Last week, Type-A-Anne-Marie typed out the titles of each lesson she was going to share with y’all in the next few weeks, but the two lessons (switching to first person) I’m sharing today were not on that list. Though it was a painful process of submitting to the minuscule/basically non-existent spontaneous side of me, I felt on many occasions the Spirit leading me to these two truths the past few days. So, to continue answering the “What did you learn this summer?” question…
3. God is not a vending machine.
The juniors at my church are currently going through a study called “Connecting the Dots,” which is a study focused on figuring out God’s will for our lives. How do we know? Why doesn’t He just tell us?
The entire morning my mind could not get away from the Seek process my church in Australia is going through. If you have not read any previous posts, the church, CBC, is simply wanting to grow together toward Jesus while coming to a better understanding of what God specifically wants from this body of believers. It is a re-visioning process for the church. While I was there, the church was meeting daily to pray together.
When Mark, the senior pastor, was first introducing this process to CBC, he quickly addressed a problem I believe all Christ-followers are often guilty of when praying. He said he did not want us coming together and treating God like a vending machine. We pray for vision. He gives vision. Everyone go home.
Since that sermon, which happened to be my first Sunday there, I have been consistently checking my motivation when coming to the Lord in prayer, whether during my quiet times in the mornings or random times throughout the day. Am I coming before the Lord to just get something?
Here are some fancy spiritual words, Lord.
Now may I have that happy feeling I need to start my day?
Can you just make this day run smoothly now?
We are in a relationship with Jesus, not a vending machine. We pray because we simply want more Jesus time. Time with Him transforms our hearts, and in that transformation, we learn to trust Him with the next steps and be content with where He has places us right now.
4. Don’t wait for reasons to be intentional.
Once I arrived home, I was finding the transition from Australia to the states more difficult than anticipated. Because I was on a trip completely paid for by friends, in a different country, away from school, and for only ten weeks, mission and purpose were evident and urgent.
After a few weeks of being back, I was wondering why I was feeling a little empty. What I found was now that I am home, there is significantly less pressure to be intentional in every conversation and situation I face. In a tear-filled come-to-Jesus moment, the Lord showed me my mindset had subconsciously changed with my location. Once He led me to that humbling revelation, I realized the importance of bringing that intentionality home with me and how I had let laziness set in.
God taught me so much about intentionality in conversation this summer. Knowing I only had two months with these new friends, the Lord quickly brought me out of my tendency to small talk my way out of deep, spiritual conversations. Though I could easily make a list of excuses as to why urgency was more important there than here, that would be my laziness and fear speaking.
When Paul boldly told Christ-followers to strain forward toward what lies ahead, and press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus, and to stand firm in one spirit with one mind striving side by side for the faith of the gospel, and to live a life worthy of the calling we have received, I don’t think this urgency and intentionality was location or time-limit specific. We are to be intentional and focused now. This is a huge and continuing lesson for me, and I am loving the way God is stretching my faith as His Spirit continues to press me forward.