Saturday, March 31, 2012

God doesn't owe me anything

Shortly after posting Next Steps, I sat in heavy thought.  For these past few years I told myself that "God doesn't owe me anything."  And here is why. 


Regardless of how much I do, or give, or pour out, or sacrifice, God doesn't owe me anything.  I can't stand before God and say, "I did (all these things), so.. You pretty much owe me one."  No one can finish a great fast or fulfill a great vow, in the name of God, and at the end, demand we get what we want.  That's called manipulation.  How foolish!  How foolish to think that it is possible to manipulate the Most High God!  Sure I can do all these things, but God doesn't owe me anything.

Plus- even if He did, I wouldn't get much in return.  Are we playing evens?  Okay.  Then what do I know about giving?  What do I know about giving Love?  Do I even understand Love?  LOVE?  In all its vastness and facets and depths and heights?  Do I understand the fullness of Love?  I don't.  At least, not in its entirety.  My giving, my loving, they are all flawed.  I could give to the best of me, but even the best is not perfect, and in this life, it never will be.  I give poorly.  So what would God owe me?   

It's mind-boggling.  (Am I expressing myself alright?)
It seriously blows my logic.
God doesn't owe me anything.

And yet- Beloved, YET-

Despite whoever I am and whatever I give and don't give, despite the fact that He is not tied to obey any demand I present before Him, despite my frail and sincere attempts to be and do and exist and operate-

He gives MORE and ABOVE and BEYOND all that we ask or imagine. 

This, Beloved, is GRACE.

God doesn't owe me anything, but OH how He gives so freely, because He loves without condition!  He does not love me on account of who I am -present, past, and/or future.  He does not love me based on the things I do, however pure, impure, tainted, sincere, intentional, subconscious.  He does not love me because of who I am, He loves me because of who HE IS.

God doesn't owe me anything, just because I've given Him time, energy, abilities, materials, or attention.  He gives to me because He is good.  He gives to me because He is a good Father -ABBA.  He gives to me as a Father because His delight is in me, He is pleased with me, He enjoys me!

And absolutely: He relishes in the moments when I, out of my free will, choose to give and Love Him with all my heart, soul, mind, and strength; when I choose not to let the realization of the faults of my flesh and self discourage my giving; when I recognize that I am weak but He is strong, and just because I am weak, does not make me un-accepted.  He loves the moments when I know I am accepted, desired, and loved.  Fault and all.  Good intention, or no intention.

God doesn't owe me anything.
In fact, perhaps I owe Him...

But oh! He delights when I am motivated by Love more than duty; and when I am called to duty, I obey because I Love Him.

He takes these parts of my life and remembers my faithfulness to Him, and He brings to my memory that I love because He loves first.  I give because He gave first.  I am faithful because He is faithful to me.  And when I am faithless, He remains faithful.  And when I am selfish and greedy, He still gives.  And when I turn my face away from Him, He still loves.  He is the First, the Last, the Author, the Finisher.

He is a grace I will never fully understand.
And He loves me.
But He doesn't owe me anything.


currently listening: "Running in Circles" by United Pursuit Band

Monday, March 26, 2012

next steps

(c) puresunday

oh.  what to do with myself.
Here's the backstory.

A few weeks ago, I finished what would be two years which I chose to consecrate to the LORD.  There were specific things I chose to abstain from in order to set myself apart, and to devote that heart space wholly and holy to the LORD (Side note: It wasn't until after I finished the two years that I realized it was practically a Nazarite vow, complete with the growing/not-cutting of my hair). After it finished, I was at this strange place of - I don't know what to do with myself.

It's not that God owes me anything.  That's something I've told myself this whole time.  No, God doesn't owe me anything just because I gave Him this time.  God doesn't owe me anything ever.  He's just so overwhelmingly gracious.  In fact, I was at a place of resolution- maybe He shouldn't give me anything.

The solitary lifestyle of prayer and worship had wound so tightly around me, that I both jokingly and honestly considered nunnery!  After all, their lives are devoted to prayer, worship, mercy, simplicity, modesty... all the things I love.  Then I can come out of my cave to tend to garden.  Perfect.
Everyone hates that idea.  Especially my parents.  Rightfully so.  My dad finds the most non-sensical opportunities to say "And it says in the Bible, 'Be fruitful and multiply!'" ~don't get me wrong! This is not about relationships.  What I'm saying is, my desire to live an outwardly consecrated life had overridden the desire for a variety of things, from a family of my own, to the "minor" things like careers and dreams.

Or so I told myself.

In fact, once the vow ended, in my mind I got technical and said, "Actually, because of [this or that event] the consecration actually ends in June.  or August."  Well.  That shouldn't be a factor, because if God were urged by time, my consecration (technically) has been going on for four years.  It's also very easy for me to volunteer to extend my vow of consecration.  Volunteer to make the consecration a little bit more intense.  Give up a little more.  A lot more. maybe.

But then the LORD told me....

"Thou shalt not take the name of God in vain."
- Exodus 20.27

My heart was exposed.  It IS exposed.

If I'm being honest with myself, my next step is not to continue a consecration of outer things to force my heart in line with Him.  I could do that, and there's nothing wrong with that, but that's not my real "desire," and the motives are not pure.  It's my excuse to not take a step forward.  It's fear of the unknown.  It's my lack of trust.

As I looked at next steps, I've been coming up with ideas of places that would hide me from trusting, hide me from the potential of getting hurt, hide me from people.  I often struggle with the purpose of community.  I hid behind my relationship with God... when all this time, I've been using it as my excuse to not reach out and even let myself be reached.

So what do I do with myself?

For one thing, regardless of whether or not I take part in these external things, I don't want my heart position to change.  This has always been my real desire - to keep myself consecrated to the LORD.  I still want to be as devoted to prayer and worship and Bible study.  I still want to be at a place of willingness to sacrifice.  I still want to live a life that is set apart as holy to the LORD.  If He brings situations and open doors my way, I will trust Him and walk through it in faith.

All these things are doable with or without the vow.  But initially, I did it as an outward declaration of abandonment to Jesus.

The point of this post is not to disregard Nazarite vows or fasting, because I am still a great advocate of it (When the LORD gives the OK, I will talk about what He taught me).  All I'm saying is that we can't do things, or declare to do things "in God's name" just to make something right when we know that we ordained it, and He didn't.  We can't tack on the words "God said," when God didn't really say.

However, we can be sure of at least one thing He did say: "Trust me."

Jesus, my heart is Yours.  Come feast or famine, plenty or want, I adore You, and there is none before You.  I trust You, Jesus, You always know what is best for me.


ps- that photo on the top was taken two years ago. fitting.

currently listening: Lisa Gottshall "All Is for Your Glory"
currently watching: The Prince of Egypt
reblogged on

Friday, March 2, 2012

what He would do

i wish the phrase "What Would Jesus Do?" didn't become so cliche, almost as if it'd be a joke to wear that bracelet from 10+ years ago.  after all, it's a question we actually SHOULD be constantly asking ourselves in any situation.  is not one of our goals to be like Him?  to awaken in His likeness? to choose the narrow road?

it is very easy to take the route of pride that confidently says, "i know how this will turn out, and this was a frequent route, and God never said 'no.'"  it's familiar, it's seemingly predictable, it apparently requires no faith.

and who knows, maybe Jesus WOULD do the thing you are about to do.

but sometimes, you never know... sure He probably didn't say "no," but has He said "yes?"

the YES of God is a more powerful blessing than any blessing and 'yes' of man.

Jesus, that we may be careful in our speech and actions, that our heart motives are of LOVE, that our desire is to be more like You; You, Yourself, have said that You only do what the Father does, and say what the Father says... why should I do any different?  Why should I be so independent of You, when You submitted Your will to Your Father?

My heart is Yours, what would You do?

...and help me to trust that You DO speak to me, and that the Spirit will, indeed, guide me into all Truth.