For many years, I took a lot of license because I was so busy, both with my profession, with the church – and with family, that I excused myself from the heavy lifting of creating profound righteousness in my own life and soul. I just figured there is only so much a mortal can do, and focused upon those things I could lay my hands on, touch and turn with a wrench. I don’t want you to misunderstand – I was very active in the church, working in every way for family and home, and doing a lot of cooking, cleaning and dishes to be a good husband. “Family came first” I had heard, and by the time I had exhausted each day, I had done a lot of things, but had become nothing greater than I had been that morning.
It took a tragedy in my life to realize that I was avoiding the most important thing of all. When the tragedy came, I was not prepared to call down constant revelation for the solution, to get immediate answers to my prayers, and to work miracles in my world. I was handicapped spiritually. I had been so busy doing righteous things, that I had failed to become righteous.
It was during this and subsequent crises that I began to spend hours on my knees (precious hours I usually needed for sleep) in deep, mighty, pleading prayer. It was at that time that I began to fast whenever prompted (usually during demanding times at work, when I knew it could only harm my job performance). It was then that I realized I had been “doing” the gospel, and “doing” my family, and “doing” my marriage without much inspiration or feeling. I was using the same determination to do a good job I had learned in the hayfields and corn rows of my youth, to do a good job at my adult life.
I found out that family does not come first – Christ does. Any other order produces stagnation and unhappiness, and eventually drives us to our knees where we find out that only Christ can make our mortal lives complete, our families forever, and our eternal lives a reality.
Eventually, I gave it up. I realized I could no longer “do” everything and be everything for everyone. I laid down that yoke of perfect “doing” with a broken heart, realizing I had failed, and over a period of years, I learned to take upon myself Christ’s yoke, through obeying His voice, and to serve Him, instead of my family, the church, myself or anything else.
And, guess what – He told me to get up each morning and go to work, just as before. But, this time I went in His name, with his guidance, and it was a joy instead of drudgery. Jesus Christ sent me on my Church assignments, but they were guided now by revelation and power, and I felt the full joy of Christ as I served Him – where I had been serving the church, or my fellow man, or something else before.
I was a better husband, a better daddy, and a better man – but more than that, I was a disciple of Christ. I had learned to quit “doing” my life, and just walk in Christ’s diving grace, and all of these other things, things which I had laid down, things wherein I had failed to fully “do” everything I thought I must – Christ did them with my hands, and miracles began to form.
My attempts at perfection have all failed, but my attempts at obedience succeeded as far as my ongoing imperfections allowed – but it has been enough to make my life a joy, and the things I used to “do”, His voice now leads the way to His glory, not mine.
I find I like it that way.
My hope is only this, that we can stop “doing” so much, and “become” in Christ, men and women of God whose word moves mountains and raises the dead, because I suspect the time is approaching when these things must be – long before we will see them coming and have time to prepare.
If you lack a place to start, here are a few ideas:
- Stop believing you can “do” it all – because sooner or later, you will find you can’t.
- Listen carefully for the Holy Spirit to lead you, and walk with courage in that light.
- Fast every time you are prompted, no matter how hard or inconvenient it may seem.
- Pray a minimum of 20 minutes a day, and longer when prompted. Learn to pray while the Holy Spirit is guiding you. This is the gateway to miracles, angelic visitations and promised blessings.
- Open the scriptures again, and study them, search them, read them by subject, mark them, write in your journal about them, and pray over every concept. Don’t routinely read from beginning to end, let the Holy Spirit show you each day where to read.
© July 2012, John M. Pontius, all rights reserved. Non-commercial reproduction permitted.