Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. Do not cast me from your presence or take your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me. Psalm 51:10-12
We trust a God who allows hurt; but Who also uses that hurt for good. There are three times I see the voice of the Father thundering from heaven during Jesus ministry
– at Jesus’ baptism at the beginning of His ministry, submitting to the plan, His death on the cross and Resurrection to save all humanity (Matt. 3:17)
– on the mount of Transfiguration (mid ministry) where He is talking to Moses and Elijah about His departure (Luke 9:35)
– and then at the end of His ministry right after His triumphal entry when He is predicting His death. (John 12:28-29)
Each time is around His devotion to the plan of the cross, maybe we will be most inclined to hear His voice when we are picking up our own cross in devotion to Him.
There is no better example to follow then Jesus when it comes to doing the hard thing. Trust. “Trading our will for Thy will because we know He will.” Luke 12:50 But I have a baptism to undergo, and how distressed I am until it is completed! (I love when there is an exclamation point in Scripture because I often feel like there should be one on the end of most of the sentences I read in there, so when there actually is one I get even more excited because I know God’s feelin’ it too!) That verse is from the NIV but other versions list the word striatened or consumed in place of distressed. The idea is that He was driven, focused, fully and completely devoted to the mission, to saving yours and my souls by the pouring out of His own blood!! Knowing He was devoted to my rescue, a mission so hard I cannot fully comprehend, renews my spirit to offer up a heart longing to be molded into a soul fully devoted to Him that only He can create in me. And this knowing comes through reading His word and prayer.
John 12:27-28 “Now my heart is troubled, and what shall I say? ‘Father, save me from this hour?’ No, it was for this very reason I came to this hour. Father, glorify your name!” When my heart is troubled where do I turn? Jesus cried out to the Father. In prayer is where He will again fix my eyes on Him, remind me of His unfailing love and devotion to pursuing me in the mess, taking me to where He can renew a steadfast willing spirit within me, restoring to me the joy of His salvation that He won for me!! I have a God who deserves all the glory and devotion, One who died and rose for me… and I don’t have to fight for Him to see my fight, He is El Roi the God who saw me, sees me and won’t lose sight of me, or you. Praying to be devoted, its only in Him we can move from strength to strength (Psalm 84:7) and I think I can start by crying out to Him in prayer.
In Luke 7:36-50 a sinful women comes to show her undivided devotion to Jesus with much ridicule from those around at the time. Jesus speaks to the accuser but looks directly at the women and asks, Do you see this woman? (Verse 44) …she loved much (verse 47). I think He still does that today for us all that come to Him longing to be fully devoted no matter what we walked in the door from or who still stands accusing us. Do you see this woman, this man, the way that I do?! He’s looking at the heart, His precious creation, fearfully and wonderfully made in His image! They are warriors in My army because I bought them with the price of My own blood and nothing and no one will snatch them from My mighty hand, not a detail of their lives escapes My eye! Do you hear Him speak that over you? Dear child I saw you, I died for you, I see you and I will not lose sight of you. I Am El Roi Who was and is and is to come the Almighty and I love you. I Am good. I Am faithful. I Am trustworthy and true. Do you hear that thundering in your brain above all the lies?! I pray you do!
Matthew 26:39 Going a little further, (Jesus is always going a little further for us isn’t He – here He went all the way from the Garden to Calvary for us, now that’s devotion!) he fell with his face to the ground and prayed, (again in the depths He prays… devoted!) “My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will.” How can any of us think that just by being a “good person” we can gain eternal life?! Don’t you know even Jesus would have preferred that way!!! But there is only one way and that is Jesus!! I am the Way the Truth and the Life. No one comes to the Father except though me. John 14:6 People may think that’s too narrow too hard… really?! ask Jesus what He thought!! Maybe in His great love He was making it easy for us…. no confusion, one great love, one Way – undivided devotion. Jesus in prayer made His request but then He rested, in trusting devotion – not my will but thy will… because He will.
Surrendering a will is never easy, at least for me. Maybe what I’m craving in my own will is what He wants me satisfying in Him. What we think we know, see and understand is contained within our little bubble of time and space but when we know the character of the One we are surrendering to, One faithful and true with a depth of love for us we cannot fathom, One who exists outside our bubble of time and space yet was willing to enter it so that we could exist outside of it… we can present our requests but then we can rest in devotion to that One. The true Savior and God Jesus Christ who walked that devoted walk first for you and I and knows better than we because He sees the full picture. El Roi who sees the full picture of you, I AM who knows you, is the I AM who will provide all that you need to pick up your cross in devotion to Him until you are all the way Home and His thundering voice says, WELL DONE My child, well done.
Independent read: Eph. 3:19, 1 Cor. 13:12, Rom. 8:38-39