Victory in the Mess

VictoryinthemessThis year, I’ve noticed that my mornings have developed a hurried routine, a result of hitting snooze one too many times. I roll out of bed thinking through all the mornings to do’s: take out the trash on the way to work, grab my lunch from the fridge, double check that the 9 am meeting notes were in my bag, make coffee, read the Bible while consuming coffee, and on the list went… In the hustle and bustle of my day, a quiet time in the Word became just another item on my morning ‘to-do’ list.

Recently, however, circumstances in my life have escalated into difficult, sometimes painful messes. In desperation, I turn to Jesus for wisdom, comfort, answers, and sanity. And as I devoted unregulated time to Jesus, I notice that my witness was stronger, my attitude was more Christlike, my actions more loving, and my reactions more full of grace. All of that, a result of simply … being with Jesus? Imagine that!

Often, we roll out of bed into messy lives and completely oblivious to the battle being fought over our day. We are preoccupied with getting to work on time, getting the kids out the door to school, feeding the dog, applying mascara … and we forget that we are in the middle of a spiritual battle. And that the only weapon we have is our Savior and His Word.

And so it matters if I stop to spend time in the Word. It matters if I pray. It matters if I make time to memorize scripture. It matters if I participate in the body of Christ. It matters if I give Jesus priority in the mess of my day.

Why  It Matters

1. It matters because our time with Jesus is how He receives glory.

He receives glory from our worship. We were created to worship (Col. 1:16) But how can we worship what we do not know? And how can we know our God if we do not spend time with Him, talking with Him, listening to His word and learning from His children? Time with Jesus IS our act of worship (Rom. 12:1), it produces worship and it encourages others to worship. And that is how Jesus is glorified. “Ascribe to the Lord, O families of the peoples, ascribe to the Lord glory and strength! Ascribe to the Lord the glory due his name… Worship the Lord in the splendor of holiness.” Psalm 96:4-9

2. It matters because that is how we live a life of victory.

Due to the recent uncomfortable change in my circumstances and subsequent time spent with the Lord, I learned once again the difference between living a victorious life and giving life victory over me. Even though I was far more emotional than normal, my days were characterized by abundant joy, peace in the midst of chaos, faith in what God was (and is) working for my good, and a love for people that normally annoy me. It was incredible. The circumstances of my life didn’t mandate  my happiness. The demands of my day didn’t determine my time with Jesus. I needed Him, so I made time. And in return, I lived in victory! It is absolutely true what John says, “For everyone who has been born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith.” (1 John 5:4)

3. It matters because that is how others encounter Jesus in us.

It’s not scripted conversations or a pretend perfect Christian facade that witnesses to the lost and encourages the believer. It’s what comes out of our mouth in a hurried moment, how we respond to painful circumstances and how we react when disappointed. If we are breathing Jesus in, then He will be what comes out. As it says in Matthew, “For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.” (Matt. 12:34-35) Our calling, our purpose – the reason we were created – is to bring God glory, because that is what is the absolute best for us and for those around us. “In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.” Matt. 5:16

Making Victory Practical

In a busy world of messy lives, how can we continually make time to incorporate the spiritual disciplines into our day? Because the ‘to-do’ list still has to get done. The children, the dog or the roommate still have to get fed. The garbage still needs to go out…. How do we give Jesus priority among the demands of daily life? How do we keep our Savior from becoming one we more thing we need to check off the list?

  • Use the time on the treadmill to listen to worship music and pray, instead of checking out to the latest talk show
  • Exchange some of your pinterest time for encouraging blogs from other believers
  • While the baby is napping or you’re waiting to pick up your children from school, take a few minutes to meditate on God’s Word, spend time in prayer or listen to worship music
  • Fill your twitter feed with scriptures, quotes and pastors, instead of just news and celebrity gossip
  • Turn off the TV during dinner and talk with your spouse what God is doing in your lives and what God has been saying to you during your quiet times

Victory isn’t a result of doing all of these suggestions all of the time, it comes time with Jesus. Maybe a couple of these suggestions resonate with your life and schedule. Maybe they’ve sparked an idea for something that could work to keep Jesus a priority for you. Whatever works for Jesus to be a priority so that you can experience victory in the mess.

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