Just to give you a little bit of an idea what God has been doing in my heart over these last couple weeks... when I came back from Mexico, I felt somewhat lost. Obviously, there is great joy in serving Him... especially with a bunch of people all seeking to honor Him in word and action. I was truly blessed throughout the whole trip by His amazing faithfulness, by the things He taught me, and by the people on the team that He used to build me up in Christ throughout the trip. Coming back, I really had to reevaluate my priorities. I can't stress how important it is to really sit down and take some time to think and pray. In the busy-ness of life, we can so easily lose track of His voice. We must be still and listen attentively as we seek Him with all of our heart. You would be shocked if I told you all the things that I had at least considered over the last couple weeks. After talking with a friend about these things and praying and thinking about all the different directions I could go from here, God graciously reminded me of many of the things that I have to work on during this "waiting" period. Alex and I concluded the trip with that study on waiting on Him... and I struggled until the other day to really understand how that looked on a practical level for me at this point. Thanks to His patience and guidance, I was reminded of a huge Bible study that I had been working on for several months now that really needs more attention. I was also reminded of the need to keep better records of my finances and be preparing for the future in that area. He also reminded me of the importance of spending time with my siblings and making a difference in their lives... not to mention that it will help me when I enter a relationship. He also reminded me that I need to be careful to take good care of the things He has given me. I have so much, yet the world is not my home... I must take care of these things and use them for His glory.
I have been studying Romans since I got back from Mexico and it has been a huge blessing to me. One passage that really stood out to me was Romans 12:10-16.
Let love be without hypocrisy. Abhor what is evil; cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in brotherly love; give preference to one another in honor; not lagging behind in diligence, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord; rejoicing in hope, persevering in tribulation, devoted to prayer, contributing to the needs of the saints, practicing hospitality. Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep. Be of the same mind toward one another; do not be haughty in mind, but associate with the lowly. Do not be wise in your own estimation.
We would be so well off if we just lived in accordance with this passage. I often pray that He would help me hate evil and cling to what is good. I really never noticed the first part of that verse explaining why we need to live that way. It really is hypocritical to love what is evil. Knowing that God is love and all good things come from Him... to use love as an expression toward something evil is to really mix God's character with evil... which is really hypocritical. Being devoted to one another is really an essential aspect of fellowship. God did not create us in our own little worlds for a reason. He created us to fellowship with one another... to truly love each other as He loved us... to put others before ourselves. In so doing, we are serving Him and blessing each other. We desperately need people to stand firm by us and keep us going in the right direction when we start to stray. We need to be praying for one another! I really struggle with the idea of weeping with those that weep. I am generally not an emotional person. I do cry when I feel I need to cry, but that is very rare. I generally think very realistically about things. For example, if someone dies and they know the Lord, that is something to celebrate... even if I will miss them. If they don't know the Lord, it is extremely sad, but I figure crying won't help that. I can focus on praying for the salvation of others... etc. While I don't think there is necessarily anything wrong with this, we are called to weep with those that weep... and that is something I need to work on. We are also called to have the same mind toward one another... and I believe that mind was specified in the verses above. We are to have a heart of humility modeled after Christ who came in human flesh--the ultimate humiliation for the Creator of the universe. I pray that my heart would be full of these things and that it would manifest itself in the way I live.