Thought- Even when we try to surrender it all to Jesus, the world keeps pulling us back in.

Scripture- “Keep your heart with all vigilance, for from it flow the springs of life.” Proverbs 4:23

Insight: If I am perfectly honest, I say that I am a devoted follower of Christ and that I am “all in,” but in many instances my actions tell a completely different story. Oh, I indeed want to follow Christ and seek him with all of my heart and soul, it’s just that I keep letting the world and all of its worries, get in the way. It is like I want to have all ten toes in the water with Christ, but I keep finding myself with like 7 toes out of the pool trying to hang on to something in this world. I want to give myself credit for “doing it my way”, as Frank Sinatra used to sing about so proudly. But why? My way never works out so well and the things of this world that I still find myself distracted by and drawn to only leave me empty, frustrated and angry.  Why can’t we all get along and love each other the way we’re supposed to? Why does the media endlessly promote all the negative news at the expense of the hopeful things that could make people feel more positive? I tell myself I am over all this; it saps my strength and leaves me depleted and that the peace that I find in Christ is an obvious oasis where I should spend all of my time. Psalm 46:10 exhorts me “to be still and know that I am God” and I have felt this calmness and crave to bottle it up and keep it always by my side.

Yet when opportunities come up to serve his kingdom and to bless others, many times my own fears or lack of convictions keep me from doing the vary things I wish to do. I can fully relate to Paul in Romans 7: 15 when he says” I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate to do.” My heart screams “yes”, this is the opportunity I have been waiting for to align myself with the Lord’s servant heart. I know that if I act on these feelings, the reward is a connection to a loving Savior that is pleased with my compassion and which leaves me feeling euphoric and content, for I have felt this on many of those such occasions. But many times, my mind and my body are tired, lazy or fearful. Instead of seeing opportunity, I see inconvenience. I want to so desperately to be free from the shackles of conditional servitude. I struggle with this one mightily because of my pride that fuels my need for recognition. Hey, did anyone see what I did today for this orphan or that widow? How about a little r-e-s-p-e-c-t for going out of my way to help someone or to give some of my hard-earned money to a charitable cause.

Pride is the biggest threat to our fruitful relationship with Christ because it cuts off the source of all good fruit, the Vine which is Him, and offers a cheap substitute which can never last, which is us, the branches. No wonder why Proverbs 16:18 warns us that “first pride, then the fall.” When Christ is at the center of all of our lives, he starves our need to feed the fleshly desires we crave. When we truly align with Christ’s heart, we find that we are able to do things that would be unimaginable on our own. Sometimes, we are even able to forgive ourselves for the messy areas of our lives and the destructive wakes we have left behind. For when we truly believe that Christ loves and forgives us, and that His love is so deep that He was willing to die for forgiveness of our sins, then we are free to live the lives that He intended for us all along. We can become the earthly vessels through which His grace, love and mercy can flow. We become stewards of all the gifts he has given us, freely able to let them pass through us to grow and bless His kingdom. We can’t fully comprehend a love so deep in our human condition. But we can learn to trust it. Prayer: Lord, help me learn to love you more and to let go of my pride more and more each day. I ask this in Jesus name. Amen!

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