Too Little, Too Much (ATP)
Sometimes I get overwhelmed with all these things I feel I need to do – Things like: Ok I need to pray an hour every day, I need to also read the word and study the Bible and I also need to spend time in worship and if I don’t do one or another- One of these areas I can’t be effective in. All these things I feel I need to check off get overwhelming and then I shut down and I do none of them except prayer and not for an hour.
It’s amazing to me as I consider the life of Jesus, that He did all He was here to accomplish and really in only 3 1/2 years! Sometimes I think I don’t have a enough time to brush my teeth properly! (I do)
Often when people who are really hungry for God, sit and hear instruction, they get overwhelmed just like you. I have and do myself. I’ve been in services before where I am getting so much that I stop taking notes and think, I can’t possibly retain anymore. My yard in the spring reminds me of this. Though we live on top of a hill, in the spring there is so much water that it ends up sitting in puddles on top of the lawn. It’s because it’s over-saturated and can’t receive all there is. Now that water is well needed for the growing season, however too much at one time cannot permeate the soil. When we desperately want to be in God’s will, we do this. We oversaturate ourselves with all that good instruction and find ourselves drowning in what we can’t absorb.
If you try and live perfect, you will soon learn you fall short. And that is because it is you who are trying. God allows us to see our weaknesses, not to make us feel bad or to punish us, but to remind us of our total and utter reliance, and need for Him. Recently while feeling overburdened with all I have to do , I sought the Lord for scripture. I said, “God, give me scripture to see myself with.” I needed reminded of some things. He led me to 2 Corinthians 12:9. “And He said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.”
What we have to keep in mind is that the Lord will not overburden us. (Meditate on Matthew 11:28-30.) What God desires is a relationship with us. We have to remember to keep that in proper order. I like to start with how I maintain healthy relationships with people and then I use that to build one with my Heavenly Father. If there are other things we need to do, He will show us as we look to Him.
The first thing we do is make Word time a regular thing. Without a foundation of the Word, all these other things will fall apart. I want to repeat that because the Word should be the first and foremost thing in a believer’s life. This is part of the importance of the local church. God gives us direction for our lives every time we meet. I tell people, don’t worry about reading the whole Bible this week. Start with what is taught on Sundays. I have never been surprised that when people start missing excessive times of church, their lives start breaking. I am aware if I miss one week, which is why I make sure I hardly ever do.
If your were in school and knew there was going to be a test, you would take the things taught in class and study those intently. It’s so funny to me that Christians don’t realize the importance of that in Church. If you’re in the right church, God will use the pulpit to prepare you for your life. Take what is taught and meditate on it throughout the week. That doesn’t mean you can’t get into more, but do that if you have time. Starting here will be a good jumping off point and will not overburden you. When the Word is mixed with revelation (from preaching and teaching), it will bring you into a greater understanding of Him, and thus that relationship will grow.
We need also to look at instruction right. With a vehicle there are a lot of different things you can do. You rarely however do them all at once. When I need to go forward I use that knowledge. When I need to go backward, I use that knowledge. If I need four-wheel drive, still again, different knowledge. They may be similar in usage but there are differences. I use what is needed when it is needed. The same thing goes with the things of God. The Word, church, prayer, praise, worship, all these things build our relationship with God, you just use what you need to in the time it’s needed.
When it comes to prayer, I have a few things to say. The Bible never instructs us on specific amounts we should pray other than to pray always. Praying always means that it should be a common part of everyday, but we have to know prayer doesn’t always look like you are on your knees with folded hands. Sometimes it is as you go, as you drive to, walk into or around Walmart, for example. I know it is preached in our circles that you should strive for an hour a day, but the Bible simply does not tell us to do this. You have to remember that when something is preached, examples are given to encourage us up higher but that does not necessarily mean it’s a hard and fast rule. The heart of what is being preached is, pray more! Make it important! We must also understand that praise and worship are also forms of prayer. If we spend time with God, He will show us what is needed.
We also need to know this, sometimes we do need to give up to go up. If we are honest with ourselves, there are times we could do better. Maybe the kids can’t be in every sport. Maybe you can’t watch four hours of TV, maybe only three. We have to look to our own lives to know which areas we can do better in without being overburdened by guilt. Remember even Jesus took time away from work to rest. Vacations and down days are Godly. Also, keep our lives before the Lord and ask Him to reveal areas we need to do better in.
Jesus was balanced and if we relax, trust Him, and heed His Word, we will find balance for our lives. Don’t try to drive forward and backward at the same time. Relax, follow His Word the best you can, pray and seek Him and God will work all you need when you need it. Then we will be effective and truly enjoy the presence of our Father!