What was I missing?
I remember lying in bed reading a very brief devotional. I was around 25, married, and working full-time. After reading to check the box of “Christian responsibility” off my list for the day, I remember thinking if something needed to change when this came to my mind,
“Surely He wants more of me than that!”.
Even at that point in my life, when I didn’t know WHAT ELSE to do as a believer, I knew there had to be “more”.
God HAD to want more of me…..for me.
I had grown up in the church with a strong legacy of faith. Knowing the importance of regular church attendance and service to others, I was committed as much as I knew how. Even as I thought of the statement above, I wasn’t sure how to respond to it.Growing up in the church doesn't mean an automatic fulfilling faith as a byproduct. Click To Tweet
There is more!
One of the most wonderful aspects of God’s character is that ignorance doesn’t have to get in our way. What we don’t know, God will make clear to us if we choose to seek Him.
That question marked the beginning of what “more” God had in store for me (and everyone for that matter).
He taught me 3 ways this could be experienced. They are contingent upon each other and equally important for the end result to happen.
Reading Luke 8:4-15 MSG this morning reveals what happened in my life as a believer back then. It reinforces the mindset that pays off the most. This passage of Scripture details the choices presented to us and the importance of evaluating investments and priorities.
What I didn’t realize at the time was the untold fruit that would come to my life, just by adjusting to the 3 changes I felt God was calling me to make. These changes not only changed the course of my life, they changed ME!
What Jesus is teaching in the parable
In this passage about the sower, Jesus is teaching that we all have choices in how we respond to Him. As He explains the meaning of the parable, the seed is the Word of God. As it is sown, there are 4 responses typical of man.
First, there are those that may hear the Word of God, but they basically ignore it and make no use of it. It bears no fruit in their life.
Secondly, there are those who receive the Word with joy at first, but because they develop no root system, they only believe for a while. In the time of testing, when they must determine to give it up or continue, they give it up as a fad. It bears no fruit in their life.
Thirdly, there are those who hear the Word, but as they go on their way, they do not mature because they are distracted by life’s worries, riches, and pleasures. This was my problem in my mid-twenties. I gave God a little sliver of my life but the vast majority was mine to commit to other things I thought more important. I wanted just enough of God to be “saved” but not much more than that. This resulted in the lack of growth/fruit in my life. I had stagnated in my faith.
The fourth response is much different. This seed falls on a heart that is willing to listen and respond to it with the commitment it deserves. This produces fruit in the life of the believer, a BOUNTIFUL reward for all the time and effort given. It is worth noting that this is the only heart/response that does bear fruit according to Jesus.
What needed to change
In hindsight, God was calling me to the faith He intends for His children- wholehearted commitment. Where I was content to give Him only a small part of myself, He wanted it ALL, but with the knowledge that I would end up receiving back an untold harvest in so many areas.
There were 3 main changes in my life that needed to occur.
In regards to my time, wholehearted commitment requires more than just 5 minutes at night. God did not want to be a passing thought as I drifted off to sleep. I began to learn that He wanted time first thing in the morning. This was a challenge because I was not a morning person. I argued a bit over this one but eventually gave in and I’ve never looked back. This was a HUGE turning point in my faith and personal demeanor. I literally changed from the inside out as I submitted to this. Here is another post reflecting more about that time in my life and how it is possible to inwardly change.Little effort will bring little satisfaction in our faith. Wholehearted commitment leads to abundant life in Christ. Click To Tweet
Putting aside devotionals, as well as other books about Christianity, while picking up my Bible was a necessity if I wanted the abundant fruit displayed in my life. Too often I would read books ABOUT the Bible while neglecting the Word itself. My priorities needed to change fast! There is a time for other books but never at the expense of time needed in God’s Word.
Lastly, prayer needed to become intentional in my life and not haphazard. Too often I would shoot up quick prayers throughout the day but that was not what God had in mind. He wanted me to spend time on my knees, focused and deliberate as I came to Him. An organized prayer life flowing from what I was learning from His Word made tremendous changes in my life, in me actually.
How it multiplied into a harvest
I don’t know at what point it happened, but I began to see changes unfold. What I learned was that if I gave God half-hearted effort, the results were less than what I wanted. The more I gave Him in time and attention, the more I received a hundred-fold. 2 Corinthians 9:6 NIV explains it well.
Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously.
All I can say is that I am so much better off by giving God “more of me”. My family has benefitted from these changes in me as well. I am a better wife and mother because of prioritizing Christ in my life. The goals to be a better wife and mother, or even the fruit of the Holy Spirit, weren’t my priorities. Instead, it was seeking Christ Himself, with these things being the byproducts of that focus.
I cannot imagine how my life would be if I hadn’t made those 3 changes. The fruit is still producing changes in me year after year, in countless areas. There is no end to what God does in us as we fully cooperate with Him, following hard after the changes He wants us to incorporate into our lives. All I can say is that is was more than worth it!