Respect dare series – day 9 – Gentle spirit

1 Peter 3:1-4

Likewise, wives, be subject to your own husbands, so that even if some do not obey the word, they may be won without a word by the conduct of their wives, when they see your respectful and pure conduct. Do not let your adorning be external—the braiding of hair and the putting on of gold jewelry, or the clothing you wear— but let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God’s sight is very precious.

Let us develop our character, and leave our husbands’ to God. I am hungry for more of the Lord. I don’t want to go before the throne of God and hear Christ say: “you were neither hot, nor cold”. I want Him to say: “Well done, good and faithful servant. You blazed hot for me. You allowed me to refine you into pure gold. You walked in my ways and you walked with my Spirit. You delighted in my Word. I am well pleased with you!” Sure, hey?

That’s my ambition and goal. I have a way to go, I know. But I want to be focused on drawing closer to God every day. I want to hear His heart every day. And I want my relationship with Him to be so pure and passionate that Glenn delights in it and is spurred on by it. I want to put on my new self, walking daily in the gentle and quiet spirit that only the Holy Spirit can work in me.

My action for today: One big way that I can be a witness in the midst of today’s society is by how I walk in respectfulness towards Glenn. He is the head of the home. Submission is a choice. I choose to submit to Glenn and respect his leadership. I will faithfully pray for God’s guidance and hope to speak wisdom to him to help him lead well.

My prayer for today:  Make me a respectful wife and pure, faithful servant of you, my Father. Keep me in purity of mind, body, soul and spirit. Make me hot as coals in the flame for your Kingdom. Cloth me in your gentle Spirit so that my words and actions may imitate His. In Jesus’ name, Amen.    

Get the fire blazing hot!

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What Fuels You?

We have all had times where we have been in a regular pattern of exercise and felt better for it. I am also sure we have had those times where our diet has consisted of more sugar or fat than it should do and we have felt sluggish as a result. It is like this in our lives too.

Earlier this week I typed out some thoughts about what drives us and our call to live passionately. To live passionately and to live passionately for God can be two different things. Passion drives us but it can drive us in the wrong direction. I think of the food example up above: we are driven to eat in order to restore our bodies but our bodies need more than just any old energy source; they need the right nutrients in the right quantities. Eating too much chocolate and not enough vegetables will result in sluggishness of body and mind.

The same can be said of our spiritual life. If we put the wrong energy sources in then our relationship with God will become sluggish. If we watch unwholesome T.V. programs then that content is what our minds will dwell on. If all day we ponder on our problems we will forget the greatness of God and rather than turning to Him in trust we will allow our molehill to turn into a mountain.

What about exercise? It has a similar affect to eating the wrong foods. If we don’t put in the exercise then our spiritual muscles will wither away. We cannot build a relationship if we do not invest in the other person. If we do not read God’s Word how will we learn of His character and nature? If we do not meet with other believers how can we function as the body of Christ? If we do not spend time in prayer how will we know what God wants to say to us? How can we live out His command to love others if we do not consider them or ask what their needs are?

We also have to make sure it does not become about works. Salvation is through grace alone – by accepting Christ’s sacrifice for our sin. We live in a way pleasing to God because of love for Him not to earn forgiveness or the praise of man. An attempt to work in ‘payment’ for God’s love can become the source that fuels our motivation. It is the wrong fuel source! – like putting unleaded petrol into a diesel run car. I’m no mechanic but I know that would not end well!

I don’t want to make suggestions because that would also be about works. However, I will give you an example: for Lent this year I have given up Facebook. Facebook has been a wonderful blessing to me over the last four years as it has enabled me to put up photos for people back home and keep them updated as to what I was doing in a very accessible way. But recently Facebook has become a detractor rather than a facilitator and so it is going for 40 days to put it back into its right place.

You know what exercise you need to take up, how you need to refuel and what wrong fuels have been entering your tank.

Seek out the right fuel sources to grow in your relationship with God and remember to exercise!

Exercise

What Drives You?

Passion spurs us on whereas disinterest in a subject can make it tedious and boring to explore. I was watching Louie Giglio talk on the Indescrible DVD from his tour of the same name. He is so passionate about astrology and science. It is his passion that engages his audience. People of passion draw us in. His other passion is God and the combination of the two has him positively beaming like a little boy. If you have not watched it I highly recommend it! (I’ve watched it four times in just two weeks!) Essentially, the DVD runs for 40 minutes and shows the vastness of the universe, how we really are so very, very small, and how very, very BIG God is!

Louie Giglio’s message could be summed up by these verses written by David:

Psalm 8:3-5 When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, what is man that you are mindful of him, and the son of man that you care for him? Yet you have made him a little lower than the heavenly beings and crowned him with glory and honor.

God’s greatness alone, however, does not lead one to live passionately for Him. Many people have lived their lives in fear of a god who they believe to be angry, vengeful, unjust or merciless. But we who know the truth know that God – the Creator of all the vastness of the universe, who made the stars and planets, the galaxies, and who holds it all together in his large hand – is also merciful, loving and gracious. He is all knowing and all powerful yet takes the time to consider us, small though we may be. He knows each of us by name and longs for us to call Him, “Father”.

Consider these verses in Hebrews as the author draws from the Psalm of David and shows the response of this great and all mighty Creator to His fallen creation who were separated from Him due to their sin:

Hebrews 2:8  It has been testified somewhere, “What is man, that you are mindful of him, or the son of man, that you care for him? You made him for a little while lower than the angels; you have crowned him with glory and honor, putting everything in subjection under his feet.” Now in putting everything in subjection to him, he left nothing outside his control. At present, we do not yet see everything in subjection to him.

Hebrews 2:9-10  But we see him who for a little while was made lower than the angels, namely Jesus, crowned with glory and honor because of the suffering of death, so that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone. For it was fitting that he, for whom and by whom all things exist, in bringing many sons to glory, should make the founder of their salvation perfect through suffering.

Christ, the Creator of all, came to earth, suffered and died the death of a common criminal in order to save us. Through his resurrection He has brought many sons to glory! We now have a way to God because of Christ’s sacrifice. Our God died for us. The Almighty One came to earth as a humble babe and lived a life of persecution to bring us back into a right relationship with God. Works could not do it. Living by the Law could not save us for no one could perfectly keep it. But our God made a way through His own blood.

Yep, I think He is more than deserving of our passion!

So we’ve determined that God is worth our passion. I am driven by God and my heartfelt desire to live for Him. What now?

God is both our Saviour and our Creator. We are not accidents.

Jeremiah 1:5 “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you; I appointed you a prophet to the nations.”

Psalm 139:13-16 For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well.  My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them.

God formed us. He made each of us different; each unique. We all have different gifts. We all have different interests; different passions; different dreams and visions; different abilities; a different task set before us.

I used to think, “I wish I could be a politician” because I value politics and I value the role it plays in society. I used to feel that if I went into politics I could make a bigger difference in this world. Problem is: I have no interest in politics!

Then I thought, “I wish I could be a businesswoman” then I could have made an impact for God by giving to missions or helping establish small businesses for other believers. I could model godly business principles to the world. Problem is: I really have no business sense!

Teachers have an amazing impact in the world. One of my best friends is the most incredible teacher. I know this, never having seen her teach, by hearing her speak of her students and her work. When I have kids I hope they get a teacher with her passion. She gives her all to discovering how to get the best from each students. She is constantly getting knew resources, or implementing new ideas or modifying her teaching strategies to better suit her kids. She is passionate about the children and she is passionate about her role as their teacher. She is also well suited to early primary because of her energy and child-like spirit. I adore her and I’m sure her kids do too. I know I wouldn’t do half the job that she does because I do not have her passion for teaching or  enthusiasm with you children.

Not to say that passion takes away all the trials of various jobs or the weight of responsibility others bring. I’m merely trying to show that what I was created for is not the same as you. I can best serve God in areas of my passion. He may call me out of these for a season or two but even in such seasons He has highlighted interests for me that I did not know I had. I love travel and exploring new cultures so my time in Africa suited me. I’ve heard plenty of people express the opinion that I’m crazy or that they could not do likewise. At first I was surprised – after all how could anyone not want to go to these beautiful places and meet such beautiful people? – but since then I’ve learnt that that God has gifted me with this desire. Other people are more comfortable at home, in cities, or in the familiar.  For me, I hate large crowds where others are at their best in large group settings. Not better or worse; just different!

So what is my encouragement to you through all of this? FIND YOUR PASSION!

Further examples from my life are writing, God’s Word and now the DRCongo. I can’t explain why these drive me except by saying that God placed them within me. It has meant sacrificing other things, such as time with family and friends and most of my savings, but it enables me to live a life of passion. Not only does passion attract others to us – it is very rewarding for oneself!

Here are some questions to think about which might help you consider your passions:

  • If you could take up a new hobby, what would it be and why?
  • What did you want to do when you were 2-3 years old (ask older relatives if you can’t remember!)?
  • What are some of the most memorable events in your life?
  • What do you find most:
    • Enjoyable?
    • Relaxing?
    • Rewarding?
  • What piques your curiosity? What subject do you enjoy learning about?

God is to be our number one drive in life but what else drives you? People are attracted to those living passionately. If we are to live as light and salt to the world then we need to start living as light and salt. Being zestful and bright is much easier when we are doing things that interest us.