*Grace Church member and Grace Group Director, Rachel Caldwell, is the guest blogger for this week
As I was working through a Bible study that I’ve been doing this year, I encountered a question that stopped me in my tracks. The question read…
Think about the spiritual messages you take in through media, live speakers, and face-to-face discussions. Ask God to help you test the spiritual content of these messages. Do they line up with God’s Word and put Jesus in His rightful place? Do you need to make any changes?
This question took me back to a decision I had made about one year prior and it brought clarity to how God was and is working in my heart helping me to see more clearly the way he convicted me, prepared me and is sustaining me.
I sat down at my kitchen table with my Bible on a weekday morning as I do most days. I had my Bible, my coffee and my phone – the 3 most important tools to get the day started. Something drew me to pick up my phone before I opened my Bible and the next thing I knew, I heard little feet coming down the stairs. I blew it – 25 minutes had passed in what seemed like 2 minutes and I had spent the only “quiet” time I would have in the day scrolling through Facebook. I chose social media over Jesus, clearly not putting Jesus in his rightful place.
I want to pause to say that this is not a condemnation or judgement of social media or of how and when you use it, but rather an encouragement to consider what myriad of things may be causing us to unintentionally displace Jesus from his rightful place.
My son came around the corner into the kitchen with the brightest morning smile – my favorite moment of every day. But on this particular morning it frustrated me, not because of anything he did, of course, but because it now meant that my quite time was over and, I likely would not have another chance in the day to sit down with God’s Word. I blew it.
This wasn’t the first time I’ve blown it. I can recall many other times where I sat down to spend time with God and got wrapped up in something else – the dirty dishes in the sink or the phone call I’ve been dreading to make or the button on the shirt that I’ve been meaning to repair. Often times I’m easily distracted from what’s most important but, I can’t recall that same feeling of frustration that came with this particular morning. It was different. I was quickly convicted of my sin. And, I knew that something needed to change.
Facebook had to go. Again, not because it’s all bad but, for me, because I allowed it to chew up my time and fill my mind with things that were not substantive or edifying. This was a firm thought. I was convicted. Can you guess what my next thought was…
Well my birthday is just a few days away. Maybe I’ll wait until after my birthday to cancel my account so I don’t miss any of the birthday wishes I may receive. What?!?! One sin was spiraling into another. And, at that moment, I knew exactly what needed to change.
I did cancel my FB account right then and there but, what really needed to change was that I needed to begin to eliminate the myriad of things in my life that were causing me to displace Jesus from his rightful place. FB was just a starting point.
I’m reminded of the song “Be careful little eyes what you see..”. It’s a reminder I give my son often to help him understand that his choices have consequences and often the consequences we bear are unseen. So, if this is a charge that I give my son, how much more then should I as his mother be intentional about what I’m consuming and the consequences of it.
Matthew 6:22-23 says “The eye is the lamp of the body. If your eyes are healthy, your whole body will be full of light. But if your eyes are unhealthy, your whole body will be full of darkness.”
After canceling my FB account, I also decided that in general, I needed to put my phone down. Yes, it’s a very useful and helpful tool for many reasons. It holds thousands of pictures chronicling our daily life as a family, it’s the Encyclopedia Britannica on steroids providing answers to my son’s endless questions, it allows us to video chat with our families that are hundreds and thousands of miles away – it is indeed useful. However, like all good things, I needed to hold it in moderation.
Romans 12:2 tells us “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.”
With these small changes, I began to feel a sense of freedom wash over me. My time was redeemed – I was more productive and I was keeping up with things that were previously falling behind. And, best of all, my morning quiet time became more consistent, substantive and edifying. Slowly but surely Jesus was being restored to his rightful place. The more I put Jesus in his rightful place, the fuller my heart became.
As many of you know, our infertility journey created a hole in my heart. God answered our deepest prayer with the gift of our son Jack – immeasurably more than all we asked or imagined (Ephesians 3:20). And, while we thank God for him every day, I was still left with a longing desire for more children. As this new season blossomed and began to take root, little by little the burden was released, little by little the hole in my heart began to close – to be filled by the one and only thing that could truly fill it, Jesus. By my feeble attempt to restore Jesus to his rightful place, I believe God lavished his grace and mercy on me quietly filling the hole in my heart.
And, what I know now is that not only was God gracious and merciful to fill the hole, the gift was twofold as it served as a preparation for the season at hand. Now more than ever before, I have become grounded in his Word. My husband and I together are facing some challenges but, the Word of the Lord is faithful, enduring forever and it alone is carrying me through.
Isaiah 46:4 says, “Even to your old age and gray hairs I am he, I am he who will sustain you. I have made you and I will carry you; I will sustain you and I will rescue you.”
So I ask myself daily – Is Jesus in his rightful place? Do I need to make any changes?
How about you?