First obey, perform the external work, renounce your
attachments, give up the obstacles which separate you
from the will of God. Do not say you have not got faith.
You will not have it so long as you persist in
disobedience and refuse to take the first step.
D. Bonhoeffer
I had done it wrong for so long, in a way consistent, I suspect, with other believers. I began with this premise: I know I am saved, I know God is in my life, I know I am forgiven. So, where is God? Why do I not sense His presence?
So, my books reflected the thoughts of my heart – marriage books, child-rearing books, prayer books, any number of glorified Christian self-help books. Brad’s theology? Not interesting. Not exciting. Certainly not relevant. I have ISSUES to deal with here. But….my books… they were not working. There is no way to manufacture the working of the Holy Spirit in our hearts. And therefore no way to manufacture agape, peace, joy, patience…. the fruit, the gifts. It was only as I picked up Spurgeon… Piper… Lewis…. Bonhoeffer that I began to discover God.
And wonder of wonders! The peace of God, which surpasses all understanding IS guarding my heart and my mind in Christ Jesus! (Philippians 4:7) With the knowledge of God, and finding the beauty of Him on the pages of those who thrived on His presence, all of the things I was trying to make happen on my own were starting to happen without effort.
I supposed the Holy Spirit’s presence might mean thinking about God more, praying more, the desire to serve Him more. I did not expect to find joy in the mundane. When God commanded me to “do everything with out complaining or grumbling” I thought I was responsible for that. Not so much as I thought. A bi-product! I never made a conscious decision to love laundry, to delight in keeping my house cleaner. It is just happening. I have tried to be more joyful in the past when I parent, but when my heart is directed to God, I can not help but stand in awe, and revel at the beauty and creativity of my children. I want to wrestle on the floor with them, and hide in the closet, and have yelling matches – just to see their delight!
Oh – the freedom in knowing that when I look to God, and pursue my joy in Him; my joy for work, my children, my husband increases exponentially! So, I rest in the truth of taking up my cross, of getting out of my mud puddle, of obeying even when it feels insincere to begin with… and finding God will prove faithful to complete the good work He has begun in me!!!

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