Click above for episode in pic. And read below for another meditation of "Is Jesus first?"
We are creatures of habit. We tend to do things as we always have when it comes to managing our emotions and thoughts, time and energies.
When it comes to our emotions and thoughts, we over-process. We stew. We worry. We fret. We say "nothing's wrong". We push it down. We pursue distraction so we don't have to feel or think. We over-extend ourselves to placate, please, and attempt to influence others for the reactions we hope for.
It's all so exhausting.
We argue. We defend ourselves. We take the bait and respond to the offense.
We believe the lies of others who are manipulating us to get what they want.
We stay in strongholds because it is known territory. We feel comfortable there. Doing something new, radically changing our behavior, having godly boundaries, speaking the truth in love, letting others be upset with us, prioritizing God over all others would be a radical move for many.
And so we stay bound.
When it comes to our time and energies, we say "yes" when we should say "no". We give priority to others over time with God. We enmesh ourselves into the ways of the world, preferring entertainment and physical activity and catering to our families over God.
Ask yourself. Am I willing to forsake all others for the cost of following Christ? Are we willing to face the cost?
Luke 14:26- “If anyone comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters—yes, even their own life—such a person cannot be my disciple.
Are you willing to take on the disappoint of others who are pressuring you to comply with their demands and expectations? Are you willing to say,
"You know what? I have not spent a day with Jesus in a while; and I really think that I need to take that time today."
"I'm sorry I can't take you to that game, I need to spend time reading God's word this weekend."
"I'm sorry I can't rush over and do that thing you are asking me to do, I'm giving that time to Jesus today."
"I need you to figure out dinner for the next couple of nights because I'm fasting and taking that time to draw near to God."
"I can't watch this because it does not honor God."
"I want to go back to church even though I've gotten used to worshipping at home. I need to not forsake gathering with the other believers.”
"Even though I don’t see how it will work, I will give God the first fruits of my finances. He shall provide."
"I'm not going to go for that run Saturday, I'm going to spend time with Jesus."
"I'm not going to call my friend and process this relationship to death one more time. I'm going to take it to Jesus."
"I'm not going to burn hours fretting and worrying. I'm going to believe in God's promises and persist in prayer."
"I'm not going to allow you to talk this way to me any more and guilt me into submission. When you are ready to stop blaming and shaming, we can be in relationship again. Until then, I will pray for you."
"I can't listen anymore to the bitterness you feel towards "x". When you are ready to pray about it and bring all that upset to God in prayer, let me know. I will be there for you."
Are these statement, part of your regular language? Let it give you pause.
If not, God has freedom and power for you who want to start speaking in these ways! He will defend you. He wants to empower you and set you free, to not be dominated by your flesh or by the ways of others. Get out of the rut, ask for Him to redeem your ways! To break strongholds! To fill you with His life and power! Mourn over your ways that put God last, that gives Him little.
Really consider... What steps do you need to take to put Christ first? The questions aren't meant to guilt you into anything. Jesus wants you to make Him priority as an expression of love you feel towards Him, in response to how good and merciful He has been to you! Love and obedience are not mutually exclusive. One requires the other.
John 14:15-18 “If you love me, keep my commands. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever— the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you. I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you.
He will come to you. Pray something along these lines, for whatever applies...
"I miss you Jesus. I want more time with you. I want to know You better. I see how good you have been to me. I realize I am too self-consumed and I don't like that. I want you to change me. I need help with resolving relational conflict. I have bitter responses towards others and I need to confess that. I allow others to control me; and I don't know how to give a godly response. I believe your promises are true. Impress upon my heart a promise you want me to memorize. I believe in you, help me deepen in belief and trust. I don't know your Word well enough. Forgive me for pursuing lesser things. I want to know you better so I can hear your voice more clearly. I can't remember the last time I really experienced your presence and I want to pursue you. Help me intercede for my loved ones and be watchful in prayer because you have asked me to do that."
(Note: To intercede for a loved one(s), click pic above for an interactive exercise of breath prayer intercession.)
In closing, I encourage you to read Revelation chapters 2 and 3 for what the Spirit of the LORD says to the churches. What church are you in? Let it move you to an urgency to cry out for awakening, revival, and purifying work of the Spirit in you, your family, your church, and community. We need to be the virgins filled with oil in these times.
Matthew 16:2-3- 2 He replied, “When evening comes, you say, ‘It will be fair weather, for the sky is red,’ 3 and in the morning, ‘Today it will be stormy, for the sky is red and overcast.’ You know how to interpret the appearance of the sky, but you cannot interpret the signs of the times.
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Prayer is Gift!
Into the Waters Ministry is a 501(C)3 public charity. Our mission is to inspire you to linger longer with God, to draw near and know Christ. For those willing, it is a place of supernatural hope and healing. I know this first hand. My name is Gina; and I'm the founder of the ministry. My 20+ year journey with God has been centered on immersing myself in the safe relationship God offers, learning about the power of surrender, and receiving His life in greater measure! I've experienced radical healing in mind, body, and spirit and believe God for more! I long for others to position themselves for the same! Into the Waters' resources help you spend quality time with God to enter His rest and receive His divine provision. Let us help you experience more of God! Read the blogs, try the exercises, participate in online sessions! His promises for life and wholeness are offered to all! But you have to say "Yes!"