Forgiven: Where have you been?

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Where have I been?



It’s been an accidental quiet couple of weeks here but for sweet purpose. While I enjoy every many forms of social media, I pray I’m never a slave to any of it. I hope you aren’t either. It’s so easy to get lost on these helpful, fun, encouraging venues, but if you’re too easily found here you’re actually lost in a way that dangerous, you know? We’ve all be there I’m sure to one degree or another. The reason for my hiatus was hand to the plow in the field so to speak, work and preoccupation with the most beautiful of aims in mind. My oldest children birthed the idea for a bakery two years ago and this year it came into fruition. We witnessed the Body of Christ doing what only it can do. We stood in amazement as people opened their hearts by opening their pocketbooks to give to devastatingly poor. Because, y’all, where your treasure is there your heart will be also.



Oh, to always, always, be a part of stretching out our hands to the poor.



I cannot tell you how utterly GOOD it was, how utterly GOOD God was. I haven’t been that worked to the bone exhausted in a minute, y’all. It reminds me that we are called to labor in His Kingdom. Labor. Everything you think of when it comes to that. Labor over so many things, so many varied callings and to not let up. That’s why I’m writing right now, because I don’t want to let up on this call to write even in the smallest of ways. So, that’s where I’ve been. Working. With a smile on my face.


Today I have come to ask this…



Where have you been?


Do you ever come up for air in your busy course and manner of life to see how you’re doing? How you’re really doing? Obviously you’re making it to some degree or you probably wouldn’t be reading this blog (teasing smile). In seriousness though so many of us, myself included in certain seasons, spend very little time before the Lord asking Him where we are? How are we doing? What is needed to grow spiritually? How do we need to be reading, studying, praying? We assume that we know. And my oh my is that a false assumption. We are not qualified to judge anyone including ourselves we must time and again take our little selves before the Lord that He may instruct us during the courses through His Word as to where we are and where we are to go from here.



The inability to recognize and/or lack of willingness to confess personal sin. When the posture of our hearts lack humility, and we cannot see how we might be erring in life, there is usually something amiss. The faithful work of the Holy Spirit is to convict us of sin and lead us into righteousness. If we are not quenching the Holy Spirit He is working always to make us more like Christ. On earth, the believer remains repentant.



If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.… 1 John 1:8



Lack of inward zeal for God despite participation in various activities meant to honor Him. It is entirely possible to be fully submersed in all manner of groups and studies and the like and be devoid and empty of any true desire for the Lord and His Word. True zeal for God is something He gives. It’s not something that originates with us. It is given as a believer remembers the stunning beauty of the Gospel and asks God for an increased desire for Himself.



Oh how I love your law! It is my meditation all the day. Psalm 119:97



Is this anywhere near the state of our hearts?



Failure to act on the knowledge we have been given. This is nothing less than foolishness. We all fall prey to it. We are not perfect. Yet more and more we should be working in what God has worked out for us in regards to our salvation. We cannot coast into the Kingdom. Daily dying to ourselves and submitting to the rule and reign of Christ results in the wisdom that comes from above. The inability to do the Word of God in the life of a believer should not remain perpetual.



For it is not the hearers of the law who are righteous before God, but the doers of the law who will be justified. Romans 2:13




You guys we cannot do the law, so how are we righteous before God? Oh, we believe in the One who did it all and justified us. His Spirit lives in us so that we can do His will, keep His Word, and witness the wonders of grace to this world. 



This is how John can say this later on in Scripture.



But you know that Christ appeared to take away sins, and in Him there is no sin. No one who remains in Him keeps on sinning. No one who continues to sin has seen Him or known Him. Little children, let no one deceive you: The one who practices righteousness is righteous, just as Christ is righteous. 1 John 3:5-7



It is not contrary to the Gospel that we keep God’s Word; it is in fact the measure of a true believer, because the Spirit of Christ does this work in a believer, not the believer themselves. 



For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. Romans 8:14



General laziness or apathy or indifference to the Word of God, your spouse, your children, or the people of God.  The callings God has given should be approached with intentionality and purpose. When we fail to live this way it could indicate a blind spot. Let us not grow lax in our callings and let’s not forget the promises of God. Let’s let go of every form of lazy living. I’m talking about when we say we have no time for Bible study or Life Group when we have time for football and our favorite shows I’m talking about when we lament busyness, but spend copious amounts of time on social media. 



Then Jesus said to all of them, “If anyone would come after Me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow Me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will save it.… Luke 9:23



This is not an exhaustive evaluation of your spiritual condition by any means. This is certainly a starting point not an ending. I do think these questions can give us a sort of barometer for how to tell quickly when things are off. Am I outwardly doing “work for the Kingdom” but my heart isn’t in it? Am I reciting verses, but I haven’t taken the time to thoughtfully apply those same verses in my real everyday life (oh, it hurts to evaluate sometimes, but it’s good)? Am I waking up too late too often and missing the quiet quality time that I could spend with God? Am I going to bed too late, so I miss my evening quiet time with the Lord?  I hope in coming days to detail out how I personally evaluate my life before the Lord. It may or may not be helpful to you, but if it is I’ll gladly share. 



STUDY Write out your answers, prayerfully and thoughtfully to these questions. Please understand, sweet friends, this is not a post to beat you up. No, it is meant to build you up in the ways that make us more like Jesus, because He is the big deal, after all, not any one of us. The more clearly our lives reflect Him, the more clearly the Gospel is communicated to a desperate world. And I think Jesus is worth the effort, don’t you?


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