Tag Archives: knowing Christ

Count it All Joy

As soon as I started the car Monday morning, I knew something wasn’t quite right. But it had been raining for two days, and historically, the battery sometimes just needs a little extra time to get warmed up in such conditions.

But as I pulled out of my neighborhood, I realized whatever was wrong wasn’t correcting itself, and it seemed I was at risk of the engine choking out at any moment. So instead of heading to work (because there is little that terrifies me more than the car breaking down on the side of the road. seriously.), I drove the shorter distance to my parents’ house, not able to go more than 40-45 mph. And let’s just not even talk about the car’s distress on hills and at stoplights. Once at my parents’ house, I knew my Mom could drive me to work and my Dad could look at the car after work. (Huge shout out of thanks to both of my parents!)

count it all joy

By mid-morning, safely at work but with the knowledge that I was either facing a new car purchase before I was fully prepared or a likely substantial repair, I knew that the correct response to this situation was something along the lines of James 1:2

“Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds…”

And while I was incredibly grateful that I had started the morning in focused prayer, to at least give me a fighting chance to maintain proper perspective … even uttering these very words, “Lord, this day is all yours” … this wasn’t exactly how I would have planned for that prayer to be lived out.

So as I reflected on the right response, to count it all joy, realizing that I was pretty much failing miserably at it, my thoughts shifted towards what this passage wasn’t saying, to hopefully better understand what it was saying.

It wasn’t really saying to find the silver lining that somehow made the circumstance ok.

And it wasn’t really saying to be happy about what just went down.

But it was saying to count it all joy because of what was coming.

“…for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.”
James 1:3-4

Because there is great hope and expectation in what lies ahead after and because of the trial: steadfastness which leads to perfection and completeness.

That’s where the joy is rooted. In the assurance and security of that promise.

It’s letting the worry and concern and circumstances fade in the light of Jesus Christ. It’s moving closer to Him in faith regardless of the trial. It’s knowing and trusting and abiding.

Honestly, even with all of that at the forefront of my heart and mind, I still feel like in many ways I failed. I knew the right response. And my flesh continued to battle with my spirit over it all day.

But at the end of the day, if nothing else, I just know.

I know I’m a day closer, a circumstance closer, to Him.

I know a rest in my soul because I know He’s here in the midst of my car issues and my heart issues.

And for today, maybe that’s enough.

Because He’s enough.

I Want to Live for Christ

I only have one life … only so many days, only so many hours.

It’s so easy to get caught up in possibilities and dreams, to be overwhelmed by somedays, what ifs, and if onlys.

I can’t do it all.

But so what if I don’t know what I want to be when I grow up?

I’m living now … each day, each moment … and I want it to count. Eternally.

I desperately long to hear those words from the Master:

“Well done, good and faithful servant.” (Matthew 25:23)

I want to live this life trusting Him, serving Him, sharing Him.

For His glory.

Not mine.

Because it’s still not about me. It never has been. It never will be.

I want to stop feeling guilty for the choices that I make … I want to own those choices knowing that I have made them according to the only standard for my life that matters at all. His standard.

Considering the urgings of Paul, I want to

“…live a life worthy of the calling I have received.” (Ephesians 4:1)

I want to live a life worthy of the gospel.

I want to press on toward the goal.

I want to run in such a way to obtain the prize.

If life right now mostly looks like working, worshiping alongside a solid ministry team, studying Scripture, loving on two-year-olds in the nursery, writing, investing in rich friendships, and hanging out in coffee shops than I want to do those things … my things … His things … well. Fully invested in His kingdom work.

I want to live for Christ.

“But far be it from me to boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.” (Galatians 6:14)

{Day 19} Greek Cafes & Knowing Christ

“For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers”

Romans 8:29 (ESV – emphasis added)

As many of you know, this summer I spent almost three weeks traveling through Greece for a class on Paul’s New Testament Letters. While there were several highlights of the trip (many of which I have already recounted here through words and photos), and my time of both academic and Biblical study was incredible, one of my sweetest memories from the trip had nothing to do with Paul or his letters.

One Sunday afternoon after visiting the ancient Agora in Athens, rather than heading directly back to our hotel before dinner, seven of us decided to take a long(er) and leisurely stroll back through the Plaka area (the shopping district) in hopes of finding an outdoor cafe where we could have some coffee (Greece has the most amazing freddo cappucinos!) and fellowship for a couple of hours. As this is a typical afternoon occurrence in Greek culture, we had no trouble finding the perfect spot similar to the one in the photo above (though that particular cafe is on the Island of Mykonos).

We had the best time just sitting around a couple of tables, relaxing with a cold coffee beverage in hand, sharing stories, engaging in easy conversation, even sitting in (albeit brief) moments of silence, and getting to know one another better. No agenda, no planned format, no pressure … just precious time together.

And when it comes to discerning our {God given} callings, our approach should be similar.

Before we can even begin to understand the details and specifics of our call, we must take the time to simply sit with Christ. To Know Him … closely, personally, intimately … through worship, Scripture, prayer, conversation, and time.

Not just that 15 minutes of a brief devotional and prayer we {sometimes} manage to squeeze in sort of time. Rather that sitting at a Greek cafe in the middle of the afternoon just to Know Him more sort of time … in order to be conformed to His likeness … in order to reflect His glory.

Because the more we know Christ, while it’s not that the specifics of our call don’t matter, they tend to fade into the background of His Gracious Sovereignty. He is before all and over all. And once again, our focus is drawn away from self – from our own call – and we position ourselves to listen, to be ready, and to be used.

For the sake of THE call … the Gospel of Jesus Christ.