earlier this week i posted some thoughts from the song “Bless the Lord” by Matt Redman…
there was a line in that song that i’ve been pondering. it’s the line that says, “let me be singing when the evening comes.”
i’ve been thinking… isn’t that what we all want? that at the end of each day, we are happy and content and our hearts are singing? it’s definitely what i want! yet there are many days where, by the end of it, i am decidedly NOT singing. all i want to do is cry. or scream. or hit something. or crawl into bed and just start over again tomorrow.
have you ever seen this thing?
right?? mornings often seem so optimistic! i’m all snuggled on the couch with my coffee, reading my bible and planning my day… it’s pretty easy to be “singing.” so how do i get to the end of my day and still be singing?
i’ve also had another train of thought chugging around in my head for a few weeks. i saw this image on pinterest and it made me laugh:
it’s ridiculous because we all know, barring very special circumstances (like illness or maybe falling in love), you simply can’t lose weight without changing your eating and exercising habits. we weren’t created that way. and this idea got me thinking… or rather, made me re-work the statement in my head: “i’d do anything to grow in Godliness except ___________.” what kinds of things am i ending that sentence with?
before i go any further, i want to affirm that no change in my life, no growth in my walk with the Lord and no day ends on a singing note apart from God’s grace. it is only by His grace and the Holy Spirit enabling any of us that we can grow and change and sing.
but with that being said, i am often tempted to rely too much on “grace” to the point where i’m not putting forth any effort of my own. and then i remember that this is not biblical. i have a role in my own growth and how much i am growing in Godliness does rely on me and my actions.**
so i started compiling a list of some answers to these 2 questions…
1. what part can i play to help ensure that i am “singing when the evening comes”?
~ i can read read my bible every day
~ i can set my ipod to worship music when i want something playing in the background
~ i can call for help when the day gets rough (literally make a phone call to a friend for encouragement, ask for physical help like “can you pick something up at the store for me?”, or a spiritual call for help – stopping right then and there to pray, etc)
~ i can take a nap
~ i can make another pot of coffee.
~ i can read my bible again – why do i think just once in the morning is enough?
~ i can listen to sermons
~ i can talk to myself (“Have you realized that most of your unhappiness in life is due to the fact that you are listening to yourself instead of talking to yourself?” -D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones)
~ i can take note of small things to be grateful for throughout the day
“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” Philippians 4:13.
2. i’d do anything to grow in godliness except_________
~ pretty much everything listed above?
~ go to care group when i don’t feel like it?
~ memorize scripture?
~ skip the late movie on saturday night so i can be well rested and better postured to engage with God and the church on sunday morning?
~ get up a little extra early so i can read my bible before church?
~ refrain from media containing content that would weaken my convictions or that blatantly objects to what i believe?
~ change my schedule to serve a friend in need?
~ take notes during the sermon?
~ attend a class at church that may be a little inconvenient for my schedule?
~ show up at church or care group or any gathering of believers with the attitude of “how can i serve/encourage/bless someone here” instead of “what am i going to get out of this”?
~ overlook an offense and respond in a Christ-like manner despite being hurt or wronged?
all of these things hit home for me. at some point in my christian life, i have skipped, ignored or resisted every single one of the above items… and then wondered why i’m not growing, or wondered why i’m not more joyful at the end of the day.
but i have recently been provoked and excited to grow and change in these small but effective ways! not because now i have an overwhelming “to-do” list to get working on, but because i’m realizing more and more how much little things – pursued in the moment, relying on grace – over time, can indeed have a dramatic effect on my day, my season, and my life – to the glory of God!
**(the point of this blog post isn’t to delve into the scriptural basis and balance/juxtaposition between God’s work in our lives and our role in growing in Godliness, so i’m not going to go any further on this. if anyone is interested, josh harris did a great message on this topic – particularly our role in growth by way of spiritual disciplines/personal devotions at New Attitude 2002 entitled “A Harvest of Holiness.” the individual message isn’t available for download on the SGM website, so if you’re interested, let me know and i’d be happy to get you a copy.)