Psalm 51: 10

Create in me a clean heart, God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.

I have been taken by Psalm 51 this week. It seems every word is speaking to me. Today’s verse, taken in context is about restoration from a fall. David sinned and the guilt of it weighed upon him. He seemed to think He needed God to create a new, clean heart within him.

I think we can also view this passage more broadly and that is the way it has affected me. What I hear in this, rather than a washing because of sin, is a remaking in His image. I feel like we all encounter those days when we sense the need for a reworking of our hearts. That doesn’t have to mean anything is wrong with us but rather that our desire to commune with the Lord has increased and that increase is beyond our current boundaries. Our hearts call us forward. They sometimes launch us out into the deep where we are at once overwhelmed but then almost immediately comforted by His presence. It is the being in over our heads which is often the most comfortable place to be because we are fully reliant on Him. There is no illusion that we are able to care for ourselves or to do what He has called us to do. While that may initially be alarming, ultimately it is the place of greatest ease. It is where our hearts long to be.

In our heart of hearts, the deep place of our being, we long to be in over our heads with God. Our spirits ride on the waves of His support. While this can be frightening to our worldly self, our spirits crave the adventure. We want to run and jump into the water which is far over our heads. Then we marvel as the Lord holds our hand and leads us, walking on the water, to the far shore.

Renew us Father, so that the desire for you is all encompassing. Revive the zeal within us which once sustained us. Show us your glory and be with us all.

Inspiration vs. Perspiration

John 14: 10

Do you not believe that I am in the Father, and the Father in Me? The words that I say to you I do not speak on My own initiative, but the Father abiding in Me does His works.

This is a great word for ministers but truly Jesus modeled life for us all. He is our example. Therefore, we can take inspiration from this message from the Lord.

One day, when I was a bit over-taxed with duties and responsibilities, it occurred to me that I could work through inspiration or perspiration. Well of course, I was working hard. I was sweating the deadlines, burdens and responsibilities. I was in my strength instead of Jesus’. You see, he has created a model by which we work, accomplish, rest, serve him and honor him all at the same time. When we yield our heavy burdens to the Lord, allowing him to carry the load, he is honored. We have also preached the word by our very actions because we have communicated a reproducible model. People can appreciate that we accomplish through Jesus’ labor and wisdom and perhaps recognize that since they have the same access to Jesus as do we, that they can do the same thing. 

Whatsmore, we are only doing what Jesus did. We model him. Jesus said he did nothing of his own initiative (John 8: 28). God was the one performing the works. He supplied Jesus with the words to speak. The Father directed Jesus steps. He navigated him to the town or village which was right for the time. Imagine how much easier our lives would be if we could learn to follow God’s voice within us the way Jesus did.

You know, there is an easy way and a hard way to do everything. When possible, let’s do things the easy way. I choose to live by inspiration rather than perspiration. How about you?

Matthew 11: 29 – 30

Take My yoke upon you, and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart; and you shall find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy, and My load is light.

Here is a bit of familiar scripture but I want you to play a visualization game with me today. Picture two oxen yoked together and pulling a heavy wagon. You can see in your mind’s eye each of them pulling equally against the yoke. Now picture, if you will, Jesus standing with a yoke over his shoulders and no one standing in the other half of the yoke. You can hear him saying, “Come, be yoked with me. I will make your burden light.” Well, of course your burden is light when you are yoked with Jesus. He does all of the pulling and we just walk along beside him. That is how it is meant to be.

Jesus calls us to take our heavy burdens and throw them in the wagon. Then he takes up the yoke and begins to pull the cart. If you observe him, though, you will see that the wagon isn’t even heavy to him. He can pull it with ease. If you take that burden onto your shoulders, though, you find it much too heavy to bear. Jesus is telling us that he wants to be our partner in all things. He wants us to be yoked together so that he can help us carry the load. Take note that you are not sitting in the wagon while Jesus does all of the work. We walk side by side with our Lord. We have our little part to do but he does all of the hard part.

Don’t miss that he says that he is gentle and humble. Why does he say that in the midst of this talk of yokes? He tells us to learn from him. He will teach us. He will lead us into all truth. He will direct our paths always steering us in the right courses and if we begin to go astray he will correct our path. He is the lead ox, if you will allow me that analogy, and we follow where he leads. At all times while he is teaching us, leading us and even correcting he is always gentle and humble. Isn’t that good news?

I really like this imagery because we learn that all we have to do is walk. Jesus’ yoke is light, not really even noticeable as it sits on us. You begin to realize that you can do all things through this tandem pairing. You are never alone. He is with you every single step making sure that you never have a misstep. You come to Jesus with all your baggage, all your concerns and woes, and with all of your responsibilities, goals and dreams. He relieves you of all that weight taking it on to his shoulders and you are free.

Take ahold of this image today. Understand that you never have to walk alone. If you are tired and weary, take all of those burdens to the Lord and slip into the harness with him. You will receive rest and grace.