Thursday, December 07, 2017

Cultivating a Heart of Slow During the Crazy of Christmas

Christmas is coming right up! We all have lists of things we want to get done and need to get done and how will it all get done? I hope this series will be that deep breath, the pause that refreshes, the quiet and slow side of Christmas. 


One of the things that emerged from my time of studying this word slow was an acronym that I want to share with you:

When we have a heart posture of slow before God, it starts in coming to Him with surrender

This is another word that may make us cringe, just the idea of letting go is hard. Yet it is also beautiful in keeping a soft heart before God and allowing Him to be at work within us. 

There are probably multiple versions for the sign language for surrender, but the one I learned is like this – holding a bucket in each hand and setting them down to lift my hands heavenward. God knows about whatever is in my bucket and He is still there caring about it – He just wants to know that first we are willing to be still before Him and come to Him with the things that burden us. 

A natural next step is to listen. We have surrendered our agendas and now we listen to the one thing that God  is laying on our hearts first - and as we are listening - we transition to a place of action. We obey. Obeying is our chance to respond to God - we've given Him ourselves and strained our ears to hear and now is the time to get moving. 

After obeying, we come to a place of worship. A gratefulness for the opportunity to serve, a beauty in the provision of time to do just exactly what God wanted us to do at that moment and often a multiplying of time to accomplish more because the posture of our hearts was soft and slow. 

This is really the process we walk through when we ask Jesus to come and live within us, right? For those of us who have received Christ, we came to a point of surrender – we needed to admit that we had a need and our need was for forgiveness and salvation from our own sin. We teach our children that sin is anything we think, say or do that doesn’t please God, right? And sin cannot exist with God, so God came up with this great plan that if we surrendered our sin, listened to His Word which says, “believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved.” {Acts 16:31} or the beloved John 3:16, “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son that whoever believes in Him will not perish but have everlasting life.”

We simply listen to God’s Word and we believe that it is for us, it is for now and it is for eternity. We ask Him to come and live in our hearts, to forgive us our sin and we acknowledge that we are placing our faith and trust in Him. Please notice that the action comes after the believing. Our obedience follows after we have listened. In this same way, we do not earn our salvation by good works – they are a natural overflow or by product of gratitude in what God has done in our lives and in who He is. We don’t obey every single command ever given all at one time all in the first days of this life change! As our pastor frequently says, “Obey what you know.” As God shows you something in His Word and/or opens your eyes – start there and obey for today. 

And we worship Him, we purpose to spend the days we are given with Christ as Lord in our hearts and lives. We know our place before Him and we honor Him for that.  When we live out who God made us to be we are living a life of worship, when we live for His glory and not our own we are living a life of worship, when we encourage a friend and point her to Christ we are living a life of worship and when we pull these little children He has given to us into our arms and point them to Him – we are doing holy work that worships our Lord.


Today I want us to look at these four words in light of a very special woman and the season of the year that is upon us. 

Just like her, we are women, we are mothers, we have the voices of others around us some of which we will want and need to embrace and some of which we will need to close out and ignore. Just like her, we have circumstances thrust upon us that are less than ideal, we have busy from the world around that we will have to learn how to temper with slow. We want to follow God and we have a desire to do what is right.

Will you join me in looking at the life of Mary in Luke chapter 1? Read verse 26-56.

Isn’t that a beautiful picture of a slow heart? 

What was Mary planning to do the day the angel came to her? What plans were interrupted by the announcement? Her wedding plans changed for sure. And while we don’t know every thought of Mary’s heart, the view God has given us of her is so at peace, so willing, so humble. 

Tomorrow we'll look at what we can learn from Mary's heart of slow!

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