So glad now to be home! I've actually been home for more than an hour but only now I'm sitting down to write. I spent 2 hours this morning riding route 3, to and from St. Paul, getting a good look at what I'll be driving on Christmas Eve.* It wasn't required but I know I'll feel more comfortable, and be more able to focus on serving customers, with that extra look. Next Thursday I'll be officially trained on that route, and now that I've seen the work up close, I'll plan to drive it myself, with the instructor riding. I should be well prepared for that day's work.The following paragraph was started last night too. I was reflecting on the "extra" work I was happy to do, and the "extra" I'm often glad to do in other areas of life, and was considering where that joy comes from. I finished the following paragraph just now.
In 1980 something happened in my life that gave me energy and drive to do my best in what I believe God is calling me to do. There was a moment of surrender and then a time of saying "yes" to Jesus, telling him that he could have his way in my life. That encounter with Holy Spirit has continued ever since. Life is exciting and there is never a time of boredom. There are moments when I'm tired or lack energy, there have been huge hurdles and times of deep pain, but the general direction and a very high proportion of time every day of my life is driven by such joy and purpose... driven by Someone beyond myself, by God the Father, God the Son, God the Holy Spirit, Someone big and exciting and more challenging every day. I want all my friends and acquaintances and family members to experience this too.As I was reflecting on this last night I was thinking about the way I see some Christian believers wasting their time on things that seem to be less than God's best. I rarely say anything because I know I'm not the one to judge. But inside I am very judgmental. (The words "wasting their time" show that, don't they!) And, worse, I get annoyed and bothered when I feel like I need to participate in other people's less than spiritual interests and activities. I can generally reinterpret those activities to find joy in them, but the truth remains that I'd sometimes like to leave and get on to something more important.
That which God has placed in me reaches to every aspect of my life. And because there's nothing in my life that He doesn't touch, I expect to see the fruit of that in the lives of other believers too. There is nothing outside His influence in me, and I expect that He would be the same way in the lives of others.
Is all that the Holy Spirit too? Or is that sinful judgmental-ism... just me wishing I could make everyone like myself?
This is, truly, a spiritual confession, and I ask for your counsel and prayers, so that I might rightly understand what are the ways of God in me, and what are just my own opinions and feelings. I don't want to be a burden to others -- unless that's what God is calling me to do.
The above was written before I went to bed (quite early) on Saturday night.
Now, at 1:42 AM, after having woken up, I read the following from yesterday's My Utmost for His Highest:
" ... most of us are much more severe in our judgment of others than we are in judging ourselves. We make excuses for things in ourselves, while we condemn things in the lives of others simply because we are not naturally inclined to do them."This, it seems, is just about as clear an answer as I could ask for. I asked for counsel and prayers and voilà, there it is. There are things that I'm not "naturally inclined" toward. I see these things in others and I become inwardly critical. Spiritual pride is an awful thing.
To repeat, there are many things I'm not "naturally inclined" toward. I live a privileged life. And, as the Lord said to Peter when he asked about another disciple, my concern should be to follow Jesus, not to focus on how He (the Lord) is working on others! (In John 21:20-23 notice how Peter gets off track when he turns and looks at the other disciple instead of keeping his focus on Jesus.)
Now I ask your prayers again. As Oswald Chambers says just before the part quoted above:
"Every Christian can have his body under absolute control for God. God has given us the responsibility to rule over all 'the temple of the Holy Spirit,' including our thoughts and desires (1 Corinthians 6:19)."Pray for me that I would never stand in the place of God in anyone else's life, and that I would focus on God's Word and all that God has done toward me, and reject that awful critical spirit. It is indeed in the realm of thoughts and desires that my Lord is working on--in me.**
I think God wanted to wake me up to teach me that, again... (yes, again because he's taught me that before)... Thank you, Father, Son, Holy Spirit, your ways are perfect and I know that very well.
*Christmas Eve is a "reduced service" day, and because we can't all drive our regular routes we're given different work.
**Interesting that science in these days is teaching us that the brain is indeed a physical organ and that our thoughts and desires come so clearly (and often) from that physical realm. Think of that when you read 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 again.