Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Do What You Did At First

No matter how complicated and cumbersome our flesh tries to make it, this truth remains: it is not impossibly hard to walk with Jesus. The gospel is simple enough that a child can understand it. Yet it is going to take us the rest of our lives and beyond to continue to try to grasp what has been done for us and what we are to do with ourselves.

Isn't it an amazing paradox?

I am a really analytical person...one of those people who, while trying to "break things down," occasionally makes them more complex than they really are. It occurs to me regularly that I need to chill out, take a step (or three) back, and remember that HE IS GOD.

He knows what's happening; I don't.
He knows what to do about it; I don't.
He is able to take my burdens; not only do the burdens break my back, but I usually put them there myself.
He encourages, coaches, convicts; on my own, I drown in guilt and anger.

Over and over He has told me the key to walking with Him, to keeping my fire lit and bright:

'Do the things you did at first.'

Rev 2:2-5
I know your deeds and your toil and perseverance, and that you cannot tolerate evil men, and you put to the test those who call themselves apostles, and they are not, and you found them to be false; and you have perseverance and have endured for My name's sake, and have not grown weary. But I have this against you, that you have left your first love. Therefore remember from where you have fallen, and repent and do the deeds you did at first; or else I am coming to you and will remove your lampstand out of its place--unless you repent.

And what did I do at first? I eagerly read and studied the Scriptures. I kept a journal with notes from my reading. I prayed often and intimately and passionately. Put simply, I read the Word and communicated with God. I remembered him "minute-ly," as my sister Amy says. Moment by moment, I remembered He was there and rejoiced in His presence.

Those things slip away too easily. I've been distracted.

Throughout my life, and particularly since I became a Christian, I have desperately wanted to live an excellent life; I want to rise above mediocrity to love and live with everything the Lord has given me. But excellence requires a sacrifice of at least some normalcy. 'Normal' and 'Extraordinary' can't coexist on many planes.