I have an exercise I want you to do. Get out a sheet of paper and write the top 5 things you depend on daily. Be honest with yourself. No one is going to see this list but you. Take a minute.
Ok, what did you put on your list? Coffee, exercise, nutrition, naps, your job, your family, time alone, time with friends…? Did Jesus make the top 5 list? Honestly? I can truly say Jesus was not the first thing that popped in my head. And, I knew all along how this article was going to go!
So why do we love Jesus so much yet so often not put him first on our list? Why is it that sometimes a situation where we have to erase a thing from that top 5 list just to fit him in? Am I willing to sacrifice my exercise, my time with my friends, or just my mindless alone time in order to bring more of Jesus into my life?
The answer should always be yes. But sometimes (more often than not) we say no to Jesus so that we can have the simple pleasures in our lives that still, ultimately leave us empty. Feel bad enough about yourself yet? Good. Me too. Let’s unpack it.
I believe there are 3 major things in our daily lives that can keep us from depending on Him. Busyness, Laziness and Shamefulness.
Depending on Jesus daily: in our busyness
Hearing this is nothing new. We’ve all heard before that “If the devil doesn’t make you bad, he’ll make you busy”. When we get busy, whether it be at home or at work, we tend to stiff arm Jesus and say, “I got this”. As soon as that happens, Satan gets a toe in the door. Eventually it’s the whole foot, leg and then there he is, sitting on your shoulder telling you “you got this”. Well, you don’t “got this”. As a pastor’s wife, I feel like it happens to me a lot. Doing the Lord’s work, whether vocationally or voluntarily, you are the reason Satan still tries to win. Your kingdom work is the one thing that drives him crazy, thus keeping him on alert for those moments of vulnerability.
Busyness is not a bad thing…if you don’t let it be. Now laziness, that’s a bad thing. It’s a sin. Actually, it is a cardinal sin, or as others would call it, one of the seven deadly sins. But we will talk about that in a minute…
There is a fine line between healthy busy and unhealthy busy. Becoming a little less busy in order to spend time with the Lord will become exponentially more productive for you in all areas of your life. Read
Read Proverbs 16:1-9. Three verses stuck out to me the most:
Proverbs 16:1 says “The plans of the heart belong to man, but the answer of the tongue is from the Lord”. (ESV)
Proverbs 16:3 says “Commit your work to the Lord, and your plans will be established”. (ESV)
Proverbs 16:9 was the one that struck me the most. “The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps.” (ESV)
Do we trust God with our plans? Do we bring God into our plans knowing we can’t fail? I mean, the plan we execute may be a total failure. It might completely blow up in your face. But, have you ever failed at a plan and realized 5 years later that you actually didn’t fail at that plan at all? That things turned out so much better than if your plan had succeeded? If so, congratulations! You have personally experienced God’s complete sovereignty in your life. God had his hands all over your plan from the beginning and even before that.
When we “be still and know that I am God”, our plans ultimately will be what God had planned for us all along. Lean into that and lean into him. I’m not saying it always makes things easier or all of your questions will be answered, but it will change you and the way you handle your busyness. What comes out of your mouth will be more pleasing to the Lord because of what you are putting into your heart.
As believers, we are all called to commit our work and all aspects of our daily lives to the Lord. But how often do we try to do it all ourselves leaving us anxious, frustrated or worried? God cannot carry out the plan for your life with a disobedient, stubborn heart. It will always leave you empty and bitter.
God has given us the ability to live our lives, map out our futures, take care of ourselves and our loved ones. We often take this for granted. We fail to remember God knows our future and how it will unfold and has always known this. Our plans are God’s will, not ours. When we truly depend on Him for all of the areas in our lives, present and future, then we see so much more that he has for us. So much more that he wants for us and so much more that we don’t have control of. And that’s ok! God never intended for us to be in control of our lives. Because our lives are not our own! His desire is for us to be close to him. We are the vessel in which His plans can be fulfilled. We need daily closeness with him to fulfill that call. That is more important than any plan we will ever make.
Depending on Jesus: in our laziness
I can get lazy. It is a horrible habit that I have to be careful not to let take over. What makes you lazy? Netflix, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, Amazon…the list goes on. Do you know what doesn’t make you lazy? Jesus! That’s right. When you have Jesus in your daily life it is really hard to be lazy. I know that my habits of getting lazy are completely tied to my distance from Jesus. Whether it happened over time without me realizing it or whether I am going through a thing and purposefully distancing myself from him, it typically goes together. My healthy behaviors in my daily life are dependent on Jesus. I love my husband and kids better, I exercise and eat right, I am more involved in meaningful works like volunteering at church or local organizations. I can blame my laziness on my introvertedness, my enneagram (I’m a 6) because I am fearful of failure, blah blah blah. But the truth is my fear of failure decreases as my trust in Jesus increases. My daily dive into the word and studying Him more and more tends to melt the self-doubt and paralyzing fear away.
When my time with Jesus becomes less, my unhealthiness becomes more. We tend to fill those holes with things we think will do the job. Some of us may be harsher with our children, standoff-ish to our husbands, shut out our friends, or worse. Maybe those dark habits you’d never admit come out. Maybe you drink a little too much to fill those empty holes or find comfort in someone (in person or on a screen) you shouldn’t be. These are tough things to admit but so very common. You are not alone.
Jesus clearly communicates His thoughts on laziness through this parable. In fact, He was so angry at the third servant that He called him “wicked and lazy”. In the original Greek language, in which the New Testament was written, laziness is translated as wickedness.
Laziness begets sinfulness which eventually begets shamefulness.
Depending on Jesus: in our shamefulness
Most of us fall into one of the two previous categories typically because of our different personalities. You either (1) busy yourself out of a daily dependence on Jesus, or (2) you tend to lazy yourself out of it by increasing other unhealthy habits you can’t seem to stop on your own. It is a spiral downward and the further down, the harder it is to come back up.
All of us fall into this last category, shamefulness. Many things drive us to shame. It can be legitimate sin that you can’t forgive yourself for. It can be a self-deprecating behavior that you don’t know how to grasp. It can be a thing that someone from your past drilled into your head that you will never seem to be able to let go of. The first step is realizing God’s purpose for us is not to condemn us, but to take away our sins and to save us. “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” (Romans 8:1 (ESV))
Many of us don’t think about the difference between guilt and shame. They are indeed different. Guilt, according to the Oxford English Dictionary is “the feeling of having done wrong or failed in an obligation”. Shame is defined as “A painful feeling of humiliation or distress caused by the consciousness of wrong or foolish behavior.” Sometimes shame can be brought on by false beliefs of ourselves or by the memories of the false words that were put into your consciousness. Shame seems to be more self-inflicted. Guilt happens because you truly did something wrong, needing to atone for those sins. Shame is what you do with that guilt and how you let it control you.
The good news is just that…The Good News! The word of God tells us that! Romans 10:11 says “Everyone that believes in him will not be put to shame” (ESV). Jesus took our shame when he died on the cross for our sins. We can no longer look at ourselves and believe the lies of the enemy. We are his children and his children are blessed.
Psalm 32:5 says “I acknowledged my sin to you, and I did not cover my iniquity; I said, ‘I will confess my transgressions to the Lord, and you forgave the iniquity of my sin’ ” (ESV).
Guilt has a purpose. Its purpose is confession and repentance. There is no purpose in shame. It is a lie from the pit of hell that has no right to rule over us. Shame is an unhealthy guilt, holding on to what we deep down know has been cleansed by the blood of the lamb.
A daily walk with the Lord can only lead to a peace that passes all understanding. Understanding and acknowledging our busyness, laziness or shame is what brings us to a need for Jesus that we can get from nothing of this world. We need him and he longs for us. Without the daily closeness of Jesus, we allow Satan to get a foothold into the most vulnerable parts of our lives. We are not perfect. We all have those things that Satan prowls around and waits for.
Stay needy for Jesus. Stay true to his word. Remember you are valuable, and you should treat yourself as valuable. In your times of busyness, in your season of laziness and in your feelings of shamefulness depend on Jesus daily.
The Church of Eleven22, Worship Leader