So, I was talking to God this morning and I was confessing one of many ways I get things subtly wrong – just wrong enough that it keeps my pride front and center, in the driver’s seat. He and I both know I am not a good driver.
I said to Him, Lord, when I read your word, I notice that I sometimes dance past words, verses and passages as though I really “got it.” Yep, read it thousands of times. One such passage is “But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you” Matthew 6:33.
What does that verse really mean? Does it mean that if a) I seek God’s kingdom and His righteousness then b) He will add all these other things to me? Well then, I better get busy with a) because b) sounds like a great prize.
In my flesh there lives a tricky girl (I call her Ethel) who subtly desires to find short cuts. If she can turn God’s word into a checklist, then she can follow on her own without supervision and just wait for the reward. When Ethel is in charge, it is all about tasks and rewards, not about mutual relationship.
What’s her problem?
What is her problem? She looks at the word of God like a gumball machine. Ethel’s main interest is determining exactly what it takes to get the gumball.
This is embarrassing to admit to admit to God, but I felt like it was important, because He and I need to work together to straighten this girl out. She hides in my head, ready to take over at a moment’s notice. When she is in charge, the world is a controllable and predictable place – all dimes and gumballs, just like she likes it.
Ethel tries to distract me (no challenge there) and lure me into this nearly undetectable mindset that I can turn obedience into a time efficient activity. And if I try hard enough, perhaps earn God’s reward. Ethel loves a meritocracy.
So I asked the Lord – Why am I attracted to “obedience” based on grit, effort, and determination? He answers, (I’m paraphrasing) “Because you want to control everything – the action and the outcome. It would really be in your best interest to stop.”
So, Lord, what does it really mean to “seek first Your Kingdom and Your righteousness?” Ethel is not going to like the answer.
What’s the answer?
It is not just a noble ideal or a delightful sentiment. It is not even just a polite suggestion. It is how I must live as Your disciple. It is not a task, but rather a life reorientation, a transformation and a mission.
I’m not at all equipped to do it, and yet, I am responsible to do it.
Only You can begin to equip me to know what it means and to live that way. It means Ethel (and her “Can-Do” attitude) needs to die – daily.
Ethel reduces You too Someone you are not. But You are not a remote boss that phones in orders. You are not a distant parent, with no time to be bothered. You are Lord God Almighty, and yet, You are my Father. I am your child.
So, Lord how do you want me to respond to you?
In my spirit, He says “like a child.” How do children respond to you?
- without resistance
- trusting without hesitation
- with no boundaries or barriers
- without agenda
- expecting to be lavished with love
- receiving Your love gladly
What do I believe?
Do I believe that you are a busy father with no time for me? Or rather, do I trust that You are always fully present, and that I am the apple of your eye, your child in whom you take full delight? Will I respond like a child? Will I retire my “Can-Do” attitude?
Only by Your supernatural work can You unwind the threads of the world woven into me. The overachiever, perfectionist with A.D.D. who is buried in piles of unfinished projects – what are we going to do with her, Lord? She is clouded by her sense of failure, but is convinced with a little more work, she will get there. Someday. But that is not how it works.
“But He said, What is impossible with man is possible with God.” (Luke 18:27)
Lord, do I believe that changing me is Your supernatural work that You delight in doing? Yes, I do.
I must stop, wait, and surrender all of the pride in me that wants to take over. I know I must wait on you, and while I wait I must quiet Ethel’s voice that says “go, do, hurry, you will never finish…” Ethel speaks a truck load of nonsense that dulls my hearing of Your voice.
Yes, I trust You, Lord. You have been working, are working, and will continue to work. That is what You do. You are unstoppable. And You are my Father. I am going to drown Ethel by singing Your praises. She hates to hear me sing. “How deep the Father’s love for us, How vast beyond all measure, that He should give His only Son, to make a wretch His treasure…”