Tag Archives: Psalm

Befriend Faithfulness

I don’t want to make a new year’s resolution. The thought of making up some kind of new task, calling this thing a resolution, and approaching it as if the very success of 2011 depends on its completion, simply doesn’t appeal to me. And yet, it is not that I find myself approaching 2011 with any lack of resolve, my drive for purpose would not allow this to be the case. Why? Because I know I am called to be found faithful. Yet more and more I am realizing, this call may have more to do with being and becoming and less with doing and achieving. As I approach a year, which promises change, I realize, this call may have more to do with hanging on to Jesus, than with what I could purpose to achieve.

Faithfulness. God’s faithfulness amazes me. He is so good, and He is so faithful. He displays and proves His incredible faithfulness time and time again. It astounds me. It catches me off guard. It leads me closer to Him. It gives me hope. Even when I feel distracted, used up, unfaithful; He is still faithful, proving His faithfulness all the more. So when I approach the idea of being found faithful to Him, my efforts seem inadequate and inconsistent to say the least. And, yet, He has made a way, and that way is Himself. “For He Himself is our peace.” (Ephesians 2:14). What else can we do but turn to Him? He is our peace. It is Him alone.

Psalm 37, encourages, “Trust in the Lord, and do good; dwell in the land and befriend faithfulness.” Befriend faithfulness. Back in the day, I thought a true friendship commenced upon verbal agreement and mutual understanding. I still remember being at camp, at a young age, playing some quality Legos with a kid and asking him if he would be my friend. When he agreed I believed a reliable friendship had formed. However, in reality, a friendship does not form on a whim, or in a moment of agreement. A friendship is invested in, sought after, and grown into. Befriend faithfulness. To me this implies a relationship, a back and forth, two sides, and a growing understanding and realization that I need to be dependent on my Lord even to be found faithful to Him. “My soul clings to You, Your right hand upholds me.” Psalm 63:8.

I want to befriend faithfulness. I want to cling to Him. I want to seek His presence and allow Him to hold me up. This past summer was intense and busy. However, on occasion, I spent time laying in a hammock, late at night. I just laid there, all of my weight held in its strings, cradled in the middle of the air. Hammocks are cool like that. I prayed simple, honest prayers telling God that I gave Him everything and I came just as I was. Soon I realized maybe my relationship with Jesus (not so much what I do as a result of it, but the time I spend seeking His presence) should look a lot more like laying in a hammock and a lot less like the performance I find myself trying to make it. What would it look like if I could consistently come before my Maker, Savior, Sustainer and quiet my heart, offering Him all of me, just as I am, regardless of what I have or have not accomplished? What would it look like if I did this, simply allowing Him to refresh, renew, and refine my heart and soul? Then everything else I did would come out of the overflow of this intimate dependence. I dare to say I would be less concerned with performing well and more concerned with loving well. I dare say this would look a lot more like being found faithful.

It is amazing when I take the time to do this. When I put expectations aside, and honestly seek His presence and renewal, something beautiful happens. Things are put back into perspective and we are set free to love and serve well, far better than what we can achieve on our own. We are made new in Him 2 Cor 5:17. “Be still and know” He is God. (Psalm 46:10). May He “establish the work of our hands “ (Psalm 90:17).

I am not speaking of lukewarm faith, for that is the furthest thing from being found faithful (Revelation 3:15-17). This is not a half-hearted pursuit. No, I am all in. By all means, I am all in. I am speaking of an admission of my own humanity, and an invitation to be dependent on the only One who can restore me, make me whole, and give me purpose. It is a resolve to pursue Jesus daily, passionately, and in dependence, clinging to Him and letting Him uphold me. It is a resolve to befriend faithfulness.

I am reminded, yet again, of the words of Paul, he is passionate, purposed, and driven. He wants to do and become, and yet he knows he has not arrived. He can only focus in, and press on, because Jesus has taken hold of him. “I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, and so, somehow, to attain to the resurrection from the dead. Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus” (Phil 3:10-14) I have not attained all this, but I will press on and press in because Jesus has taken hold of me. In Him I can befriend faithfulness–passionately, intentionally, daily–all the while, surrounded in His love, grace, and… faithfulness. Jesus took hold. He touches us, and it is beautiful.


Fix your eyes . . .

IMG_4401_2_2

Today I played in the intramural soccer championship game.  We won.  It was awesome. Soccer is something I love.  Running? I have no motivation, but throw a ball in the game and I’ll run until I can run no more.  I am way too competitive for my own good, and I love it. When I step on the field, I’m in the game.  When I can put everything else out of my mind but the purpose of why I’m on that field, it’s a beautiful time.  When an entire team does this, the unity exhibited and the ethos created could determine the win.

Athletics have been a part of my life ever since I was in elementary school.  When I first started playing, I had no idea what I was doing.  None.  I’m still ashamed of the videotape which can make me relive my first basketball game at the push of the button.  There I am, running and sliding (a good few feet I might add) in my pink Nike’s, and sporting my fire engine red sweat pants which, of course, complemented my purple and white Jersey perfectly.  Even though I had been venturing out to my cracked driveway to shoot hoops ever since I was three, the whole organized sports thing did not exactly come naturally.  I remember waving my arms behind the offense trying to be a good defender during practice, and shooting at the wrong basket more than once in a game.  One time during a tee ball game, one of the kids on my team scored a home-run, all of my fellow Panthers sitting indian style on the sidelines erupted in cheering and I, overwhelmed, cried.  Awesome.  

The point is athleticism is something I needed to grow into.  But once I practiced, gained confidence, and grew in passion for the game, sports began to seem like a natural extension of who I am.  Being a part of a quality play makes the game for me. I go all out.  I have a hard time making myself hold back.  It’s all a part of the game.  (Unfortunately a black eye or two has made me rethink my enthusiasm from time to time.)

Today when I played, I started out strong.  I was all in.  My love for game itself made life seem that much better.  But quickly, I grew exhausted.  I could barely breathe normally, let alone sprint down the field.   Soon, I had to take myself out of the game for a time (something I would never want to do) and watch my team run with the same passion I have for the game, but with the endurance that I lacked as I collapsed and tried to breathe.

The same is true in ministry and I have been allowing myself to loose grasp on that lately.  In ministry, we need to go all out…we can’t hold back.  God is doing awesome things in hearts and lives, and somehow–by His grace–He invites us to be a part of this, His perfect plan.  However, in order to do this and be sustained, we need to train, condition, catch the ethos, gain confidence, build passion, and throw off every distraction.  

“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.” Hebrews 12:1-3. 

It’s easy to be busy.  It’s easy even to be busy with ministry.  Unfortunately it is also easy to become so busy with ministry that we forget to take the time to simply be with God.  And why? because it seems we are just too busy serving. But we can’t exude Christ fully unless we fill our lives with Him.  We must “throw off everything that hinders;” and we must “fix our eyes on Jesus.”  If we do not, we will become weary, loose direction, and cease to endure. Then we will find ourselves sliding back and forth on the court in our Nike’s or, worse, taking ourselves out of the game to watch others serve Christ with abandon, in the way we know we are called.

We must fix our eyes on Jesus.  He is our goal.  The rest is just the means He has given us to point people to Him.

So yes, we must run the race, go, do, and become.  But we must also take time to “be still and know” (Psalm 4:10).  We must fix our eyes on Jesus.  

He is our sustainer.  

“My soul clings to you;
      your right hand upholds me.”                                                                                                           Psalm 63:8


Psalm 62:5-8::

“Find rest, O my soul, in God alone;

   my hope comes from Him.

He alone is my rock and my salvation;t

   He is my fortress, I will not be shaken.

My salvation and my honor depend on God,

    He is my mighty rock, my refuge.

Trust in Him at all times, O people;

   pour out your hearts to Him,

   for God is our refuge.”