I found this blog entry at C J Mahaney’s blog. It raises some good questions that my flesh doesn’t want to answer.
At the beach retreat my prayer request was to find balance and not feel like I have to do everything. The woman praying for me shared this advice – turn all your priorities over to God and He will let you know which ones are important. I didn’t reveal this to all the women sitting in that room, but the very first thought that crossed my mind was that He might not want the same things I want to do. Which of course is why I wrote that prayer request. My real prayer request is to want the same things He wants, but as Tozer says in The Pursuit of God – “Father, I want to know thee, but my cowardly heart fears to give up its toys. I cannot part with them without inward bleeding…”
Today I was reading the articles in the January Table Talk. In an article by Burk Parsons on resolutions I was struck by his comment that “while every Christian would respond by saying, ‘Well, of course we must depend on God for all things,’ most Christians have been sold the world’s bill of goods. They think that once they become dependent on God, then they will have immediate strength.” I hate resembling “most Christians” when mentioned in an article like this.
I know I struggle with real discipline. It’s easier to pray about something and then jump right back into action. The problem with getting by on my own strength when things are good is that I am so easily thrown off balance the minute things look a little shaky.
Back to that blog entry by C J Mahaney. I want to be diligent, faithful, and fruitful. Right now I’m much better at being busy. The thought of praying for a more fruitful life fills me with excitement and dread. The excitement because that’s what I was made for. The dread because my flesh struggles to believe God and to trust Him. What if it hurts? What if it’s hard? What if it changes the comfortable life I have right now? … What am I missing by settling for what I have right now?
A later blog entry by C J Mahaney gets right to the point, our sin. I repent of my pride, my fear of others, my laziness, my pleasure-seeking, and my escapism. I’ve seen all of those just today. I must restructure my desk and my day so that it is much harder to skip the time alone with God each morning. Just committing to do it won’t work, I’ve tried that many times before.
From another blog entry in this series:
Let our confidence be uniform. In all thy ways acknowledge him (Proverbs 3:6). Take one step at a time, every step under divine warrant and direction. Ever plan for yourself in simple dependence on God. It is nothing less than self-idolatry to conceive that we can carry on even the ordinary matters of the day without his counsel.
He loves to be consulted. Therefore take all thy difficulties to be resolved by him. Be in the habit of going to him in the first place—before self-will, self-pleasing, self-wisdom, human friends, convenience, expediency. Before any of these have been consulted go to God at once. Consider no circumstances too clear to need his direction.
In all thy ways, small as well as great; in all thy concerns, personal or relative, temporal or eternal, let him be supreme.
–Charles Bridges (1794–1869), from A Commentary on Proverbs (Banner of Truth, 1846/1968) pp. 24–25.
C J Mahaney gives some steps in yet another blog entry (his are much shorter and more manageable than mine, obviously).
Define my God-given roles. I base this on where has God placed me and where am I positioned to serve others?
- aunt, daughter, sister, friend
Then I should determine specific, theologically informed goals.
Then I can transfer these goals into my schedule. More likely, I can weed out the time-fillers and time-wasters that are keeping me away from my goals right now. Those are the toys that I am afraid will hurt to let go of.
All of the C J Mahaney articles in order: