The same holds true for Jesus followers. Everything goes through the Jesus filter. If something contradicts what you hold to be true, it sticks out like a sore thumb. It makes social media an interesting place to spend time, particularly when you see those with larger platforms telling you that you can achieve success if you just follow their simple steps. Um, no.
Recently I wore my favorite t-shirt. It says All I need today is a little bit of coffee and a whole lot of Jesus. While some might find that sacreligious, if you know me, you get it. My coffee cup is 16 ounces and I usually have at least 6 of those a day. It gives you perspective on just how much Jesus I need. And here's why: Because I miss in my own life what I catch in others. #MoveThatPlank
Yesterday at Bible study we talked about confidently approaching the throne of grace and whether or not we can truly pray about anything. My comments were that we can because (a) God already knows what's pressing on our hearts, (b) if we don't, we can't have our thoughts and desires realigned with His if they are out of whack, and (c) if Jesus could go to God in prayer about asking for the cross to pass Him by and that was the entire reason He came in the first place, clearly nothing is off limits.
That said, I have a prayer journal and a devotional notebook about my fitness goals. Why? Because I have issues.
A couple days ago, I was challenged to write down the reasons why I want to be fit. I penned these three:
(1) To outwardly display what God is capable of doing through work on the inside. (When you have food issues and a tendency to over-exercise as punishment for your food issues, the heart is really what needs fixed.)
(2) As a temple of the Holy Spirit, I need to have optimal living conditions that encourage growth in every aspect of life. (Jesus could not care less about the number on the scale or my pants but He does care greatly about the physical, emotional, and spiritual effect it has on me.)
(3) To reach others in the world that either (a) don't know Jesus or (b) don't grasp what He is capable of doing with a willing heart in any area when submitted to Him.
Now for the connection.
Until I wrote out my reasons on Thrusday, I didn't really get them. When we talked about prayer yesterday, I thought more about the results of prayer like the peace that passes understanding and guards the heart and mind. And today as I wrote out my prayer thinking about what I would be posting on social media with the link to this blog, it occurred to me that the 'side effects' I have from making healthy choices and working out are the good and perfect gifts from God, not the natural results of my own efforts. #Ouch
Anytime I have had success with my fitness goals or weightloss, I have consistently believed they were because of what I was doing. But anything I think I achieve on my own is competing with God for first place and He loves me too much to let me think I have that kind of control. It made me realize I was outlining my own steps to success instead of allowing God to direct them.
Clearly you can see why I need Jesus so much. I can't do anything on my own and think it has a chance to stand the test of time unless it is so deeply rooted in Him, I can be certain its foundation is strong and unshakable. And that has to do with what is motivating me, not the results. Anything that happens can be lost in an instant through an injury, accident, or situation beyond my control. But if my intentions are focused on the right things, whatever variations there are to what success looks like really won't matter; because what matters most is trusting Him with it all.
Lord, You are clearing a way in the wilderness that goes from my mind to my heart. And you are bubbling up streams in the wastedland that has been divided and devoted to the wrong things. Thank you for loving me enough to slowly reveal these truths when I was ready to receive them. Help me to be a strong witness for you in the way I live, not just what I can lift. I love you. Amen.