Well, let me keep it real here; I got it...for a while. Then I FORgot it for a while. And, here I am about six months later, trying to get it again. You may remember that I mentioned this struggle more recently in this post, Catharsis, Part Two--Finally! In it, I said this:
How many times have I been here? I get it, then I forget it. But giving our firstfruits is insanely important. I say insanely, because we go insane a little if we don't. We create our own troubles when we fail to be obedient in this area. The firstfruits of time is just a hard lesson for me because I am not, and never have been, a morning person. But, I have gotten up and in the Word before the girls have awoken more days than not since last Sunday. This morning I lay there praying, "Lord, please help me get up." And, quick as that, I felt in my spirit, "Just get up!" Not mean or hateful, but strong. And I realized that I was doing it again. Looking around for help when it was already within me--that incomparably great power for us who believe. What did I want Him to do? Roll me out of bed? I mean, there are just some things that He expects us to do. Some things are OUR responsibility in our relationship with Him. If He was doing everything all the time to sustain our relationship, then it wouldn't be much of a relationship at all. He wants to know if we want Him.
In that same post, I mentioned the Sunday night Bible study I am in, Taking Responsibility for Your Life, by Andy Stanley. In last Sunday's video, Andy said that there are times for prayer, and there are times for action, and sometimes God asks us (as He asked Joshua in Joshua 7:10), "What are you doing down on your face? Stand up!" In other words, this is not time for prayer, it is time for action!
I felt so much conviction, and was awe-struck at how clearly the video echoed the words God had spoken to me just days before. It was obviously the exact same lesson God was teaching me when I was lying there in bed asking Him, in prayer, to help me get up and I very clearly felt Him say, "Just get UP!" or, "Stand up! This is not time for prayer; it is time for action. Take responsibility."
The homework for this study has us reading in Matthew 25 this week, particularly the parable of the master giving his talents to three servants. What do they do with them? Are they responsible with what they have been given?
Which has led me to the very painful questions of...
What talents have I been given? (time, resources, money, knowledge, abilities...)
Am I being responsible with them?
To the last question, I can already say, no. Not completely responsible.
I am thankful for this study bringing to light some areas that need my attention. Though chastisement is always painful, I know God corrects those He loves because He loves us too much to let us carry on in our sins. He is about redemption. And, as our teacher said in class last week, redemption comes through brokenness. Pain is part of the process. Therefore I will rejoice in my sufferings, because I know that suffering produces perseverance, character, and hope (Romans 5).
Let me now throw the ball in your court and ask you, as Andy Stanley asks us each week in his video...
"Are you taking responsibility for your life...really?"
If you would like to read some (painfully convicting and change-inspiring) commentary on Matthew 25, check out David Guzik's commentary at enduringword.com, specifically http://www.enduringword.com/commentaries/4025.htm.