“But strive first for the
~Matthew 6:33 (NRSV).
We’re probably destined to continually struggle to achieve this, but striving for truth—as it appends to our lives—is crucial.
I had a time recently enough where I was—in reflection—always in two minds. It was so difficult to discern which way was the best way to go. I went the way that I thought at the time was the way of my heart. Later it was revealed to me, as I reflected, that I indeed did not have a heart passionate enough for this particular venture. As it happened God did not allow me there in any event. Even though it hurt perhaps a great deal it was for my benefit that I did not achieve what was purposed in the designs of my poorly advised mind or covetous heart.
Prepare the Mind – the Heart Will Follow
Oswald Chambers ventures into a theory so far as Moses’ forty years in the wilderness is concerned. At first, Moses is all too willing to stand in the gap for his fellow Hebrews—he perhaps thrust himself before the Lord to this end. “I am ready for this, Lord,” is perhaps what he’s saying.
God knew better.
Instead of granting Moses’ perhaps premature wish, the Lord saw fit to test Moses in the field of real life to form within him the humility required for such godly tasks.
And Moses, of course, proved faithful—so much even to the extent that he is found thinking of himself totally unworthy, even incapable, of the task; the divinely-appointed and anointed intercessor for the people of God.
It may have taken those forty years for Moses’ heart to genuinely become ready. God’s patience in this is marvellous.
God Delivers Us When Our Hearts Are Ready
The distance to the centre of our hearts is incredibly long. This of other devices is the journey to godly sincerity. God asks, “Do you really want this thing?” and secondarily, “Are you ready (really ready) for this thing?”
Our answer is always an impatient, “YES!”
God knows better—always. We cannot manufacture passion or godly commitment at a heart level. We think we can and we’re fooled to think this. God knows better—always.
Not one to betray us of every opportunity to learn all our predestined lessons in life, God’s graceful patience is astounding. For each time we approach the throne of grace prematurely, regarding the actual desires of our hearts, God is using them to refine us. Our learning is ever more solidified by these events, even though we find them untenably frustrating.
“We have to learn that our individual effort for God is an impertinence; our individuality is to be rendered incandescent by a personal relationship to God.”
Where there is even a shred of “effort” added to our service for God we will prove ourselves immature for the very thing we add the effort to.
Our efforts are then to be ‘burned off’ and made incandescent in the light of our most fervent relationship to the Son, our Lord Jesus.
Then, and only then, are we truly ready to conquer this new world in Jesus’ name.
So, let us embark on this journey all the more! God is wholly faithful in this.
© 2010 S. J. Wickham.
Acknowledgement: Oswald Chambers, My Utmost for His Highest (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Discovery House Publishers, 1935, 1993), p. October 13.