Dec 5, 2017

Project Love || All Your Strength























Today I scrolled back to an early post where I asked for your input.  As I read through some of the responses, this one jumped out at me.

When I asked what area of life was hardest for you to love God with all, someone responded, 

Maybe with all my strength. I can easily be lazy and not want to give everything until I'm exhausted. I like to be comfortable and "just relax". It's hard for me to give everything until I have nothing left.

What do we do when we're exhausted?  When we want to relax instead of focus on God?  Is it ever wrong to take a break, and how do we press on when our strength is gone?

I don't have all the answers, and I hope you will share what you've learned about this area of life.   But recently I've been debating some of these questions.  We get so caught up in the western lifestyle that sometimes we forget that the Bible is the ultimate guide to life.  We have habits and norms that might even contradict what God's Word says.

One example of that is when we become comfortable.  Certainly being comfortable isn't wrong.  God has created a beautiful world for us to enjoy.  He created smells and tastes and sounds and colors.  Everything was made for His purpose and pleasure, and I believe He wants us to be thankful and enjoy the many gifts around us.

But we can't stop there.  We can only enjoy life rightly when we enjoy it to bring Him glory.

Enter into His gates with thanksgiving,
And into His courts with praise.
Be thankful to Him, and bless His name.
- Psalm 100:4  (emphasis added)

We don't just have a thankful spirit.  We must also bless His name.

When we take comfort, pleasure, relaxation, or anything else too far, it becomes an idol in our lives.  And that means we are not loving God with all.

You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength.
- Deuteronomy 6:5 (emphasis added)

What happens when we don't have any strength?

One day recently, I wasn't able to have my quiet time after breakfast like normal because I went with my sisters and mom to town.  We had a fun girls' time together going shopping and doing other various things.  On that particular day, we went to adopt a cat from the animal shelter, and we drove home with the wonderful smells of a car-sick cat.  And then at home, I got together everything the cat needed, tried to introduce her to our other (not-so-friendly to newcomers) cat, and then finally came instead to eat.  I had a headache.

But the day was only half done.  I still had school to do, things to catch up on, and what about that Bible time I had missed earlier?

I was already exhausted.  I didn't want to read or think hard.  I just wanted a break.

What then?  It's not wrong to take a break.  Sometimes walking outside in the fresh air helps me recharge and get back to life with more vigor.  It give me focus and clarity.

But in other times, we have to press on.  We can't not read the Bible or pray or love others because we're tired.  Wanting a nap isn't an excuse to why we lashed out at our brother.

When we are at the end of our line and must press on, we can remember His loving promises.

But those who wait on the Lord
Shall renew their strength;
They shall mount up with wings like eagles,
They shall run and not be weary,
They shall walk and not faint.
- Isaiah 40:31 





















His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness...
- 2 Peter 1:3

We have everything we need to press on.  We have everything we need to keep smiling and encouraging and loving others.  Through Christ, we can have love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness, and self-control (Galatians 5:22-23).

God knows our weaknesses and limitations.  When Jesus was on earth, He often went to a secluded place to pray (Matthew 14:23).  Sometimes we also must take a break from life and refocus (preferably in prayer and in His presence).  But we cannot allow comfort to become our idol.

I have so far to go in mastering this area of loving God, but I've talked long enough.  Now I would be honored to hear from you!  How do you press on when you're exhausted?  How do we make sure that comfort is not an idol?  When do we take a break or trust God for strength to press on?

And if you're feeling tired or out of strength, remember His promises.  He will carry you on.  Keep trusting.

~♥~

8 comments:

  1. Thanks for the encouragement :). I have to admit, it’s really easy too become too comfortable. It’s also almost hard to define when comfort is an idol or not... I think we can turn anything into an idol if we neglect God to do it.... actually I just posted on my blog today about surrender. Sometimes we just have to examine our lives and see if anything if taking place above God, whether it’s comfort, a tv show, reading even. And comfort isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but it, like other things which aren’t bad, can become idols if we turn them into it.
    Sometimes we just need to ask God if we need to take a break or press on with His strength. Sometimes we need a break, but we never need a break from God. Sometimes we need a break to just dwell on God.... a break from the busyness of this world.
    But through it all we just have to try to trust God and hold onto His strength.
    I read the verse of the day on this Bible app I have on my phone (never know when you might need a Bible on hand) and it was 1 Samuel 2:2. It was a reminder that God is Holy and He is a rock... we can always rely on Him. And He’s Holy, why should we turn to other things because He is all we need?
    Anyways, thanks Hosanna for the encouragement :).

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    1. So many good thoughts, Sarah! I especially like that verse you shared from 1 Samuel. There is no rock like our God. ♥

      I agree - anything can turn into an idol if it sits on the throne of our heart. If we aren't willing to get rid of something, is that a sign that we really should? At one time, I couldn't imagine not reading in every spare moment. It scared me to think of sacrificing that. But when I let go, I realized that there's more important things in life than books (unbelievable, I know). =)

      I think breaks can be very good things. Watching a movie or laying in the sun while listening to music isn't wrong. But if we relax in His presence, isn't that best of all? As we talked about before, Jesus should be our Best Friend. Who else would we want to be with when we need to catch our breath? He's the One who holds us together.

      Have you ever discovered an idol in your life and had to make the decision to give it to God? What a joyful moment when we release control to the One who loves us. ♥

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    2. Sadly many times. There was a point when reading was my life... now it’s just a part. And for me with some tv shows I’ve gotten sucked into them and I’ve had to let them go.
      But yes! What a joyful moment it is to let go and give it all to Him. It’s really easy to let something take priority over God, it’s especially easy to deny that it has. Often deep down we know but we don’t acknowledge it because we don’t want to.... or at least I have before.
      The thing I have to remember is that God is who matters. i need to keep my eyes on eternity, on what’s above.

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    3. I've been there too - both with books and movies. It is too easy to let something become more important to us than God. Balance is so important. I've also been in the opposite place where something needed to be more important in my life than it was, like gifts God's given me that I forget to put into use. I'm so thankful that He forgives us when our eyes fall off the goal and turn to other things. He's so faithful!

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    4. Yes, it’s very easy to let something take place over God... we always have to be on guard.
      That happens as well... when something needs to be more of a priority. That’s true, sometimes we forget to use the gifts God Himself has given us! But I love using the gift of writing through blogging.
      You’re right! God is so faithful and forgiving no matter what. I love the verse in 2 Timothy 2:13 which says, “Even if we are faithless, He remains faithful, for He cannot deny Himself.” That verse demonstrates how faithful He is!

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    5. Thank you for being so patient with me responding here. This week has been kinda crazy, and I'm trying to catch up on things. But know that your words mean a lot to me, Sarah. =)

      I'm so thankful that God remains faithful even when we don't. How amazing! He's the ultimate picture of selflessness - something I need more of in my own life. It reminds me of Philippians 2 where it describes Jesus' free sacrifice and our response. "...being of one accord, of one mind. Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit." (Philippians 2:2-3)

      Let's strive to live that out - focusing on loving Jesus and others!

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  2. Thank you for this, Hosanna! This is something I definitely have been thinking about lately and wondering how I can improve. Thanks for sharing your as-always inspiring words with us. <3

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    1. And thank you for the sweet comment, Emily! Loving God can be especially hard when we feel like giving up or not getting out of bed in the morning. Life isn't always sunshine and butterflies. But this morning a dear friend shared a quote with me from the Millie books.

      "God calls us to a wild adventure, not a tea party, my dear. I don't follow Jesus because He can give me a life without pain. I follow Him because He is good. Someday I will follow Him right through death and into our Heavenly Father's house."

      Keep pressing on, my friend! I know God has big plans for us - a hope and a future. But we must allow Him to have complete control. ♥ He's always strong.

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