Friday, July 17, 2009

Yielding Everything?

I guess I've been thinking a lot about the garden. It's really producing a lot of squash and zucchini. I love seeing these beautiful blossoms, and enjoying the fruit being produced (actually I guess they are technically vegetables. It reminds me of this scripture.

Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit.~John 12.24

I planted a seed, in the ground, and as a result beautiful squash blossoms have emerged from the earth. I think there is much to be learned from a squash seed.

Recently I received an email from an old friend who has been going through a lot of difficulty. He was reading a devotional book, and he was challenged by that particular day's message. He said, "I just don't know how to do it - how to "let go of personal desires, wholeheartedly embrace Jesus’ way, and walk closely with Him". I could use some input." What follows are a few thoughts I shared with him, and that I submit to you as well. I hope they are of some encouragement to you today.

As far as letting go of everything to grab hold of Jesus, I personally think it's verbiage that folks talk a lot about, but very few people give any real clear steps to accomplish it. I think Alex Aronis' book, Developing Intimacy With God offers a lot of helpful insights in this area. Beyond that, I can only say from experience that it is small steps of letting go. One exercise I've found helpful is to take stock of everything I "own" and yield it to God. It's really His anyway. Then I realize what He has done is entrust me with gifts. After I yield things to Him, I'm able to enjoy them more fully without letting them become the source of my enjoyment. I'm also able to let them go a little more easily too.

It allows my life to become a little more simple. We live in a world where people pride themselves on the stuff they amass. Whether it's cars, clothing, property, or whatever. The reality is that there are a few things we truly need, and God has more than provided those. And really, when you boil it all down, what we really need is God Himself. He is the greatest treasure in the whole universe, and for the most part, we get caught up in chasing after the wind and very empty things for much of our lives. He sustains us and ultimately, when our hearts are most yielded to Him (which is never easy), we experience the deepest satisfaction of our lives.

I also think walking closely with Jesus means we immerse ourselves in His words. This isn't necessarily reading large volumes of scripture, but rather taking small quantities of the word and soaking ourselves in them. It's especially important to immerse ourselves in the words He shared while He walked the earth. When I slow down in the gospels and immerse myself in the Gospel stories I find myself pulling away all new insights about Jesus so that I can learn to be more like Him.

Unfortunately for me in my impatience, the process is never fast enough. I think it's that way for all of us. The reality is that God rewards those who seek Him day by day with a clearer picture of Himself, His heart, and His desire for us. And as this happens, we are able to yield more and more of our lives to Him.

As you read this, may you take steps toward the practice of making God your ultimate treasure. And in doing so, may we all experience the joy and satisfaction that has been eluding us in our pursuit of lesser things.

1 comment:

BrotherChuck said...

I think the key, or at least a key, is in your last paragraph "...take steps..." Each day, become more of Christ and less of you. That old story about eating an elephant comes to mind. Finding yourself unable to do it all is poor defense for preventing yourself from doing something. Healing our broken-ness is a journey or process that cannot reasonably be accomplished in an instant, but it can be accomplished.
Love u, brother.