I struggle, Lord, and get distracted by the world sometimes,
but I also get distracted by Christian culture and expectations.
There are so many voices.
Some say we must focus on evangelism or missions. Some stress discipleship and disciplines in order to grow.
Others urge us to devote our energy to serving youth, or the elderly, or the homeless.
All of them tell us You have a plan and purpose for each individual life and it’s our obligation to search for
and fulfill it, especially within the church walls.
Whether it’s teaching a class, working in the nursery, or being on a committee,
it’s our duty/privilege to pull our weight and do God’s will.
Of course, there are also the voices that remind us to read our Bibles and pray daily,
and really good Christians will do this first thing in the morning.
We must be devoted to our families, our church, our spiritual “camp” if you will,
and remain pure from the world.
And we’re supposed to bear fruit, usually characterized as being productive,
seeing results, saving souls, righting wrongs.
That’s a lot of stuff.
And every voice can back it all up with scripture.
And to do all those things with the devotion that is asked leaves no space.
It distracts me, actually, from You.
The life I call you to, My child, is not that complicated. My will for your life is blessedly simple. I do call some individuals into specific ministries, occupations, or locations that place them in a focused direction for My purpose and will to be done. They are equipped and invigorated in that work because it is My will for them.
For most others, serving Me has more to do with who they are than what they do. My purpose for every life is that each one be filled with My Spirit and be a channel of My love and grace to those around them. That purpose is to be lived out no matter where each one may live or work. Both the young and the old are called. The poor and the rich have the same access to Me and can allow Me to work through them. My life will show itself in different ways in each person, but will always be true to My nature.
Fruit will be borne, but that is not your concern. It may rarely look like you expected, because you often fail to identify it correctly. You look for productivity, results, and impact. But the fruit of My Spirit, the product of My life in you is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.
My fruit is not measured by money raised, projects built, programs started, classes taught, crowds won over, or people in the pews. It is measured by the increase of your peace when under stress. It is measured by your willingness to put the needs of others before your own rights. It is measured by your forgiveness of repeated wrongs. It is measured by your patience with another unreasonable demand from that unreasonable person. It is measured by your gentleness with the heart of another person when you do not know what they are struggling with. It is measured by your joy in the face of loneliness, loss, and care. It is measured by your humble dependence on Me, because you know you cannot produce any of this fruit apart from Me.
So take a rest from all the other voices. Turn them off. Tune them out. Hear Me. Your days may be filled with children, work, travel, phone calls, interruptions, meals, laundry, noise, chaos, bills, and cares until you fall exhausted into bed each night. Or your days may be filled with silence, illness, seeing the same walls, hoping for a little light and cheer before the next day is the same. Wherever you fall in that range, I am with you. Every moment of your chaos and every moment of your silence is full of My presence. And I will work out My purpose and increase the fruitfulness of your life as you abide in Me.
“Come to Me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.
Take My yoke upon you.
Let Me teach you, because I am humble and gentle, and you will find rest for your souls.
For My yoke fits perfectly, and the burden I give you is light.”
Matthew 11:28-30 NLT