The value of the truth
I recently went on a family vacation to the beautiful Okanagan Valley in British Columbia. We went for 2 weeks and it was absolutely amazing. It was very relaxing, the weather was wonderful and the hours spent on the beach were magical.
To be honest, it was so relaxing that I let my personal spiritual disciplines fly right out of the window. What do I mean by that? Well, for the past 18 years of my life I have been in the habit (discipline) of taking time out at the beginning of my day to spend with the Lord.
To some people that might sound like a strange thing to do and to others you might know what I am talking about. So indulge me for a moment as I explain myself.
I love to get up in the morning when all is quiet and read my bible, pray and be “fed” spiritual food.
To be “fed my spiritual food” I need to quiet myself and ask the Holy Spirit to teach me what he wants me to know for that day, to take time out and read a portion of scripture or a verse and ask the Holy Spirit to help me understand it through His eyes and not mine.
My eyes are dull, but the Holy Spirit’s job is to lead me into all truth. (John 14). This he does when we open up our hearts and ears to stop and listen to him. It is such a wonderful time of learning and renewal that I absolutely crave my time with him and to be honest I guard it jealously.
I have learnt so much and grown so much over the years by following this little formula. The Holy Spirit has been faithfully drawing me and teaching me more and more about life, wisdom, Jesus and what is required of me as a woman whose heart is ablaze for God.
Up to my vacation this was my daily spiritual discipline, but while I was on vacation, I found that it was hard to find that quiet time as there was always something to do first thing in the morning, at home the kids can get their own breakfast and tea, on vacation we have to unpack everything and light the stove go and fetch the water; I am sure that you are getting the picture.
By the end of the vacation, I had not spent any time with God in the way that I would normally and to be honest not only did I miss it, but I was having thoughts of “you have completely fallen off the wagon spiritually, God is not going to want to have you back” Or “you are so backslidden now, there is no hope for you” or “you see you did not do your devotions and now you will never be able to hear the Holy Spirit talk to you again”.
These my friends were just a few of the thoughts that were going through my head. You see I had let my guard down (God tells us in his word that we are to guard our minds and take our thought captive to the obedience of God) and now because of that I was being tormented by the guilt of not “doing my spiritual disciplines every day as faithfully as I should.”
The guilt felt like a heavy weight on my shoulders and I felt not only defeated in my mind but defeated in my spirit as well. I am sure that if you could have seen me there was probably a dark cloud hanging over me with the thunder rolling and the lighting cracking.
Ok, so I am being a bit dramatic. The truth of the matter was that I felt bad because I had not kept up my side of the relationship with God.
When I got back from vacation, I immediately found some time to go and be quiet before the lord. There I cried out to him to forgive me and I begged him to take me back and forgive my foolishness of neglecting my relationship with him.
What happened next was to me very precious and truly amazing.
I believe that the Lord started to show me that He had never left me nor had he forsaken me. I was not only in Jesus’ hand but Jesus is in God’s hand. There is absolutely nothing on this earth, neither death nor life nor angels nor demons, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height or depths, nor any other created thing will be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus (Romans 8:38-39)
Brothers and sisters in Christ, this is so true for all of us, nothing can take us away from our heavenly father. I cannot earn his approval, (yes it is important to have spiritual disciplines, of setting time aside to get to know him every day) but when that setting that time aside becomes me just wanting to gain his approval of then I have missed the point.
The point is that God’s love to us is unconditional. He loves us because that is His nature; he loved us while we were still so deep in our sin that there was no possible way out, except through him.
He loves us in spite of our frailty as he made us and knows that we are made from dirt. (Genesis 1) There is nothing that we can do that could make him love us more or make him love us less. (Except, that is, if we completely reject him and have nothing to do with him ever again)
If found myself in that age old striving mode, trying to earn his affections and love by being good and doing all that I knew to do that would win his approval. Then when I found myself failing, (on holiday and not spending time in prayer and bible study) I was so weighed down with guilt that I thought I was done for, for good.
Oh, the lies of the Devil. He had me so twisted in confusion and guilt that I truly could not see the trees for the forest. I had forgotten that God says that my salvation in Him is guaranteed because I believe in his precious son Jesus Christ. I had forgotten that because I am in Christ Jesus, nothing can separate me from the love of God that he shows me through his son Jesus. I had forgotten that God’s love for me does not depend on what I do or do not do for Him; it is given to me as a free gift, wholly and completely.
Oh, the joy that the revelation brought to my heart. I sincerely praised the Lord with everything in me for setting me free once again from the lies of the Devil that tried to trap me and lead me away from my loving heavenly father.
I encourage each of you, if you find yourself in a situation where it has been a while since you last spent time with God, or if you have never ever spent time with God, set up a time to do so as soon as possible. Not out of obligation but out of a sincere desire to know him more. I know that he will, with out a doubt, reveal himself to you, teach you more about his word and set you free from things that draw your attention away from him.
When I first started my journey with God, I heard many people say, you have to set the time aside with God and he will reveal himself to you. So being naïve, I set out to do just that. I would love to tell you that it was all roses and that every time I heard him speak to me and that I had these great times with him.
That was not always the case, it was a struggle, sometimes harder than others, but the longer I stuck it out the more precious it became to me and I could not wait to have my time with him again.
So, I pray that each of you will take the time out of your busy lives and set some time aside with Jesus today, I ask heavenly father that you will open the eyes of my brothers and sisters hearts that they may know the wonders of your love for them, that they will have a deeper understanding of your knowledge and will for their lives. I pray that you will ignite in each of them a passion for you that sets them on fire for you in a deeper way than they have ever experienced before.
In Jesus Name