Wednesday, September 1, 2010

A Daily, Mini Resurrection

The other day my wife told me that she liked me a lot better when we were on vacation.  I thought that was kind of rude till I realized that I liked myself better on vacation as well.  On vacation, life seemed full of endless opportunities to enjoy God’s blessings and bless others in response.  As a result, I was fun to be around.  But since coming back from vacation, I feel like I’m hungover from a cocktail of discouragement, frustration, and anxiety.  I want to enjoy God and bless others, but I’m just in a bad mood.  
I’ve been a follower of Jesus long enough to know that the solution isn’t to ask for more vacation time and the solution isn’t just to try harder to be the person I want to be.  I know the solution lies in letting God change me.  So, I set about bringing my discouraged, frustrated, anxious mind to God to be renewed.  
God is showing me that most days I awake with a mind already in a bad place.  I awake most mornings already ticked, frustrated, or tired.  Thankfully I’m not alone in my experience.  C.S. Lewis said,  The moment you wake up each morning, all your wishes and hopes for the day rush at you like wild animals.   That’s exactly what happens.  My mind is off and running without Jesus most mornings (when I’m not on vacation) and I’m trying to play catch up from there.  Which is why Lewis went on to say “And the first job each morning consists in shoving it all back; in listening to that other voice, taking that other point of view, letting that other, larger, stronger, quieter life come flowing in.”    I need Christ to perform a mini resurrection each day, awakening me from my sin stupor into the glory of His love and grace.  
Here’s a few things that I find necessary to experiencing a mind renewing resurrection each morning:
Make myself happy in Christ
I get up while the house is quiet and get a cup of coffee (which I believe is also part of Christ’s daily resurrection in me).  I sit in my favorite chair and I start the day telling God that I need Him to wake me up to real life.  Then I spend time reading and meditating in God’s Word till my heart is happy because of who God is and what He has done.  This may not sound very spiritual - that the goal is to have my heart happy in Christ, but this is what giants of the faith have discovered.  Consider George Mueller’s thoughts:
The first great and primary business to which I ought to attend everyday was, to have my soul happy in the Lord. The first thing to be concerned about was not, how much I might serve the Lord, how I might glorify the Lord; but how I might get my soul into a happy state, and how my inner man might be nourished.”  What a wonderful truth - God wants me to be joyful!  My first task of each day is to rejoice in Him.  
Bring my junk to Jesus
Now that my heart has been made happy in Jesus, I am in the right place to recognize and give over the junk in my mind that is not of Christ.  Romans 8:6 instructs me that “letting your sinful nature control your mind leads to death.  But letting the Spirit control your mind leads to life and peace.”  My sinful nature directs my thinking wrongly.  It directs me to worry about financial security instead of trusting God to provide all that I need.  It directs me to fixate on wrongs that others have inflicted on me instead of forgiving them because of Jesus.  It directs me to complain about the shortcomings of my family and friends instead of accepting and loving them as they are.  It directs me to think and rethink how to handle things differently at our church as if I am the one who causes the life of Christ to grow in others.  As I recognize these sinful thoughts, I confess them to Jesus - trusting that He has already died to take them away.  By confessing them to Jesus, I experience a profound exchange - Jesus takes my junk and puts it to death then gives me His life and peace in return.

Ask God to work in my troubles
The Christian faith isn’t escapism.  While I’m not supposed to fix my mind on the things that are troubling me - I’m not to ignore them either.  God has sovereignly placed me in the situations I find myself for His good purposes.  By making my heart happy in God and giving my junk over to Him, I am in a place where I am now ready to pray about the things that are troubling my mind - asking for God’s Kingdom to come and His will to be done in them.  
As I practice these things each morning, I find that God performs a mini resurrection in me.  He brings the life and peace of Jesus to my mind which was previously frustrated or worried or apathetic.   This changes my whole outlook and demeanor for the day - even how I relate to my family even though we're not on vacation!

1 comment:

  1. Such profound truth that we all are guilty of. Praise God for His emmense grace and for Wendy's blunt truth that points us to Jesus. I am praying for you Sam.