Friday, July 11, 2014

center stage

I remember one day during my Advanced semester at Ellerslie, I came into my room and burst out to my dear roommate, Elly: "I'm SO afraid!" *awkward pause* "I'm so afraid that someday, something or someone is going to come between me and Jesus. And I love Him SO MUCH right now, and I'm growing in leaps and bounds and He is so altogether lovely and worthy to me....what if that changes?! How horrible would that be!?" We talked it out for a while, acknowledging that there are times in a Christian's life of immense growth, but other times when it's more subtle and slow, and our Advanced semester was definitely the former. But yet, even in a time of slower growth in Christ, our focus should not waver from our Beloved.
"Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. For consider Him who endured such hostility from sinners against Himself, lest you become weary and discouraged in your souls." - Hebrews 12:1-3
It's been the cry of my heart for months, almost years now - in an aggressive, offensive type way. Nothing makes my heart ache more than the thought that something in this world could take my eyes away from Jesus Christ. It's happened before, and I love Him so much....and He loves me even more than that....the thought of doing something that grieves or hurts Him is pretty gut-wrenching. And oh, how many times I fail Him! How many times I stick a toe in the world, "It's not *that* bad...." and open the door to temptation.
"No one engaged in warfare entangles himself with the affairs of this life, that he may please him who enlisted him as a soldier." - 2 Timothy 2:4
But yet, the beauty of all this is that He actually, truly loves me. ME. Liza. Little old me. And He waits oh, so patiently for His wandering little girl to turn and repent, prodding me as the loving Shepherd that He is and pursuing me with the love and energy of a Bridegroom. And He's there, with open arms, ready for me when I repent, ready to start over with a clean slate, loving me all the time.
"My little children, these things I write to you, so that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. And He Himself is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the whole world." - 1 John 2:1-2
What a picture! What love! What freedom! Not freedom to sin, but freedom to LIVE. Freedom to love. Freedom to rejoice in who I am in Him, not who I am in the eyes of the world. He's given us this beautiful world in live in, talents to use to glorify His name, hands and feet, tongue and mind to serve and point others to Himself - and heart that is ever growing in capacity to love Him and the people He created.

Every time I "consider Him", I love Him more. And it's a matter of keeping my focus on Him that will keep me from distractions. The more I'm saturated in Jesus, the less I'll care about the things of this world. There have been times in my life where I've wanted to just throw honor and care to the wind and just do what the world does, just once! Just for a little while! It's just *too hard* to be like Jesus *all the time*! But then I look at Him again....and those "desirable" things look pretty rotten next to His beautiful holiness. Oh, turn your eyes upon Jesus! Look FULL in His wonderful face! And the things of earth will grow strangely dim in the light of His glory and grace!
"Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—is not of the Father but is of the world. And the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever." - 1 John 2:15-16
We go through seasons. We mature and change. We go through peaks and valleys in life, and our angle on Christ broadens. But He stays the same. Holy, holy, holy. Other than, other than, other than. Right now, I'm in a season where I can pursue Him with undivided attention - minimal responsibility, and not much on my plate. That's not going to last forever. But I can work and strive to build a foundation now that will last through the harder times - if I'm not focused on Christ now, why should I expect to focus on Him when distractions and responsibilities double or triple?
"For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ, and being ready to punish all disobedience when your obedience is fulfilled." - 2 Corinthians 10:4-6
I've had to go through difficult times in my relationships with people here on earth - asking hard clarifying questions, repenting, and letting go...once it even took fourteen months for a friendship to be restored, but if I am so willing and eager to make things right with my beloved brothers and sisters here on earth, how much MORE should I be pursuing a deeper and more pure relationship with Jesus?! It's a convicting and thought-provoking question to ask yourself.

I don't want anything to come between me and my Jesus. Nothing, no one. Like any relationship, it takes work, time and energy....but like any relationship that is founded on Rock, it grows sweeter, richer and deeper with time.

Whatever it takes, I'm willing to go that far and beyond to keep Him center stage. It won't be easy, but it's beautiful and eternally worth it. Always.

photos taken by me of the beautiful double rainbow (you can barely see it in the photos) over our house this week.

1 comment:

  1. "Nothing between my soul and my Savior,
    So that His blessed face may be seen;
    Nothing preventing the least of His favor;
    Keep the way clear! Let nothing between."
    -Charles Tindley