How the Lord works in different peoples’ lives is so important in the body of Christ. I believe that the differences I the Lord’s ways are beautiful. The silly, quirky parts of people show how God uses just so many different people and their skills to bring others to Him and show His glory.
The reason I mention quirks is because I got to spend the night recording with Hayden Bradley. If you don’t know him, you are really missing out on a solid guy. However, what stood out the most during this interview is how he constantly wanted the focus to be on the Lord and not on him. Anytime he would share about an aspect of his testimony there was a short mention about his life, but a longer dialogue on the Lord. Someday he is going to do an amazing job leading worship and making the Lord the focus of each time of worship.
However, that is not where he was all through his life. He had to learn how not to be so focused on the glory of Hayden himself, but to be captivated by the glory of God. This struggle is something that we all have and it all boils down to pride. It is so easy to think that pride is not something you personally struggle with, but that is the biggest lie that you are feeding yourself. Until you give that pride, or idol, up to God, you are going to be focused on yourself and your idol. However, whenever you give up your pride you can focus on glorifying the Lord with the gifts and uniqueness that He has blessed you with. Once you get that you can move onto the why and not the what.
“What you do does not matter. Why you do it does.”
Many times, we get caught up on how we look to others, which goes back to an issue of pride. However, when we let go of our pride we get to focus on why we do what we do. You realize that through focusing on the why, you learn why you are where you are. You remember that God has placed you in each season of life to learn something. Whether it is to be patient or move forward, the Lord is using your whys. So, check your heart and figure out
Why you praise the Lord the way you do through the actions you do.
Why you are where you are at this moment.
How you can show God glory even more because that is why you are a Christian.
A common thread that I have started to notice is the importance of that initial turning point when someone comes to the Lord. When talking about the beginnings of someone’s faith, a lot of Christians think of the “Sinner’s Prayer” that is recited about 20 times just in case the last one did not actually do the trick. However, when thinking back over a lifetime, true Christians realize that it took something else for them to truly understand the importance of their decision to follow Christ. A relationship with God is meant to be so much more than just a recited prayer. When one’s faith is realized and fully lived out, it becomes so much more their own personal relationship, and you receive #blessingsonblessings.
Stuart shared truth on truth when it came to a relationship with the Lord. Many times, we allow the expectations from parents and friends to enforce our decision when it comes to our relationship with the Lord. However, we should be making this decision for our own reasons because we want to get to know the Lord and because we realize that we are NOTHING without Him. The moment we realize that He is greater than anything that life has to offer, everything in our life starts to change.
I think the best part of the conversation was during the #preach segment when he went in on the idea of unity. There is something that is so beautiful about the idea of unity to Christ and in Christ. You see, we will never ever be good enough on our own. However, as Christians, we get to place our identity in Christ. When we find ourselves in the Lord, we can trust that everything will happen in a beautiful way because the path He has for our life is far greater than we can ever imagine. That is not where it ends! You see, we also get a family. All the others that find themselves in union with the Lord also gain unity with you. This life and faith is not supposed to be lived alone, but instead your faith should be lived out with others. In God’s family, you gain other members that will push you, love you, and encourage you. Fellowship and unity in Christ is not only about a potluck dinner after church. It is about a family that will love you in such a unique way because we have a father that loves us in such an unexplainable way.
When the plans you had for your life fall apart, what do you do? How do you move forward when you realize that you have not allowed the Lord to be your number one? What if the thing that you have made your idol is the thing that you are no longer able to do? What next? Well, it’s time to figure out where your treasure lies because that will adjust where your heart lies.
I honestly think that God does not think I get it, because this interview was one of many that talked about identity. It keeps coming up, but God often will continue to teach us more and more about the same concepts. The thing about Erik’s story is that his identity was so consumed by football that his eternity hung on a thread… okay that may be a low-key exaggeration. However, if it were not for the fact that God snatched football away from his life, he would not have realized that he was falling down a slope that lead straight to death and further away from his heavenly Father.
Identity in the Lord. When will Christians understand that we will not truly feel satisfied until we rest in the Lord? When will we understand that we will not know our true self until we know the Lord? Who will ever know you better than the one who created you and knows your every thought and movement? Nobody. So why do we continue to allow other things to fill our mind? Why do we live these sub-par lives where we claim that God is our number one, but we surely do not act like it?
Guys, our lives are not a game. Our lives are not meant to be lived hidden away. We say we are Christians yet we hide away in fear of others. Or we allow ourselves to be enslaved by the very passions that the Lord has placed in our hearts that were meant to glorify him.
You will feel broken or the Lord will break you over and over again until you get it. We are not truly free or whole until we are fully emerged in God’s identity.
Sometimes it is difficult to put thoughts into words because you’re still trying to figure it out in your own life. Sometimes you know exactly how to explain the idea eloquently to others so that they walk away growing in their faith. However, for you to actually understand it in your own heart seems to be the #realstruggle. This week was one of the topics where putting thoughts into words was hard for me.
This week I was able to record with Lexi and talk a lot about how the Lord is working in her life. She said ‘The Sinner’s Prayer’ at a young age, and that jump-started her journey to understand the gift of salvation. She said that the best way to understand our faith is through John 3:16. Many times we find ourselves saying the verse mindlessly and not truly taking the time to understand the depth and the importance of the verse. Think about it: God sent His only Son to die for us so that we can have a relationship with Him. We should all be in wonder and amazement because of the magnitude of the sacrifice God gave. We then talked briefly about her mom and step dad’s relationship, and how it glorified the Lord. We jokingly called that conversation “Relationship Advice from 2 Single Girls”. However, what we talked about next is what I want to focus on.
As Christians, it is so easy to say that we are trusting God’s timing and plan. However, things pop up and we have to ask how genuine our faith is. Lexi used the analogy of a balloon to share the importance of trusting God in all circumstances. She has had to learn to let go of her balloon and allow God to do with it as He wishes, according to His master plan. For me it is terrifying to watch my balloon (life) float around aimlessly in what seems like no direction. I tend to play this game where I “let it go” to God. However, what I actually tend to do is loosen my grip on the string ever so slightly and then grip it tightly again.
The Lord promises that when we trust Him with what is going on, things will start to work in the way they should. More specifically our paths will be straight. Nothing can change in your life until you take the head knowledge of knowing God can handle it, and turn it into heart knowledge of trusting Him no matter the circumstance. It is something that has to be done daily, and y’all I am working on it as well!