May it be to me as you have said. – Luke 1:38
Saying ‘yes’ to God is not just about responding to his great callings upon our lives, it is also about aligning our daily lives to his will and promise.
If we start off each day with a time of prayer and/or Bible reading – it is good to find at least one nugget that we can take through the day with us.
Finding that nugget is only half the story – it is also about remembering it, revisiting it and applying that nugget to whatever situations we walk into it as the day unfolds.
Spend a little time to find that nugget, write it down, and take it through the day with you.
Ephesians 6:10 talks about us being strengthened in the Lord. So often we need that strength, but we try and find it by gritting our teeth and getting on with the task in hand. Is there a better way?
It all comes to what it means to be ‘in the Lord’. Because we have Christ in us, we are ‘in the Lord’ – but that is not to assume that every word we speak is prompted by him. When we next need something, be it patience, strength, wisdom, love, let’s take a moment to switch off from everything around us, to remember that we do indeed bear his name, his presence, and commit that need to him. This need not be a long process, just to say the word ‘Jesus’ would do it – let’s see what happens.
Hebrews 11:6 tells us that without faith it is impossible to please God. This can seem like one of those harsh and condemning verses – actually it is such good news. All of us have times when we have to hang on with gritted teeth. God seems distant or we cannot feel his love. At these moment, it really is faith and not feelings that keeps us holding onto God. If it is faith that brings him pleasure, then these moments of seeming darkness for us are touches of light for him.
Ephesians 3 tells us that Jesus dwells in our hearts. He is not there in a way that can often be physically felt – and for good reason. If we responded to him only because we physically felt him there – our response would not necessarily be one of love, but duty. Because we cannot feel him, there is the possibility of ignoring him – so when we do respond, it is out of love and relationship.
Ephesians 5:1 seems to be an impossible command – to be an imitator of God. Take a minute to see it in the context of the last verses of the previous chapter. In those verses Paul had asked that his readers act in three ways – that they speak well of each other, that they get rid of all bitterness, and that they are kind and compassionate to one another.
If this is how we imitate God, then God is just like that to us. He speaks well, even thinks well of us. He has no bitterness towards us, and he is kind and compassionate towards us.
Take a few moments to rest in these truths today.
The reality of Christ in us is not just something to bring us comfort, but is also something that is to be a blessing for others. In Ephesians 4:31 for example, Paul encourages us to ‘get rid of all bitterness’. How can we do this?
Bitterness is not a part of the Jesus that dwells within us, it comes from elsewhere. When we find negative emotions rising up, that is the time to find the presence of Jesus within us, and to find the good things that dwell in us because he dwells in us.
It is not about an act of will, but rather finding the one within, and letting him shine through us.
Ephesians 3:17 speaks about Christ dwelling in our hearts. If that is true, then it must mean that everything that goes with Christ is also in our hearts – his goodness, his kindness, his strength, his power, his patience . . .
Whatever our need at this time, the answer is in the fact that Christ is in us, and as we tune into his presence, it becomes possible to find what we need from his presence.
Take a moment to
1] identify our need
2] tune into the reality of Christ within us
3] find what is in him to meet that need