Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Glad I Went

Let me know if any of you have been where I was tonight.

I have on several occasions tried to talk myself out of going to a church function, a Bible study, a small group meeting, a serving opportunity or just church on Sunday all together. Well I have learned from experience that the more I struggle with the decision to go or not to go and then just do it and go, the more the Lord blesses me. He blesses me with revealing an awesome truth form His Word to me, an encouraging word from a pastor or touching my heart deeply while serving His people. The more I struggle, the more I realize there's something God wants me to learn from Him that Satan obviously does not!

Tonight, I thought, was no exception. I struggled within myself as whether to go to Wednesday night church classes or not. I wasn't feeling the greatest, I wanted to spend more time with my mother in law visiting from Ohio, I was tired and the list goes on of reasons why I wanted (keyword here being wanted) to stay home but then as if the Holy Spirit took over, I said "Nope, I'm going. I need to go!." I even told my husband that I couldn't wait to see how the Lord was going to bless me tonight because that's how this usually works. So to make a long story short, I went to class.

It's the fifth week in this class titled Women of Character. Each session has been powerful and has revealed a deep rooted lie taught to me over the years from the world's view. Each session leaves me feeling incredibly free. So here I am driving to church assuming this great and powerful blessing is coming to me. Then this thought came to me, "Is that why you're going? Just to be blessed? You need to go just because you want to be obedient, period." So I went to class and it was good, very good. Here, let me share some of the "blessings" from tonight's lesson.

The basic premise of tonight's study was taking what we learned from the previous week, the lie of self love, and turning our focus from within ourselves to outward and upward toward God. The world teaches us that we have to love ourselves before we can love others (I totally bought into this one), you deserve happiness, we all need and deserve our "ME" time, self esteem is the most important thing a person can have, etc.

We learned last week that this is such an empty promise because if you finally learn to love yourself then we, being sinful creatures, will soon start wondering why everyone else doesn't love as much as we love ourselves. A person then spins into a whirlwind of trying to get everyone else to love them just as much, gets angry or bitter when they don't and is just left feeling empty all over again!

However, when we have the love that Christ offers us and we accept it, all our needs are met. He loves us not because of who we are but because of who He is. He is an amazing God who loves us no matter what we do or don't do, He just loves us unconditionally. There is nothing we can ever do to lose it nor is there anything we can do to attain it, it's just there.

So why in the world would we ever want to settle for the love that we would ever be able to offer to ourselves alone? We know, and God knows, that we are incapable of that kind of pure love. Man what a sham, was all I could think about all those self help books I've read in the past! Another lie the world teaches us is that denying ourselves and putting others first is weak and obviously shows our need for approval from others and thus proves our lack of self esteem and validates our need to love ourselves!

Thank the Lord though for verses like these, that tell us differently: Phil 2:1-5, Matt 22:37-40,Matt 16:24-26, Luke 9:23 Then another point which I know is a basic truth of the Christian faith and a phrase we hear quite often at our church is, "It's not about me!" The only reason we are even here at all on this earth is because of Him and we are here and created to please God, not ourselves Matt 6:33, 1 Cor 10:31, 2 Cor 5:9-15.

Ahhh... "ding, ding, ding", the Lord seemed to say to me. Then I started thinking "Now what was I saying on my way here? I wanted to see what blessings were in store for me? How selfish of me, how could I expect God to bless me? I should want to learn more of Him and grow in my walk with Him and do things for Him just because I love Him and I have been called to follow Him and want to be more like His Son. Ah man, how stinkin selfish can I be?"

I left class feeling FULL from the awesome teaching and began my drive home. I immediately began praising Him and thanking Him for many things... our church family, for the woman teaching the class and the work He's doing through her, His unconditional love for me and for all of us who are so undeserving and finally for teaching me about obedience and that tonight was never about me and blessing me. Tonight was about Him. I asked for forgiveness and thanked Him for the gift of forgiveness He freely gives because of what Christ did on the cross. I finished my prayer and said my "in Jesus' name I pray, Amen."

My mind then went silent for a moment and for just a minute I felt extremely close to Him and then it was as if He was saying, "A Ha! You finalllly, get it my dear." And you know what... I felt extremely loved, comforted and "blessed" by the time I pulled into my driveway. Isn't God sooo AWESOME?

All I can say to sum up this post is.. "I Am Glad I Went!"

Good Night All

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