Sundays are hard days for my family. It seems as though we are always late, no matter how much I plan and prepare the night before. I’m usually still dropping the kids off to their various classes when the service starts. We did get to Church earlier this past Sunday, but I still missed the beginning of the service. I’ve come to accept the way things are and just make the best of it. In my rush to make it to Church, I’m always frazzled when we arrive, and it takes me a little while to calm down once everyone is in their classes. When I’m seated next to my husband and finally breathing calmly, I find myself looking around the Church at who else is there, what they are wearing, and how they are responding to the music. I stopped myself at the last service and prayed for God to help me to remember that Church is all about Him, not me, not anyone else who happens to be there. I was so glad that I refocused myself. We had communion after the singing and I had already refocused myself on the Lord Jesus. Next, one of the pastors got up to preach, and his message has stayed with me all week.
2 Timothy 2:1-7 is the passage that Steve Carter preached from on this particular morning:
You then, my child, be strengthened by the grace that is in Christ Jesus, and what you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses entrust to faithful men who will be able to teach others also. Share in suffering as a good soldier of Christ Jesus. No soldier gets entangled in civilian pursuits, since his aim is to please the one who enlisted him. An athlete is not crowned unless he competes according to the rules. It is the hard-working farmer who ought to have the first share of the crops. Think over what I say, for the Lord will give you understanding in everything.
He then asked us who or what is the commanding officer in our life. He said that we probably have many, such as Shame, Fear, Ourselves, our Boss, Money, Physical Attraction and God. He asked us what the “play book” is for each of these “commanders.” He then asked what the harvest would be when we followed each “commander.” Other than God, each one brought forth a harvest of disappointment at the end of a person’s life. God as the “commanding officer” coupled with the Bible as the “play book” will bring forth a harvest of people. And people are the only things you can take with you into the next life.
The next part is what really stood out to me. And I believe it speaks to the reality of where many Christians are today. If you couple the wrong “commanding officer” with the right “play book,” the Bible, then you will still reap a wrong harvest! For example, if Shame or Fear are ruling your life, and you try to read the Bible and follow what it says, you are going to read fear and shame into the Bible and reap discouragement and defeat. That was so powerful to me! I have lived that way. All week I have been looking at my reactions to the circumstances I face and asking myself, “Am I listening to God as I make decisions, or am I letting fear or shame tell me how I should respond?” This line of thinking has helped me to keep a better attitude and keep my eyes on Jesus.
I am so thankful for men who have devoted their lives to the studying the Bible and sharing the messages that God gives them. But most of all, I’m thankful for God’s love and mercy. He never gives up on me, and He is always willing to step into the “control room” of my life and clean up the messes I make when I invite Him.