Okay, so, I have two major thoughts that are on my heart and mind to write about. I thought I’d save myself the trouble of writing two different blogs and just have one blog with two different themes.
I’ll start off with the first one.
Sharaness is a word I coined…about 30 seconds ago…to describe all that is myself and all the faulty lame stuff that goes along with that.
Radical readings have brought us to a mixture of 2 Samuel, 1 Chronicles, and Psalms. I’m kind of liking the fact that the chapters in 2 Sam. and 1 Chron. basically line up and repeat each other because, I have to admit, some of the “conquering nations” stories are really hard for me to process…I get super flustered over keeping all the names straight and who’s against who and who’s for who and with who and ahh…flust to the ered. Can I just say a shoutout to the folks who put together the ESV Study Bible. I love you. I’m oddly emotionally attached to it. I accidentally got some fettuccine on it during a freak fettuccine in car spill incident…and, I legit was about to cry. Like, you don’t mess with my Bible.
In the midst of war and blood and guts, a verse stuck out to me.
“Be of good courage, and let us be courageous for our people, and for the cities of our God, and
may the Lord do what seems good to him.” -2 Sam. 10:12
Sometimes I have this really stupid idea that when I talk to God and ask him to reveal himself to me and to guide me and teach me, that he blatantly ignores me. You know that moment when you open the Word and are reading and you stop and go, “Oh, God, you’re a funny one!” He always knows what you need and when you need it. The littleness of my faith never ceases to embarrass and amaze me.
May the Lord do what seems good to him.
More than often…and lately…my prayer seems to have been, “May the Lord do what seems good to me.”
I mean, I know what’s best for me, right? I know what I want and what I need. I know what will make me the most fulfilled and make me happy. God wants me to be happy, right? So, obviously, he’ll get me what I know that I need.
Oh, Shara. Your Sharaness is insane. I can’t handle you sometimes.
God’s plan and his will is perfect. Mine is hopelessly flawed. God knows and wants/desires what is best for me…even if I don’t agree because I’m a stubborn prideful little brat.
I am selfish and I want things. I want certain things to happen in my life. I meet people, I start down one path, I decide to go after a certain thing…then it falls through or doesn’t happen as expected. Then I get upset.
But, none of these things “falling through” caught God off guard. He’s not sitting up on his throne going, “Oh, no…oops…well, uh, Shara, I guess you’ll have to uh…hmm…let’s find something else for you to do.”
God knew it all in advance and he’s got it all under control. All things work together for good for those who love the Lord…
So, no, my life is not ending and it is not irredeemable, and I will “not be happy ever again!!” because certain things didn’t work out as hoped. God just has different plans that align with his ultimate one that ultimately brings him all the glory and honor and blessing and praise.
So, get over yourself, Shara.
Thought number two.
Someone leads a devotional every morning before rehearsal begins for the actors. It’s awesome, and I love starting my day off with wisdom. The other day the devotion just really stuck with me. Things that stick with me, I tend to write down so, here we go.
We were studying out of 2 Kings 10 about a king of Israel named Jehu. In a nutshell, Jehu pretends like he wants to offer this huge sacrifice to Baal (false god) at his temple. He tells the people to assemble together all the prophets of Baal and all his worshipers and all his priests….and have them go in the temple. So, they make sure every single worshiper of Baal is chilling in this temple awaiting Jehu’s sacrifice. Then, Jehu commands his men to go in and kill all of them. This completely ends Baal worship in Israel.
So, I’m thinking…how awesome is that? I mean, I strongly desire to do something amazing for God, to serve him all the days of my life, and to do something BIG for God, you know? Like…something impactful. I think completely ridding a country of a certain idol worship is pretty big. I mean, “Yeah, I just got rid of Baal worship…no big deal.”
But, if you read on, in verse 31 it says, “But Jehu was not careful to walk in the law of the LORD, the God of Israel, with all his heart…”
So, yes, Jehu got rid of Baal worship…but, his heart wasn’t desiring and seeking after God. He didn’t walk in the ways of the Lord and apparently didn’t really care to. Although we don’t know Jehu’s true intentions for getting rid of Baal worship in Israel, we know that in the end, his heart was far from God and bringing God glory.
This has been and will always be a danger in my life. It’s so easy to get caught up in “doing awesome things for God”, or “Doing good things” or “doing ministry” or “going on mission trips” …that that’s all it is…just “doing” those things, you know?
Like the difference between humanitarian efforts or “good deeds”, and actions that result from God working in and through us to bring himself glory from all the ends of the earth.
“…with all his heart.”
It’s a heart thing. The Bible calls us to examine our hearts. I think it’s something we need to do every day, really ask ourselves where our hearts are…where our true affections are…what are genuine intentions are…selfish gain or gain for God? What do our hearts really want? Do they really want God? Do they really desire to bring him glory? Or ourselves glory? Are we trying to feel better about ourselves by doing ‘awesome things for God’? Or do we desire to do those things because that’s the only response we could possibly have to his grace and mercy and salvation?
Where are our hearts?
I’m going to need to be seriously examining my heart this summer. I find it especially difficult when your “job” is ministry…when you have to do it day in and day out…when you listen to sermons and have worship sessions day in and day out for three months…when it starts to become routine…and just what you “have to do”….when you start becoming jaded and skeptical and unresponsive…when serving God becomes a paycheck.
Where is my heart?
Me famous? Or God famous?
I could adopt 10 kids and give a bunch of money away and volunteer and GO GREEN and read my Bible every day and teach Sunday school classes and go to church every Sunday and recite some liturgy and sing in the choir and go on mission trips and work summer camp for 10 years…and I could destroy all Baal worship…and it would mean nothing if my heart is far from God and focused inward and not upward to the cross of Christ.