Those two words normally don’t make to much sense together right? But, in our Christian faith I have been learning that they actually can co-exist at the exact same time and when they do it is such a beautiful picture of Jesus in our lives.
This morning I woke up to some news that in the moment made me so sad. I sat there for a minute, I tried to go back to sleep but I just could make my mind stop wandering and questioning… ever been there? So I decided that instead of waking up Bobby and Todd (Todd is the dog….. 😁) I would get out of bed and spend some time with Jesus and in His Word.
There is something about His Word and intentionally seeking after His presence that immediately overflowed Joy into my heart. In the midst of my sadness there was great joy. In the midst of my sadness my heart just wanted to read the Psalms and praise Him just like David did… no matter his circumstance. In the midst of my sadness, His Joy is greater.
Does that mean that I am just fine and no longer sad? No. I am still a human… and a woman… so there’s that. We love us some emotions! What it does mean is that I can be sad but I can also have Joy, at the exact same time. Joy does not equal happiness. We are taught at such a young age that the opposite of happy is sad. We then somewhere along our journey begin to think that Joy and Happiness are the same. They are not. Happiness is based on our feelings, emotions and circumstances. Joy comes from knowing Jesus Christ as our Lord. There is not a circumstance that can change that.
If today maybe you find yourself feeling sad, stressed, anxious, lonely… you fill in the blank, I encourage you to take a moment and sit in His presence. Open the word, read a Psalm. Being praising God for who is. I promise you that His Joy will overflow your heart. His Joy will help you stand back up and face your day in the midst of your circumstances or feelings. He is good. He is good. He is always good. If you have no other words just repeat those over and over again over your situation. He has so much more in store for us than we can imagine. We just need to shift our focus from our feelings and circumstances and learn how to live in His joy & peace that He has given us! It’s already there and freely available to you right now! You can choose today to walk out the rest of your day being sad (or whatever feeling you put in the blank above) or you can choose today to walk in His peace and joy in the midst of whatever it is you are going through. Today I chose to walk in His peace and joy and trust that He is good. Because He is.
Here are some verses that encouraged me this morning: ” I know the Lord is always with me. I will not be shaken, for He is right beside me.” ~ Psalm 16:8 NLT ” We can make our own plans, but the Lord gives the right answer. ” ~ Proverbs 16: 1 NLT ” Commit your actions to the Lord, and your plans will succeed. ” ~ Proverbs 16:3 NLT “Who stood up for me against the wicked? Who took my side against evil workers? If God hadn’t been there for me, I never would have made it. The minute I said, “I’m slipping, I’m falling,” your love, God, took hold and held me fast. When I was upset and beside myself, you calmed me down and cheered me up. ” ~ Psalm 94:19 MSG
In the multitude of my thoughts within me thy comforts delight my soul. ~ Psalm 94:19 KJV
Give your life away. I remember the first time I heard my Pastor say this in a service. He said it as a statement but in my mind it became a question. Give my life away? What about MY dreams, and MY purpose and MY calling? What about ME? How does giving my life away get me any closer to the goals and dreams I have for my life? He went on to talk about invest in the next generation. At this point I was ready to leave! What about ME? What about MY generation?
Can I just say I wish I would have taken his words as truth all those years ago…
The chasing…the striving… the disappointments… everything I was facing and felt like I was failing at I believe could have been so different if I would have taken his words to heart the first time I heard them in that Sunday night service.
The focus of my life was on me. I loved the Lord (still do just to clarify 😜) but I was so wrapped up in my calling, my purpose, my destiny, my dreams and plans for my life…. all of those things that have been spoken to me for so many years and that I have worked so hard for… give it all away? How could I do that? Who would I be if not the girl with the big dreams? Who would I be if I laid down my dreams, plans and desires and JUST shared the Gospel and God’s love with others? I believe I would be the girl fully walking in the path and calling that the Lord has on my life.
I don’t know if maybe you find yourself today caught up in the chasing and striving in life. Nothing you do or try is good enough or fulfilling enough. If you do… I get it. I have lived there for a very long time. But I made a decision to not live there anymore and I am hoping maybe you will too. Am I saying that I am giving up on all of my dreams and things I am passionate about? Absolutely not. What I am saying is that the focus has to come off of me and onto Him.
What good would my dream be if it happened but didn’t bring any glory to Him? If it didn’t bring anyone who is lost and hopeless to Him? One word flooded through my mind as I typed that sentence… EMPTY. That would be an empty dream and a life I don’t want to live and I have to believe that it is probably one that you wouldn’t want to live either. In Matthew we learn about what we know as the “Great Commission.”
Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe everything I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age. – Matthew 28:19-20 CSB
I love how the Message Bible explains verse 20
Then instruct them in the practice of all I have commanded you. I’ll be with you as you do this, day after day after day, right up to the end of the age.
Day after day….after day…. after day…. If we are truly followers of Christ sharing His love with others and what He has done in our lives will never get old. This is where life is best lived. This is where the fulfillment I have been looking for is… It is found when I give my life away. It is found when I take the lessons that I have learned and look at a younger women and tell her “Wait! Hang on. You don’t have to do that. I lived in that for so many years and there is a better way!” It is found in being vulnerable with our failures and transparent with our lives. It is found in pointing people who seem to have no hope left to the One who is the person of Hope.
It is found when my focus shifts from me and my to Him and them.
I want to encourage you today to join me. Join me in taking our eyes off of ourselves and looking around at the world that we live in. The people we work with. The friend group that we have. The next generation (yes I said it!) who is facing more than we ever had to face. We can make a difference and we can live a life that is full of amazing dreams, life-changing dreams, if we are willing to lay down our empty ones first, take our eyes off of ourselves and lock them in on Him. 💜 Ashley
Our front yard has always been one of my favorite things about our house. It’s so beautiful. Our house sits back a ways off the road, there is a huge weeping willow tree, across the street, there is a beautiful white fence with horses and a barn, the sun comes up perfectly there, the snow covers it beautifully… it’s just beautiful. I remember sitting on that front porch before we even bought that house and looking at that front yard, dreaming about all of the life we would live there.
This morning as I sat on our couch looking out the window, there now sits a “coming soon” sign in our beautiful yard. That sign represents so much excitement in my heart about the future and our new home we are soon moving too. But that sign also represents dreams that are now gone. I always saw our children playing in that huge yard, sitting on our ugly living room carpet (if you know, you know!) I always thought I would have pictures to show them when they got old enough of Mommy & Daddy’s first house and that they would be a part of those pictures. But, now if my calculations are correct, there is no possible way for that to happen. Why God? I prayed for that. I asked you for that. Why didn’t you do it? Questions. I do have questions.
I wish I could sit here and tell you that my faith is so strong that I don’t ever question Him. I know that I say to myself that He is sovereign and His plans are the very best plans for my life! I DO know that to be true. I DO believe that 100% with my whole being. But, I still sometimes ask Him questions… and you know what I don’t think He is mad or disappointed at me for doing that one bit. Even in my asking I know He is still good. Even in my questioning I know He still loves me and knows exactly what He is doing in my life.
Maybe today you are not moving from your house and leaving behind dreams that didn’t come true. Maybe it’s a diagnosis, maybe it’s an unexpected death, maybe it’s the loss of a job, maybe it’s hurt, maybe it’s your past, maybe it’s plans that you had for your life that never happened or haven’t happened yet. Maybe it is a dream that you are going to have to lay down like me… but you know what He IS still good.
Gosh, I sure know that is hard to say, hear and believe in the midst of some of the challenges in our life. But I also know it to be true. I know that His Word tells me that He will NEVER leave me or forsake me ( Deut 31:6)and I believe it. I know His Word tells me that He has GOOD plans for my future (Jer 29:11) and I believe it. I know that when I feel like I have failed to many times, or messed up too much that His Word tells me that He has removed my sins as far as the east is from the west (Ps 103:12) and I believe it. I know that when I feel like I have no more Hope that His Word tells me I have a Strong and Trustworthy anchor of Hope for my soul (Heb 6:19) and I believe it. Do you believe it too?
I am sorry for the pain, the hopelessness, the frustration or loneliness you may feel today. I am sorry for whatever dream you may have had to lay down in your life. I get it. I am laying one of mine down with you today. But here is what I do know,
The plan that the Lord has for my life and yours is greater than any dreams we could have for ourselves
God is good. All the time. Every single time. No matter what you may have to face today, know that you are facing it with the Strong & Trustworthy Hope of Jesus Christ living in you. That means that the same spirit that raised Christ from the dead lives in us! (Rom 8:11) If that spirit is powerful enough to raise Christ from the dead I have to believe that it can raise whatever it is that I feel like has died in my life as well. Does that mean it is going to look exactly like I thought or wanted it to look like? No… unless I somehow become pregnant and have a child in the next week or so… it’s not gonna happen😜 But I have to believe that He does know the desires of my heart, but even more so He knows the very best plan for my life and yours too… because He is good. Always. 💜 Ashley
This was a post I wrote back in 2011 but I am so grateful I just came across it again today and I wanted to re-post it on this new blog. I hope that it encourages you today like it did me!
After leaving the most amazing church service I believe I have been to in years I couldn’t help but want to come home and write. I wish every single one of you reading this could have been at this service with me. With that being said…. it’s gonna be worth it all. It is worth it all.
Mary didn’t give birth to Jesus in a fancy inn, there was no room for her there. Jesus was born in a stable…. I have never had a child but I honestly couldn’t imagine that giving birth in a stable would be remotely comfortable or easy…. but it was worth it all. When Mary looked into the eyes of Jesus, it was worth it all.
Jesus is with each of us in our “stables”
Emmanuel….God with us, not God far away who doesn’t see us. God is in divine control, always, even when we are in a stable, He is with us. Maybe your stable is a loss of a loved one, cancer, divorce, whatever it is, whatever pain that you are going through know that God is with you. When we don’t understand what or why God is doing what He is doing we have to know that whatever it is good or bad it’s gonna be worth it.
When we take a step back and look at the big picture, when we lay down our wants and desires to live a radically, sold out life of giving Christ’s love away, when we realize that it is not about us, it is not about acquiring stuff or having the most or the best of everything, when we take our focus off of ourselves and put it where it belongs we can realize and trust that God is in control… always, He is Emmanuel, God with us, Always. This song by Rita Springer is just absolutely amazing in every way…
“I don’t understand Your ways, but I will give you my song and I’ll give You all my praise, You hold on to all my pain and with it You are pulling me closer, pulling me in Your ways Now around every corner, and up every mountain I’m not looking for crowns or the water from fountains I’m desperate in seeking, frantic believing The sight of Your face is all that I’m needing It’s gonna be worth it, It’s gonna be worth it It’s gonna be worth it all….I believe it..
I want to get to the point where I am desperately seeking, frantic believing that the sight of God’s face is all and everything that I am needing.
I just believe so much that if we could all get to that place of trust with God, where we honestly do reach and seek out His face first in good times and bad times we would see such a radical change in Christianity. We would see real, authentic Christians, passionately seeking and pursuing a real relationship with the Almighty, All knowing God. How awesome would that be for each of us individually…. and how awesome would it be to see God’s children living the sold out life that He wants so bad for each of us to live….
I pray that I see that day come soon, starting in me. I know that it is going to be worth it all. Everything that in my natural mind I think I am going to have to give up, every pain that I am going to walk through, every mountain and every valley I know that when I look into the eyes of Jesus, just as Mary did, it is gonna be worth it all. Blessings<3 Ashley Watch the full lyric video here.
This can be hard at times. To be honest with you this is something I have failed at over and over and over again. Staying planted…staying faithful… whatever you want to call it, it’s hard. If you are anything like me, I see the end, or the dream, or the life “they” are living that I want, or the life I thought I would be living by this time but I am not, and then you make a rash decision that seems like it will lead you to that “life” quicker than the path you are on now only to find out… it’s a lie. You find out that the things you were supposed to learn in the last position are still the same things the Lord is trying to teach you wherever you landed. It doesn’t matter where you landed because…
It’s not about the position, it’s about the purpose.
Our job, our title, our bank account, our family life… everything has a season. Good seasons are better than bad seasons, yes, I couldn’t agree more, but the lessons we learn in those bad seasons, if we will allow them too, draw us so much closer to the Lord and show us so much more about His faithfulness to us. Those lessons prepare us for the purpose He has for us.
I have been reading through the book of 1 Samuel and I am just captivated by David. I know that David & Goliath is pretty much in the top 5 of the most popular Bible stories, but I am captivated by the “Pre-Goliath” David. This David was a just a Shepard boy that kept watch of the families sheep & goats. A low position. A position so low that when Samuel came to David’s father’s house to anoint the next king, David’s father didn’t even mention him in the line up! But the Lord saw David. Sometimes you may feel hidden, forgotten or passed over… but take heart because the Lord SEES you and He sees me too. Even in those seasons where it may not feel like it.
David was faithful to his position and to his God. David had a heart after God and that is what the Lord saw. I just can’t imagine how hard, scary and frustrating some days of David’s life as a Shepard were, how unseen he had to have felt. David daily protected his herd and fought off the predators that were trying to attack them. His position at times had to be scary. But in the midst of that position the Lord was teaching him what he was capable of. He was showing David how strong he was and most of all he was showing David that HE was with him in this position and in whatever battle that David would face. On the day that David would kill Goliath, David was just being faithful to his position, like every other day. David’s father Jesse asked David to bring some food to his brothers that were in the battle, so he did just that. David however had no idea that this day would be the day that his current position had trained him for. You see, we have such limited vision. We can’t see all that the Lord is doing behind the scenes on our behalf. We can’t see the whys, we don’t have all of the answers, He just wants us to be faithful and trust Him. When David arrived he heard Goliath yelling and taunting the Israelite army about their God, the God David served and loved. David was infuriated that no one was doing anything about it so he took matters into his own hands. David’s brothers as well as the king told him he couldn’t do it, they told him he was too small, they told him he should just go back and tend to his sheep… but David knew the Lord was with him… why was he so confident in this? Because David had watched the Lord help him fight off every predator that came his way so far, so why would the Lord let Him down now? So David faced Goliath and said…
“You come to me with a sword, spear and javelin, but I come to you in the name of the Lord of Heaven’s armies- the God of the armies of Israel who you have defied. Today the Lord will conquer you…” 1 Samuel 17: 46-47a NLT
And as the story goes… David defeated Goliath… but as David said … the Lord conquered Goliath… David was just the vessel He used. David was able to be that vessel because he was willing to be faithful in the position that he was in. He was able to be the vessel because he was willing to stay planted in the hard times to see that there was a greater purpose than what his current position looked like.
Maybe you are like me. Maybe you get too far ahead of yourself and try to push forward on a path that hasn’t been cleared for you to walk through yet. Stay faithful. Stay planted. Allow the Lord to show you what all He has for you in this season, soak every bit of it in so that on the day of battle we can turn to whatever we are facing and say boldly like David “You come to me with a sword, spear and javelin, but I come to you in the name of the Lord… today the Lord will conquer you…” David was able to face Goliath and move forward in his purpose with bold faith and confidence because he experienced the Lord’s faithfulness over and over and over again and he remained faithful to the position the Lord had him in. Remember it’s not about the position… it’s about the purpose. ❤ Ashley
Disclaimer…… this is longer than my normal blogs but I sure hope you will take a few minutes to read it if you can 🙂
I was recently asked to speak at a women’s event in our area. To be completely honest with you all I was so scared. Speaking is something I feel very called to do, especially speaking to women, but when the opportunities arise so does my freak out mode.
As I was praying about what I was going to speak about at this event I was personally studying about unrealistic expectations and what those looked like in my life. I thought and was hoping that would be what the Lord would lay on my heart to speak about… in the midst of studying He lead me on a journey to so much more and I was so grateful. I wanted to share with you all 3 things that the Lord showed me that hinder us, or at least me, from becoming the women that He created us to be.
The first thing is what I was originally studying… Unrealistic Expectations.(I wrote a past blog called “Failed” that this first points stems from so some of this first part my be familiar to you if you have read that!)
As I was studying this and preparing, I keep thinking to myself “This is for sure the one that I struggle with the most” but then I kept looking at the other two and realized I just really struggle with all 3 of them in different ways and in different seasons.
For me unrealistic expectations have really buried me at times. My greatest dream was to move to Nashville and be Gretchen Wilson. I did make part of that dream happen by moving to Nashville, but if you know anything about me or country music you know that other than my redneck tattoo on my shoulder (if you know, you know) I am nothing like Gretchen Wilson.
Growing up I was always the girl in the spotlight. I was a singer, dancer, cheerleader… You name it. If it had a stage I was on it. As much as I loved all of those things and had a wonderful childhood, those formative years of my life put so many unrealistic expectations on my adult life. I began to believe that if I wasn’t on a stage… if people didn’t know my name… if I wasn’t doing something great enough or big enough then that meant “I” wasn’t enough. It meant that I was wasting my life. It meant that I moved away from my family and I failed at what I was supposed to do. I failed at who everyone thought I would be. Looking back I can so clearly see how the enemy planted those seeds in my life at such a very young age. His goal is to ALWAYS rob us of our faith and to steal, kill and destroy us. Jn 10:10And I almost let Him. But God.
For years these unrealistic expectations in my life buried me. No job was good enough. Every time I tried a new one I would describe it to my family and friends as something so much more than it really was because I wanted them to see me as being up on this platform of life that I was so tirelessly chasing after. I wanted people to look at me and think that I had done something really great with my life! That moving to Nashville wasn’t wasted. That my life wasn’t wasted. But no matter what I did or said I still couldn’t shake feeling like I failed at life in general. I wasn’t a singer, I was in my 30’s and not married, I wasn’t a mom, I wasn’t on a platform. I wasn’t any of the things I was supposed to be. So in my mind the only thing that I was, was a failure.
I finally stirred up the guts to go see a Christian counselor and after I exhaled my entire life story on her as fast as I could she asked me a question that changed my life. She said to me “What is it that you have really failed at?” When I stopped and took a minute to look back… there was not one thing that I talked to her about that I truly failed at. Nothing. At that moment I began to realize that what I saw as failure all of these years was really unrealistic expectations that I put on myself.
The chasing, the striving… I was exhausted. I was mad at God because I believed that He let me down. But all along He was waiting for me to stop chasing after the things of this world. To stop trying to please people with my life. To stop trying to be accepted and celebrated by people. He didn’t created you or me to be accepted. We are created to stand out for Him. He didn’t create us to be celebrated… we are to celebrate Him. How easy it is to fix our eyes on our on situations, on our own desires, on our own plans and miss it completely. That is the goal of the enemy!!
All the while He is calling out to us..
.Daughter! Stop striving! You are chasing and running and exhausting yourself trying to become someone I never called or created you to be. Stop striving. You are loved. There is nothing that you could do to make me love you one ounce more than I already do. Nothing. There is no way that you can look that could make me think that you are any more beautiful and perfect than you are this very moment. You are enough and you are mine and I have a great and specific purpose that I created you uniquely for, if you will just stop looking to this world for approval and fix your eyes on me.
That is the key. We have to fix our eyes on Him. We have to lock our eyes in so tightly to Him that we don’t get swayed to the right or left but stay on the straight path that He has for us. Pr. 4:25-27 We have to take off the heavy burdens of these unrealistic expectations that we have been carrying around and lay them at His feet. We have to fully surrender our plans and dreams to Him.
I pray that you can begin to see what expectations you have on your life that you were never meant to carry. I pray that you and I can be so locked in to Him so aware of His presence in our lives that nothing else matters. No ones approval is needed but His. We are enough. The second thing that can hinder us from becoming the women that He created us to be is Comparison.
Can I just start this one with a confession… if you have posted on social media within the last few years that you are expecting a baby I may or may not have unfriended you. RIGHT! Come on. Don’t act like you haven’t been there.. Maybe you didn’t unfriend the person but maybe you did unfollow them… You know that way they don’t know that you did it!
Social media has made it so much easier for us to compare ourselves to each other. Especially us women! My husband thinks I am 100% insane sometimes. It has come to the point where I have said to him so many times… “Did you see so and so is pregnant?” “Did you see they are pregnant again?” All the while I am sitting their stewing because I am not. He finally said to me “ While I guess I am either going to have to impregnate you or you need to get off social media!” Of course I heard the first part of that statement and agreed. But you all, I also remember doing this to him while we were dating about people getting engaged too. It doesn’t stop.. (Sorry Bobby!)
There will always be the next thing to compare our lives too and strive for if we are looking for our contentment, peace and fulfillment in this world or in the lives of others.
I know that I am not the first one to say this and I am sure that you have heard this before but so have I and it still obviously hasn’t completely sank in… We are comparing our lowest moments to someones else’s social media highlights. The majority of the time that I am on social media I am bored and don’t have much else to do. By the end of my endless scrolling I am still bored but now I am also mad, lonely, fat, broke and have downed an entire bag of baked lays. Why? Because I have sat there and allowed myself to compare myself to her. Or my marriage to theirs. Or my thighs to hers. Why is it so hard for us as women to understand that we are created so beautifully unique. So perfectly set apart. Each feature is perfect in His sight. He made us, He formed us, everyone of us and every part of us. He numbered our hairs He is ordering our steps! We are all equally needed. He has no favorites! Acts 10:34
We have to understand that just because she may have someone you want doesn’t mean that God is keeping something from you because she has done more, or she is a better mom, or christian or wife. It means that you are not her. It means that He is writing your story. It means that what may feel like the Lord keeping something from us could very well be the process we are needing to go through for Him to bring something even better to us! His story for me is perfect. His story for you is perfect.
I know it’s so hard to watch and celebrate others getting things you so desire. In this season for me it’s so hard to go to baby showers. To walk those isles at target to pick out that perfect outfit or toy and then have to give it away. It’s so hard. But you know what… He knows. Though it may bring me great grief at times, He knows, He sees me, and I know He is still good and my story is not over, it just looks different than hers. He is always good and He always has good in mind for us no matter what process we may have to go through to get there. Just think about the cross and the process and pain Jesus had to endure for us. But without the cross where would we be?
This comes back again to the same place.. Fixing our eyes and locking them on Jesus. Our Father. Taking our gaze off of others and their lives and placing it on Him. Taking the focus off our ourselves and desires and choosing to live a fully surrendered life to Him… NO MATTER WHAT. The last thing that can hinder us from becoming the women He created us to be is Our Past.
Every single one of us has a different story. I don’t know what your past looks like, I don’t know what you did or what may have been done to you, but I do know that there is Someone greater than any of it. He is the great Forgiver. He is the great Healer. He is the great Redeemer. He is the only One that can take every single thing, every single thought, every single pain, every single trial that has come against you in your life, every dart that the enemy has thrown at you trying to take you out, He is the only one that can take ALL OF IT, all of it that was meant to bury you and leave your for dead and breath life into it and turn it around for good. Rom 8:28
In your life you may have done so many things wrong, in your life so many wrongs things may have been done to you BUT GOD IS ABLE. And He is willing.
The life of Paul has to stand out as an example for us… if an author of the Bible can stand and say “ I don’t really understand myself, for I want to do what is right, but I don’t do it. Instead, I do what I hate.” Rom 7:15 I think we are in good company. We have all made mistakes. I look back over my life and it breaks my heart some of the things that I have done and some of the things that I have said. How hurtful I could be. I would love to say that all of these things were before I knew the Lord but that is just not the case.
How grateful I am for the grace, mercy, forgiveness and love of Jesus. How grateful I am that when He breathed His last breath the veil was torn and now I can come freely before the Lord and lay it all out there! I can repent, I can praise and worship Him and I can be forgiven.
There is nothing that the enemy would love more than to keep you bound in chains by your past, than to make you hold on to bitterness, offense and unforgiveness so you can’t push through and become the woman God created you to be. Nothing more. But if you will allow the Lord to show you these things that are harboring inside of you that you may have never dealt with I can promise you with everything in me that you will find freedom there. He is so good guys. He has such an amazing story that He is not finished writing in your life. We can’t let the enemy keep us locked in these chains of our past, of our hurts, of our unforgiveness, or bitterness or offense and end the story before it was finished.
I know this was super long… I warned you 🙂 but to sum it all up my greatest prayers for you and for me today are that we can leave our unrealistic expectations of who we think we are supposed to be behind us once and for all. That we can learn to celebrate and champion each other instead of compare ourselves to each other, that we can pray to the Lord to search our heart and help us uproot and deal with anything that may be hindering us that is in our past and we can be obedient and faithful to deal with it like He wants us too. I pray that we can lock our eyes so tightly on Jesus that we don’t need the approval of anyone else to know that we are loved, we are enough and we are beautiful.
If you read all of this know that I wish I could give you a big hug, a cup of coffee or a least a cookie! Or maybe a Taco? I don’t know… Obviously I am hungry now. Thanks for journeying along with me though and always know I would love to agree in pray and pray for you if you need. You can email me at email@example.com and I will do just that! Love you all.
As I was reading through a book on discipleship this morning, I came across a verse that I have heard preached and read myself SO MANY TIMES. I am sure you have read, said and heard it said many times as well…
“You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” John 8:32 CSB
You have heard it before right? This morning in the book I am reading the author Kandi Gallaty also referenced the verse before it… John 8:31 which says…
Then Jesus said to the Jews who had believed him, “If you continue in my word, you really are my disciples.”
Okay so what You’re saying Jesus, is that there is an active part that I play in this as well…. MIND BLOWN. Maybe not blown completely but for sure a reality check. Let’s read these verses together…
John 8:31-32 CSB 31 Then Jesus said to the Jews who had believed him, “If you continue in my word, you really are my disciples. 32 You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”
After reading this verse over…and over.. and over this morning I got an image of a prison in my head and began to think about what it takes for someone who is in prison to get out of prison.. time served. Freedom for a prisoner requires time. Maybe it is just me but I know I have so many invisible prisons that I live in. These prisons are in my mind and if I let them they can just completely take over and destroy my day, or let’s be honest weeks or even months. Here is where my revelation came in this morning… I can’t just hold onto the Bible and open it in church on Sunday mornings and expect to know the Truth that can set me free from these invisible prisons that I have. I have to put the time in…
I have to read His Word to know the Truth that can and will set me free.
We have to do our part. A relationship with Jesus is just that a relationship, a two-way line of communication between our heavenly Father and us, His children. If we are just going through the motions of our faith we lose the relationship with the Author of our faith. We invest time in so many other relationships throughout our days. Whether that is our family, spouse, kids, friends, co-workers… you fill in the blank, but how easy it is to get “too busy” to invest time in the relationship with the Creator. The One who made us, knows us and loves us. The One who is our ever present help in time of need (Ps 46:1) The One who can lead us, guide us and instruct us on the way we need to go (Ps 32:8) The One and the only One who’s very Words can set us free.
The Bible is the absolute truth. The living word of God. There is Freedom there. We have to take the time to put His Word in our heart. The Word is the weapon that we have to tear down the invisible prisons that we have in our lives. Let’s take this weapon that the Lord has given us and let’s spend time learning, knowing and growing in it so we can break down the prison walls that we live in and walk in the freedom that Christ died for us to have (Gal 5:1)! Will you join me?