Week 1 Abide and Rest
Time to Turn
The Lord’s exhortation to follow Him carries the focused urgency of a parent who commands a child to use caution when crossing a busy street. Obedience enables us to dodge the enemy’s strategies, but we must walk in the Lord’s way and not our own.
’d been ignoring my gradually increasing weight and cholesterol levels for about ten years when, in the middle of a restless night, I suddenly felt afraid. Words came into my mind with an urgency I recognized as being from the Holy Spirit, and I reached for the spiral notebook on my bedside table. By the dim light of my cell phone’s home screen, I scribbled: “I am a walking time bomb set to rob my family of my active presence in their lives through my inability to control my food intake.”
As I made my bed the next morning, I’d all but forgotten my fear when my eyes fell on those words I’d scrawled in the night. I sank onto the edge of the bed and picked up my pen and notebook. Beneath the messy scrawl, I wrote in smaller, neater letters, “All my efforts toward diet and exercise fail, but when I inquire of the Lord the only directive I receive is, Delight in Me…”
It seemed to me this command to focus upon loving Jesus was akin to being tied to a railroad track and told to remove my eyes from the blinding headlight of an onrushing train in order to admire the surrounding countryside.
I cried out, “Lord! I can’t get everything sorted out!”
Immediately I heard Him say, “That is the purpose of the coming fast.”
I was surprised because, last I’d heard, the Lord had called me to rest. A fast sounded like hard work, and I was unenthusiastic. I had been attracted by the prospective ease of the word “rest,” but rest apart from the overwhelming humility that comes from entering into God’s presence is only escapism.
To my relief, my call was not to a complete fast, but required only that I limit sugar, abstain from bad fats, and ingest fewer calories than before. This simple plan paved the way for me to find delight in the Lord, because just as an unruly child is quieted by discipline, our flesh is silenced when we deny it. In this silence we are able to see and hear our Lord more clearly. The natural result of perceiving more of God is that we fall in love with Him again, because He is beautiful. Once we have silenced the flesh and focus on Jesus, humility brings repentance, and we find ourselves at rest in His love.
Because of what Christ has done we are under grace and not under the law, and due to God's mercy we are given repeated opportunities to obey. The Blood of Christ has purchased cleansing that is not limited to a one-time offer, but at some point repeated freewill choices toward sin can cause consequences to unfold, consequences that obedience will spare us and those we love. Finding delight in the Lord is the unexpected first step toward obedience.
Pray: Lord, I desire to answer Your call to take delight in You. Please grant a spirit of repentance and grace to turn from overfeeding the flesh at the cost of neglecting my heart’s relationship with You. Lord help me to discipline my unruly flesh for the sake of Your life in me, that I may enter more fully into the inheritance that is mine through Christ. In His holy name, amen.
… you should turn from these vain things to a living God, who made the heaven and the earth and the sea and all that is in them.
Offer to God a sacrifice of thanksgiving,
and perform your vows to the Most High,
and call upon me in the day of trouble;
I will deliver you, and you shall glorify me.