Thursday, April 29, 2010

Coming Apart

by Donna L. Watkins

God is such an encourager and I know He loves us more than we can imagine. If we are willing, He will guide us into a full and complete relationship with Him and others. I think God is taking us into a whole new level of life. God's been leading me to rivers of love and grace. Too often we fill our lives with Truth and forget the Grace part.

© 2010 Donna L. Watkins - Blue-winged Teal Diving for Food
Savannah River National Wildlife Refuge
Of course, to have grace you need to be filled with love. But either position can be done to extremes as we see in child-rearing methods. Some can be so disciplined and structured that there is no evidence of love, which produces a robotic type of person that seems to operate on programs and lists of rules.

Others can be so filled with grace that there is no evidence of discipline, which makes for an undisciplined adult, not of much use to anybody.

We need a balance of both in our lives. God tells us that His #1 commandment is to love Him and others. We've all read that, but have we taken it as our first priority? Do we make that our first goal in our spiritual walk or do we do the things that are easier? Things that we're more suited to with our talents and natural skills. The Bible tells us what gifts are given, but it also tells us the fruits we are to display. Jesus said we will know true Christians by their fruit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Joyce Meyer says that it seems God placed Love and Self-control as bookends for all the others because without them we can't produce the rest.

Do we focus on producing these fruits in our lives? Or do we focus on what we want to do "for the Lord." If we don't have a consumable love for God and a life of expressed love for others, what we are "doing" for the Lord is pretty worthless. We can't produce fruit with dead works. Christ calls us to "follow Him" ... to come apart from our busy lives and to seek what will truly satisfy. To come to the well for Living Water that will cause us to thirst no more.

We are a thirsty people, but we seek water and refreshment in all the wrong places. In shopping, houses, cars, job titles, sports, food, alcohol, drugs, sex, beauty, music, entertainment and every other provision the world gives us saying "THIS will fulfill your soul." And yet our souls are empty and still thirsty.

Randal and I have been having a very sobering time in the Lord. We have "come apart" to God's call to lean into Him and have been spending an average of five hours a day in spiritual food, prayer, and study. This began in December and although reasoning would say we've had a lot of time and we've come a long way in changing our thinking .... God indicates within us that "we ain't seen nothing yet." Let me quickly say that our call may not be your call, but God is calling each of us in His own way individually. Are you listening? Do you hear Him? What has He been saying to you?

Every thing we are being led to watch, read, receive by email, or listen to on CDs is all coming together to repeat and repeat things that have the intent purpose of renewing our minds. We choose a CD series with a topic of interest and find that within it are the same messages God's been showing us in a multitude of other ways ... even though you would think it would not relate to that at all.

How many people feel as though God is far from them? That the heavens are brass to their prayers? Yet, as we choose obedience (which is better than sacrifice - I Sam. 15:22), we see Him confirming things time after time on a daily basis. While there were times when we felt like we couldn't hear what God was saying ... we were simply too far away to be able to listen. As we draw near to God, He draws near to us (James 4:8). We aren't hearing audible voices, but all the confirmations and promptings of the Holy Spirit are like receiving faxes and emails direct from God. Isn't that what we're always wanting? Direct contact? But how do you have direct contact with anything without being in the presence of it?

When God says He will guide you, He will. If we are willing to obey His call to "come apart" and if we "lean in" determined to allow Him to reshape and mold us for this season of life, He will make changes in us that will turn our world upside down. All that we thought we knew will be blown into space, as He creates within us a dedicated desire to truly "follow Him." Not our own thoughts, reasonings or gifts and skills ... our focus on what we are fades away as we focus on Who He is.

"Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor have entered into the heart of man, the things which God has prepared for those who love Him. But God has revealed them to us through His Spirit." (I Cor. 2:9-10)

The first battle we had was thinking we had to figure out how we could carve five hours a day out of life. After all, we have a business to run and commitments to keep. That's all about doing, isn't it? We have to provide for ourselves and we have to do what we have on our commitment list and we have to keep our lives running like clockwork. We slowed down a long time ago, which is why we chose to have a business of our own and pattern it in a more simplistic lifestyle ... but along the way, the simplicity of it was left behind and we joined in the rat race in many aspects.

The foundational belief that DOING is more than BEING is what has ripped apart our true service for the Lord and it's taken relationship right out of the picture. Yet God made us to BE. To have relationship with Him (walking and talking in the Garden) and with others (it was not good for man to be alone). Isolation is the sickness of our world. Technology has put us further and further away from true relationships and we wonder why we are feeling so unfulfilled when we're "in touch" with so many people in a day's time with cell phones and computers.

How do we get back to the Garden lifestyle? How do we get off the rat race track and get on to the pathway of life? God has those answers. They're not the same for everybody ... but if you ask with a willing heart ... you will get the answers. Then you will be challenged with whether or not you will step out into the unknown with obedience to His call. It's not about what He'll want to you do, initially. Yes, we are to serve, but our service is dead if we are not loving God with our whole heart, soul and mind.

When we are surrounded in a realm of His love that we have so absorbed that we can then walk in love towards others, that's the time for doing. Prior to that, we better learn how to BE first. That's the path we are on in our home in this season of life. God never gives up on us no matter our age or how stubborn and strong willed we are. I have a strong personality that God has been reshaping for many years in many different ways. Praise our Father for being ever so patient, merciful and gracious to continue to parent us ... even when we think our own self-confidence is enough.

Related Articles

A Call to Come Apart - Wade Taylor
Our Personal Coming Apart - Donna Watkins

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