I've had a lot on my mind this morning. I'll try to organize my thoughts a little so this isn't just a ramble :)
Sunday, in Life Group, we talked about the centrality of Christ. How truly central is God in my life? What are the things I let go before Him... either consciously or unconsciously? I would be lying if I said it was just one thing. I started thinking about what those things were. The first one that came to mind was sleep. How do I put sleep above God? Well... my lazy self will happily sleep until my kids wake up. But what a waste! So, this morning, I got up and got ready well before anyone else in order to do my Bible study. Sure, an extra hour of sleep would have felt awesome, but the desire to give God my time before my husband, my kids, and the hustle of life felt better. I'm certainly not tooting my own horn here 'cause I need Jesus like I need oxygen to breathe. I thought I'd share a little from my study... if not for any other reason but so I can go back and read it to remind myself.
I have a study Bible that I've used for years and I'm so glad that I do because I'm a very literal person. When I read scripture, sometimes, it can be hard to understand. My study Bible helps me to actually "unpack" it and give me that "ohhh" understanding and application. I highly recommend having one :)
The scripture this morning was Mark 4:1-20. Jesus is giving a parable to the people about how a farmer plants his seeds. He scatters them about and sometimes they fall along the path where the birds come and eat it. Sometimes it would fall on rocky places where it would not be well-rooted and the sun would scorch it as soon as it sprang up. Other times, it would fall among the thorns and the thorns would choke the plant. And then there were the ones that landed on good soil and would grow and produce a crop.
It goes on to explain that this is also how people respond to the gospel. But also, according to my study Bible, it can also be talking about how willingly we receive God's message in some areas of our lives and resist it in others. Wow... so true, right? How can we be good soil in all areas of our lives? This is certainly an area I struggle in. It goes back to the centrality of Christ. An example... you may be open to God about your future, but closed concerning how you spend your money. Ouch, right? How willing am I to truly put Christ in the center of my life that I cast every single worry, every bit of control over everything directly to Him?
"Worldly worries, the false sense of security brought on by prosperity, and the desire for things plagued first-century disciples as they do us today. How easy it is for our daily routines to become overcrowded. A life packed with materialistic pursuits deafens us to God's Word." (Life Application Bible)
Why would I try to keep the control of anything in my own hands? A big reason.... FEAR. Another? Pride.
Sleep-> Sounds dumb to want to control this doesn't it? But I can easily put this over Christ because I don't want to be tired and I'm lazy. But don't I trust God to give me the energy and the means to sustain that through the day?
Finances-> I'm terrified of not being able to pay my bills or provide for my family. But don't I trust God enough to know that He will provide for me if I'm obedient to Him?
My kids-> I fear for their safety, their well-being. This keeps me from going certain places or speaking to people when I'm out. But don't I trust God enough to know that He loves them even more than I will ever be able to and He is in full control no matter what that means?
My weight and body-image-> I'm afraid of never being the person I want to be in this area. But can't I see myself in God's eyes? I am fearfully and wonderfully made no matter what the scale or society says.
Being a mother-> I'm afraid of making the wrong decisions. I'm afraid I'm not loving my kids enough. I'm afraid I'm not enough. But can't I remember that God specifically gave my boys to me? To be who I am as a mom, not who the articles say I should be or to compare myself to any other mom... but just to be me.
I easily let all of these fears and worries take precedence over the One who created me. The God that created everything in this universe cares for me... loves me more than I will ever be able to comprehend. He sent his Only son to die for my sins and rise from the dead to prepare a place for me in heaven. He wants an open communication with me and freely gives me that ability through prayer and through His Word. That alone should make me fall to my knees in adoration and gratitude. Despite myself, He loves me anyway.
I know that these things are something I will work on for the rest of my life because I will never be perfect on this earth. I'm not being hard on myself. I think we should all take time to examine our hearts and minds on a regular basis to see where our priorities really are.
Are you struggling with this? What is keeping you from having Christ as the center of your life? I encourage you to pray about it if you aren't sure. God will reveal those things to you.