts,
For by them You have given me life.
 I am Yours, save me;
For I have sought Your precepts.
The wicked wait for me to destroy me,
But I will consider Your testimonies."
~Psalm 119:92-95

Many of us have pain, some of it from our own doing, some of it from other people, some of it from loss, all of which come from living life in a fallen world. No one can escape pain, it touches everyone.  Sometimes, we experience seasons of great increase and blessing and pain is the furthest thing from our mind. No matter what season we are in, we have a thousand options to escape or indulge, and the choices we make in each season will greatly impact the next.

Let's Be Practical

So all of us are in different seasons of life and have different amounts of times on our hands, so giving ourselves to the knowledge of God will look a little different, but will still take intentionality. To the mom, it could look like hanging a verse above the kitchen sink or the steering wheel, and praying it and saying it briefly. To the single person, it could look like scheduling time in the Word and prayer rather than using all of your free time hanging out, watching Netflix, or on social media(guilty 🙋). To many, it could look like joining a Bible study and staying committed to it. I know for me it's easy to get excited the first few weeks of a Bible study, and then the 4th week, Id rather stay home or do something else, but I have found staying committed when I don't feel like it bears a lot of fruit. Like I said before, we have a thousand easy ways to distract ourselves and it takes real intentionality to reign in our minds and our lives to focus on God, but anytime we engage with the Word, we are sowing seeds of life and truth into our hearts and minds.

It's Not Too Late

It's not too late, you're not too young or too old to get a vision for growing in the knowledge of God. I know what it's like to look back with regret on poor choices or to look at my own current life and be overwhelmed with where I'm at, but God's mercies are new and I can choose to lean into His grace, cry out for an increased hunger for Him, and make small choices in my present life to talk to Him and grow in His Word.

May we have a cry like Paul in our hearts, "But what things were gain to me, these I have counted loss for Christ. Yet indeed I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ...Not that I have already attained all of this or been perfected; but I press on, that I may lay ahold of that which has laid hold of me. Brethren, I do not count myself as have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ."~Philippians 3:7-8, 12-14

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