Friday, June 29, 2012

Going Deeper?

             Who am I? Who am I living for? What is the purpose of my existence? Have you ever asked yourself these questions? Have you ever felt like something was missing in your life? Like you just hadn’t quite hit the mark you were supposed to? I have been feeling that way lately. I have felt like something was missing in my days, but wasn’t sure what or who was missing. I have been doing my “Mary” time, and being obedient in what He has called me to do, but still, there seemed to be something missing, and I couldn’t put my finger on it. Some days my devotion time seemed more out of focus than it did in focus. My prayer time seemed hollow and unfulfilled; there was a passion and fire missing but I didn’t know or understand where it had gone.
                This morning, as I sat down to pray, I cried out to my God, my Father in heaven to help me go deeper. It seemed I had only been allowing Him to scratch at the surface of my heart, and I wanted Him to take me deeper, there was a desire in me this morning to grow. I needed to grow. I go through periods like this occasionally. I know that I need to go deeper, I know that there are things in my life that He does not approve of, and I desire to “grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.” (2 Peter 3:18) But for some reason, I just can’t seem to get there.
                As I was praying this morning, and crying out to my God and Father to help me be who He wants me to be, to take me completely, the words, “grow in the grace and knowledge” kept coming into my mind. So, I opened my bible and read 2 Peter 3:18. But there seemed to be something I was missing, still. I backed up a verse, and read verse 17. “You therefore, beloved, since you know this beforehand..” Well, there has to be something else, because according to Peter I am to “know this beforehand”. My eyes took me to verse 14, to the next “therefore”, and Peter tells me, “beloved, looking forward to these things,..” What things? Once again, I had to backup the pages of my bible and find out what exactly Peter was telling me I should look forward to and know beforehand.
                “But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night, in which the heavens will pass away with a great noise, and the elements will melt with fervent heat; both the earth and the works that are in it will be burned up. Therefore, since all these things will be dissolved, what manner of persons ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness,” 2 Peter 3:10-11.
                “What manner of persons ought you to be…” that hit me right in core of my heart. Based on what Peter is telling me, my days upon this earth are limited; they are short and grow shorter by the minute. Jesus could descend from the heavens at any moment, and the question the Lord asked me today, “What manner of persons ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness?” What areas of my life are still not where the Lord God wants them to be? What have I not let go of, that He is asking me to lay down today?
                Everything that I see in and around the world, upon this earth, is going to be burned up and melt away like molten lava to make a new heaven and a new earth which the Lord God has promised to those of us who believe in His Son, Jesus Christ, “in which righteousness dwells.” (2 Peter 3:13) So what sort of person am I? What sort of person does He want me to be?
                Peter tells us what sort of persons we must be, the question is, are we willing to do whatever it takes to be that person? Even if it means letting go of someone or something? That was a question I had to ask myself this morning, and an even harder one to answer. Peter tells us what manner of persons we need to be if we continue reading. Peter says that our person, who we are,  is found in our conduct and in our actions; “…in holy conduct and godliness.” Holy conduct refers to our behaviors, the way in which holy living shows itself through my behaviors. If I get upset and throw a fit or lose my temper and yell at someone- is that holy conduct? Are there areas in my life that need to be let go of because they affect the way I live my life? Does everything I do reflect who I am in Christ Jesus? These are some very hard questions I need to answer in my life right now. I prayed to go deeper, and I prayed to grow in the Lord, to do that I have to allow the Lord God, my heavenly Father to go deep into my heart and weed out all that is not holy in conduct or in behaviors. This is going to hurt, but I am confident that He will do the work if I allow Him to do it.
                God is not forcing you to grow, nor will He come and work in you uninvited. If you are stuck in a rut like I am, then perhaps there are areas of your life that the Lord God wants to work on, but, like me, you were not quite ready to let Him in there. Our hearts are full of things, sins, and behaviors that are not holy. But He desires to make us holy, complete unto Him. Are you willing to let Him in?
                But Peter doesn’t stop there with just our behaviors and our conduct. He continues and tells us to be the person we are supposed to be in “godliness”. I don’t consider myself a “godly” person, but the Lord God wants me to be godly. Godliness is a reverence and respect towards God. It is piety characterized by a Godward attitude, and does that which is well pleasing to Him alone. As conduct refers to our behaviors, godliness refers to our actions. If we say we love God, then our actions will reflect our beliefs.
                So, knowing all this, how do we become the “manner of person” that the Lord God wants us to be?  We keep our eyes on the heavens. Peter tells us in verse 14 that we look “forward to these things,” the day of the Lord, and we are to be “diligent to be found by Him in peace, without spot and blameless,” (2 Peter 3:14) John tells us that if we have this hope in us, the hope of His coming, the hope of seeing Him as He sees us, we purify ourselves. (1 John 3:3)  As we focus our attention on the heavens and not allow our eyes to be deceived by what we see upon this earth, our conduct, behaviors, attitudes and actions will begin to change.
                My days have been filled with earthly things. But my heart longs for the heavenly. The question we have to ask ourselves when we feel like we are missing out on something, when we can’t quite put our finger on what is wrong– what manner of person am I? I am a pilgrim, a stranger in a strange land. I wait for the promise of a new land, I wait for the promise of God to all those who believe on Jesus Christ. In this, we purify ourselves through the hope of His coming. So how will I know what manner of person I am becoming? I take a look at my behaviors and my actions. Do they line up with someone who is waiting for Jesus Christ to return? Peter encourages us to not give up, but to “be diligent to be found in Him” and as we focus our eyes on the coming promise, our hearts, our lives, our behaviors and our actions will begin to line up as well.
                I have a lot to let go of. I have things and areas in my life that need to be laid down at His feet, and I have a lot of areas that I need to surrender to Him yet. But one thing I have learned today is that who I am matters to Him. He desires to work in me and through me, as the potter works the clay, so does He desire to work in me. The question is “what manner of person” do I want to be when He comes back for me? For I do not know what day that will be, but I have a hope that lives in me and that hope tells me to be ready, to be found doing what pleases Him when He comes for me. What about you? Is who you the manner of person He wants you to be?
                Father God, thank You for Your word. Your word is life and Your word is hope. Today, I come before You and I willingly lay down all that I have held onto. I turn my eyes towards the coming promise of Jesus Christ. Mold me, shape me, draw me deeper so that I may become the manner of person that You desire me to be. May You be glorified, may the coming of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ be the expectant hope and desire of my heart from now and to the His appearing. You are God, forever and ever. Amen.