Saturday, July 27, 2013

what is that to you? you follow me.

sometimes i get jealous of single people or married people without kids.  i remember those days: my favorite thing to do was to go hang out at a coffee shop four, five, six hours.  not fitting my life around nap schedules.  sleeping in and relaxing on the weekends.  not feeling constantly drained.  i became a mom at age 24 (most 24 year olds i know are still "living it up") and have spent the last 3 years pouring out my days to little ones.

sometimes i get jealous of lukewarm christians.  the hardest thing they have ever dealt with was when their puppy died (since the Enemy sees no need to bring anything more difficult than that into their life).  they are buying new clothes every month (with little concern about how God wants them to spend their money), not having to serve at church (just consuming what they want to take), not feeling the burden of their own sin or the sin of those they love (just floating along blissfully ignorant), not having to sacrifice (besides having to roll out of bed by 9:45am on sunday to make it to church in time), and with little concern for mission (unless the american dream counts as mission).

sometimes i get jealous of people with "easy" adoptions (easy is a misnomer.  all adoptions are hard in some way. i just mean people who have had an easier time than us).  they bring a child into their home, they go through a few legal bumps and turns and a year or two later they are finalizing an adoption.  we are three years out from our first placement, with no adoption even on the horizon.

in a way, it makes sense that i would be jealous of these things. being a parent is hard (especially being a foster parent).  serving jesus is hard.  

but at the end of the day, i have chosen to follow jesus.  and jesus has given me a passion to raise up disciples of Christ (of first importance my children, and of second importance everyone else), which is why my days are full of sacrifice and living for others.  doing these things is building up real and lasting treasure, treasure in heaven, which is ultimately much more satisfying than an afternoon at a coffee shop whenever i want or buying all the clothes that would make me "happy".  in 100 years, i will not care about money or relaxation; only who is in heaven and who isn't.

when i am tempted to believe the lie that my life would be better if only _____ (fill in the blank), then i have to intentionally turn my mind back to truth: 

1.  "when christ calls a man, he bids him come and die" -bonhoeffer.
when jesus called me to follow him, the offer entailed leaving behind all that the world holds dear.  since i still live in the world, it is painful to leave these things behind.  but the more i know jesus, the less painful it is.

2."now i rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh i am filling up what is lacking in Christ's afflictions for the sake of his body, that is the church"  colossians 1:24 
what does this verse mean?  john piper puts it this way: 
"What’s missing is the in-person presentation of Christ’s sufferings to the people for whom he died. The afflictions are lacking in the sense that they are not seen and known among the nations. They must be carried by ministers of the gospel. And those ministers of the gospel fill up what is lacking in the afflictions of Christ by extending them to others."
suffering is the price of mission.

3.  When Peter saw [John], he said to Jesus, “Lord, what about this man?” Jesus said to him, “If it is my will that he remain until I come, what is that to you? You follow me!” john 21:21-22

i don't need to compare my ministry to the ministry God is calling other christians to.  my main focus needs to be on following what he wants from me.  right now he wants me to raise children (even some that aren't mine), disciple women and share the gospel.  this is what i fill my days with.

4.  "godliness with contentment is great gain.  for we brought nothing into the world and we cannot take anything out of the world. but if we have food and clothing, with these we will be content." 1 timothy 6:6-8

i am praying for godliness and contentment.  God says these things are great gain.  he does not call material possessions great gain.

5. "for we do not lose heart.  though our outer nature is wasting away, inwardly we are being renewed day by day.  for this light and momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory that far surpasses them all, as we look not to things that are seen, but things that are unseen.  for the things that are seen are temporary, but the things that are unseen are eternal." 2 corinthians 4:16-18

the things i get jealous of are temporary things.  as i set my sight on and live for unseen things, i am living for that which will last forever.

what or whom are you jealous of?  do these things resonate with you?

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