Sunday, May 29, 2016

No Room For a Selfish, Stagnant Heart

’I will stretch out My hand against Judah, and against all the inhabitants of Jerusalem…Those who have turned back from following the Lord, and have not sought the Lord, nor inquired of Him.’” -Zephaniah 1:4a, 6

“This they shall have for their pride, because they have reproached and made arrogant threats against the people of the Lord of hosts. The Lord will be awesome to them, for He will reduce to nothing all the gods of the earth; people shall worship Him, each one from his place, indeed all the shores of the nations.” -Zephaniah 2:10-11

“She has not obeyed His voice, she has not received correction; she has not trusted in the Lord, she has not drawn near to her God…The Lord your God in your midst, The Mighty One, will save; He will rejoice over you with gladness, He will quiet you with His love, He will rejoice over you with singing.’” -Zephaniah 3:2, 17
Before you get all confused, let me give you some background on my walk with the Lord lately. Dry, sluggish, a checklist… On Sunday May 22nd, we had a guest Pastor who knows Krav Maga, Tae-Kwon-Do, and one other thing I can’t remember the name of. He taught a lesson on the Armor of God in Ephesians 6. He also did some demonstrations using the skills he has to illustrate really how the enemy attacks and the importance of having the Armor on. It really shook me and reminded me of the true battle I am fighting and that I cannot be lazy…

Later on, that fine afternoon, I actually chose to use my time wisely, and sat down with the Lord and began my devotions for that day in Zephaniah. The latter part of verse six is what really struck me, “have not sought the Lord, nor inquired of Him.” To inquire of can mean to ask for information from someone or to investigate or look into something. My time with the Lord has become a checklist. I haven’t been digging deeper into what I’ve been reading. I’ve had lack of diligence and well, I’ve been down-right sluggish.

Slug-gish: slow-moving, inactive, lacking energy or alertness, slow to respond or make progress…stagnant
Lately, I’ve been finding myself ALWAYS tired. Being human, my immediate thought is more sleep, whether it be going to bed earlier or sleeping in a bit later…or both. I have been putting my fleshly desires before the Lord, with my sleep. I believe I’m always tired, because I’ve stopped really seeking God and inquiring of Him.

The next morning, getting up earlier than I have been, I read chapter two. God is so faithful to answer my prayers and lately it has been rather immediate. He first showed me that I haven’t been digging deep. He then showed me, through the second chapter, how prideful I have been and my actions because of it. The end of verse ten speaks of arrogant threats. I have not made any of those, but through that, the Lord brought to mind my speech towards others and even my thoughts. Things like, “you can ask me questions too you know,” or “why didn’t they call and ask me?” Me, me, me…IT’S. NOT. ABOUT. ME. Nor is it about any title. I’m prideful. Verse eleven goes on to speak of the Lord “reducing to nothing all the gods of the earth”. The god I am worshipping right now is me. From neglecting in my devotions, to fulfilling my fleshly desires, to my pride. But, “the Lord will be awesome to me”. I need to fear Him in reverence. He is infinite and I am finite. It’s because of my lack of time with Him that I have allowed my pride and my flesh to reign. Going to the root, that’s it, lack of time with Him, which ultimately leads to my heart. The heart of the problem is a problem of the heart.

But wait, there’s more. The following morning, I jumped into chapter three. Verse two, tied it all together for me. By not allowing myself to draw near to God, I’m not obeying Him, nor am I trusting Him. And I’m not receiving correction, because, well, I’m not really listening to Him. Yet, what is so wonderful, is what the Lord says in verse seventeen, “The Lord your God in your midst, The Mighty One, will save; He will rejoice over you with gladness, He will quiet you with His love, He will rejoice over you with singing.’” The Lord chastened me; wrecked me, but blessings come through Jesus Christ, who is the cause for praise and singing. He quiets me, humbles me, with His love…despite my sluggish, prideful walk lately, He loves me more than I can fathom…

Practically, I have been waking up earlier and spending more time with the Lord, reading slower, and praying for His wisdom and guidance. Recently, I felt led by the Spirit to message those dear to my heart who I haven’t had a chance to really keep in touch with and see how they’ve been doing and how I could be praying for them. I desire to do that with many other people I love. Doing it, really opened my eyes to the Lord’s working on each of their lives and it took my eyes off myself, which really blessed me. My day was filled with communion with Him and interceding for others, I felt refreshed and restored and a lot closer to God.

At the end of the day, if I’m not looking at God, I’m looking at something else and my motives will become distorted and wrong. Thank You, Jesus, for chastening me and tilting my head back up towards You and heaven.

Lord, forgive my stagnancy and pride. I look to You and I long
to press on down the path You've called me to. Thank You for
Your infinite love.

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