Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Day 28

I started off my bible study time today by listening to a Matt Chandler sermon from his Luke series. Basically he said there are 2 great temptations outlined in Luke Chapter 14. And to be honest I've been guilty of both.

In Luke chapter 14:26, Jesus says if anyone comes to him but doesn't hate his father and mother, his wife and children, his brothers and sisters and even his own life - that he can't be his disciple. That sounds harsh but God isn't saying to literally hate your family. He is saying to make them ultimate in your life.

My husband and kids do not complete me. I never realized this before today but I put them in that position. I worked so hard to be super mom and super wife that I lost sight of who I was in Christ. At that point it becomes convoluted and haphazard at best. They cannot fulfill that in me and it bred frustration.

God does want me to be a wonderful wife and mom and to fulfill that calling, but not at the expense of having it become ultimate in my life. I find that hard to balance even for a mom of average kiddos but what about special needs kiddos? They tend to monopolize our lives. It's an excuse but I never even realized I did this to this degree before today.

The second temptation is the pursuit of happiness over the pursuit of joy. Somehow as Christians may of us have decided that we deserve happiness. That it's a right. But think of Jesus before he went to the cross. He was distraught. He asked God to remove this suffering from him. God didn't so he obeyed. He certainly couldn't have been happy in that moment as described in the Garden of Gethsemane. But he endured it with joy. (Matthew 26:26-56, Mark 14:32-52, Luke 22:40-53 and John 18:1-11).

There is such a blatant difference between happiness and joy. They are not synonymous. Happiness isn't wrong. It's a pleasant emotion we feel when we are happy about our circumstances. But the key is it's based in circumstance. It only takes one moment to have a wonderful day shattered by something as simple running out of toilet paper or a waitress not getting our order right, much less something catastrophic. Happiness will never sustain us through difficult circumstance.

God didn't send Jesus to save me so I could be happy. To quote Matt Chandler, God sent Jesus to fill us with joy. Worship creating, dark day sustaining, God exalting joy.

God knows how temporarl and fleeting happiness is and He wants us to endure and chase joy as if it were the most important thing we could seek after.

I have been guilty of both of these temptations. I have made my family ultimate in my life. I have also sought happiness over joy. I thought that I deserved to be happy because of the crappy life I had prior to become a Christian. And it really is ok to be full of faith and expect good things and pray for these things. But life happens. And when those trials come my way the only thing that will sustain peace in my life is joy. Unexplicable joy.

I can transform my behavior without joy. I actually have. Prior to becoming saved in 1995, my behavior was erractic at best. I did crazy and cruel things in an effort to fill a God shaped void in my life. After I became a Christian I knew life had to be different but I never really understood how it was to happen. So somehow I transformed my behavior. And I did a good job at it. I became focused and less erratic and more easily pleased. But I never dealt with the issues that lead to the crazy, erratic behavior so eventually those issues grew back up in my heart until I was forced to deal with them.

Transforming my behavior didn't develop my relationship with God. I needed to engage my heart and let Him transform my soul. That's what I'm doing now, 14 years later. Sigh. I wish I had understand this many years ago.

Today's Reflection: What a hard day of reflection. Father forgive me for making my family and my happiness ultimate in my life. Help me stay balanced in this area and to be the wife and mother you have called me to be. I can only fulfill that calling through You Lord. Be ultimate in my life. You are already showing me how. Show me more.


Angela October 28, 2009 at 10:01 PM  

Good insights. It took me a lot of counseling to realize that my husband didn't and couldn't complete me.

I'm following from the MBC followers club. I'm at

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