Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Present and Pleased

“Listen to your father who gave you life, and do not despise your mother when she is old. Buy truth, and do not sell it; buy wisdom, instruction, and understanding. The father of the righteous will greatly rejoice; he who fathers a wise son will be glad in him. Let your father and mother be glad; let her who bore you rejoice. My son, give me your heart, and let your eyes observe my ways.” (Proverbs 23:22–26, ESV)

One of those favorite parent moments is when a child is learning to do something and is heading out to tackle a new task, like riding a bike. There is this in between point when they are willing to do it and are maybe even excited to do it, but they continually look back to make sure that (1) you are still there if they need you and (2) that you are watching and are pleased with their accomplishment. But from there they continue to grow into more and more areas where their need of your help and the expectation of your presence is lessened.

Our lives as Christians can easily become this way as we learn more of God’s Word and His ways. We can become so comfortable with what He wants for our life that we just get up and go. The difference is that, while like our parents God is greatly pleased when we grow and we learn how to live godly lives, our parents do so with the expectation that we will over time move away from them into adulthood and establish our own lives and families.  God, on the other hand, intends that we will grow closer and closer to Him, becoming more and more like His Son, living in a continual close relationship with Him.

One trains toward independence and the other toward dependence. Well, except for the fact that the real objective of Christian parents would include training their children toward their own dependence on God, bringing them up in such a way that they are taught to follow Him for the rest of their lives.

“The living, the living, he thanks you, as I do this day; the father makes known to the children your faithfulness.” (Isaiah 38:19, ESV)

“Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.” (Proverbs 22:6, ESV)

While we can’t look over our shoulder to see God smiling at our being able to peddle our bikes, we do know that He is always present with us and pleased with our seeking after and dependence upon Him. He may take the training wheels off, but He never backs off His hands. He may let us stumble, but He also makes us so that we can get back up.

Yes, much of our day is made up of going through the routine, and for much of it we may not look back over our shoulder. But at the same time, knowing that our God is all-the-time present and our constant strength, we would be wise to move through our day in this awareness and taking advantage of even those brief pauses to look to Him. This is especially true when both challenges and joys arise. Along with this, we should also make it a part of our lives to spend those longer times with Him.

I really enjoy having my children check in with me and letting me know what is going on in their lives and even asking for advice. I also enjoy those quick glances through a text message or an update through Facebook. Knowing that my God loves me far more than I could ever imagine loving my children and that He desires my constantly seeking after Him in response to that love and in dependence on Him for how to live a life of faithful service, it gives me pause to look over my shoulder and smile.

“For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named, that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith—that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God. Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.” (Ephesians 3:14–21, ESV)

Today in “Jesus Calling” by Sarah Young (11/6)

Seek to please Me above all else. As you journey through today, there will be many choice-points along your way. Most of the day’s decisions will be small ones you have to make quickly. You need some rule of thumb to help you make good choices. Many people’s decisions are a combination of their habitual responses and their desire to please themselves or others. This is not My way for you. Strive to please Me in everything, not just in major decisions. This is possible only to the extent that you are living in close communion with Me. When My Presence is your deepest delight, you know almost instinctively what will please Me. A quick glance at Me is all you need to make the right choice. Delight yourself in Me more and more; seek My pleasure in all you do.

“And He who sent Me is with Me; He has not left Me alone, for I always do the things that are pleasing to Him.” (John 8:29, NASB95)

“By faith Enoch was taken up so that he would not see death; and he was not found because God took him up; for he obtained the witness that before his being taken up he was pleasing to God. And without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him.” (Hebrews 11:5–6, NASB95)

“Delight yourself in the Lord; And He will give you the desires of your heart.” (Psalm 37:4, NASB95)

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