Saturday, May 20, 2006

Clear The Path

The other night I was preparing for my regular ritual of eating multiple bowls of cereal. However, this ritual was interrupted by one of the stools from the bar that just so happened to be right in the middle of the kitchen. Every time I had to move from the refrigerator or cabinets to the bar, I'd have to walk around this chair. Usually, walking around something isn't a problem. However, the space around the chair was really small and it was hard to maneuver through—especially while walking with breakables in hand. You'd think that, since I had to make multiple trips around this chair, I'd just move the chair to save myself the aggravation of dodging it during my later trips. But nonetheless, I didn't move the obstacle in my way.

My reluctance to move the chair was either brought about by laziness or pride. I was either too lazy to move the obstacle in my way or I thought that the object was too easy to overcome to even make an effort of moving it. I believe that, in a spiritual sense, many of us have this same problem. We have temptations or strongholds in our lives that cause us to stumble, yet we refuse to get rid of them in order to clear the path for the future.

This type of behavior is dangerous. If we don't work on the things that are causing our relationship with Christ to suffer, we will ultimately end up feeling aggravated and lonely. We will feel convinced that God doesn't love us because we don't feel Him working in our lives. But, when it comes down to it, the reason why we don't feel God moving in our lives is because we allow the things of this world to get in between our relationship with Him.

Are there times when you're too lazy to work on the things that are causing you to stumble? Does your pride cause you to believe that what you are struggling with is too small to make an effort to fix? God desires to be with us (John 15:16a). He gave up His own Son just so a relationship with Him would be possible (John 3:16). What are you doing to nurture your relationship with Him? Throughout your day, allow yourself to become conscious of the things that are getting in the way of your relationship with Christ and work on removing them. You will find that the more important you make Christ in your life, the more your relationship with Him will grow and the more obvious His presence in your life will be (James 4:8a).

Friday, May 12, 2006

Work Berserk? Pray Away!

It's not unusual, in this day in age, for people to pull numerous all-nighters per week just to make sure they get their work done. In fact, I myself pulled two all-nighters last week to make sure I met a deadline. Although for me this is an unusual occurrence, with the technology we have, we are able to do more in smaller amounts of time than we would have been able to do before. This, however, causes us to believe that, if we'd just grit our teeth and work a little harder, we could get even more done.

It's easy to feel overwhelmed and unappreciated with the amount of work many of us have. In fact, sometimes, in order to feel respected, we compete with others by comparing the amount of work we've completed in the little amount of time we've been given. However, I assure you, although we think we are busy, the amount of work we have is child's play compared to the amount of work that was given to Christ (Check out what Jesus says in Luke 5:23; there are way more sinners than righteous people! He was a busy man!).

Even though Jesus was constantly called upon by many and there was plenty of work to be done, the Bible says in Luke 5:16 that He "often withdrew to lonely places and prayed." You see, Jesus knew the importance of getting away from the troubles of this world by going to places of solitude and communicating with God. Jesus was showing us that, no matter how busy we think we are, we're never too busy to put God first.

God is aware of everything that takes place (Matthew 10:29-30, Psalm 139:1-16) and He knows that we can become stressed with what we have going on. In fact, the Bible tells us that God knows what we need even before we ask Him (Matthew 6:8)! God’s been gracious enough to provide for us 24 hours in a day. The least we can do is make time to communicate with Him and allow the Holy Spirit to guide us.

Are you spending too much time on worldly things and not enough time with the Creator? Has your life become a hypnotizing schedule of work then sleep, work then sleep? Be mindful that God is the maker of time and provides for those who call upon His name. Get in a habit of taking time out of your day to go away by yourself to talk with God (Matthew 6:6). By doing so, not only will you find refuge through His love from everyday strain, God will reveal to you where He wants you to be (Psalm 32:8).