Yesterday, I finished my novel Sweet September (Guideposts). It is an amazing story about acceptance. And about coming to terms with the course God has designed for you. It’s also a story about realizing that sometimes we need to stop looking at the destination (of striving to get “someplace”) and instead discover joy in the journey. It’s realizing that the hardest times are those that transform us and bring us closer to the ones we love and the One we love. (And isn’t that the same lesson we often learned by the time the credits rolled on shows like The Brady Bunch and Leave it to Beaver?)
I don’t know why I strive to do, do, do as if doing makes God happy. I don’t know why most of the time I’m so focused on the destination (a finished book, a cleaned house) that I miss zeroing in on the moments.
Today I was reading the Sermon on the Mount, and I was surprised to (re)discover that there is only one “do”: “God blesses those who work for peace” (vs. 9) The rest of them are “who are” phrases:
God blesses those …
who realize their need for Him
who are gently and lowly
who are hungry and thirsty for justice
who are merciful
whose hearts are pure
who are persecuted because they live for God
(Matthew 5:3-10 NLT)
All these things can be summed up by the words of one of David’s prayers: “Teach me your ways, O Lord, that I may live according to your truth! Grant me purity of heart that I may honor you” (Psalm 86:11 NLT).
To be all the Creator desires us to be–to become a son or daughter who brings Him pleasure–we need to be two things: teachable and repentant. Only if we seek God’s teaching, will we BECOME who He desires. And only when we repent will our hearts be PURE once again–a clean slate for Him to work with.
Of course to “be” these things there is one thing we must DO. We must realize we (as the favorite song says) are weak, but He is strong. We seek Him, knowing His teachings will transform us and His cleaning will change us–from the inside out.