It just keeps coming up.
The darkness within me. Everyone has it.
We are made new in Christ when we are saved but darkness lingers still.
Those little black fingers of Satan try to grip your heart and your mind.
As soon as he gets a little pinch of you your past starts flooding back reminding you of when you cheated, lied, spewed unkind words, had an abortion, gave up on your faith, [enter your sin here].
And, if you are suited in God’s armor then you know you are under attack.
Satan attacks those who are sold out to Jesus.
Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. Resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same kinds of suffering are being experienced by your brotherhood throughout the world. – 1 Peter 5:8-9
You may be going along in life feeling deep within your faith.
Feeling like nothing can get to you, like the spirit within you is so strong.
I warn you, DO NOT BECOME COMPLACENT.
In my current reading of “Having a Mary Heart in a Martha World” (which I hope to do a book review on soon) the author, Joanna Weaver, speaks of the story when Jesus came to raise Lazarus from the dead.
Notice Mary’s, and Martha’s for that fact, change in attitude throughout all the passages.
Previously Mary had sat at Jesus’ feet without hesitation. Listening and absorbing all the great teacher proclaimed. She sat there being filled with words of life while Martha focused on other things…other situations and circumstances (Luke 10).
If we could describe these two sisters’ faith we would say Mary had a strong faith in this moment and Martha was distracted.
Then something happened.
These women…their world was shaken. Their brother, Lazarus, fell ill and died (John 11).
Mary, well, she went into grieving mode as any normal person would if their brother passed away and stayed in her room. Martha, however, heard Jesus was on his way and she ran out to meet him and says “But I know that even now God will give you anything you ask for” (John 11:22).
Notice the switch? What you may or may not have picked up on was Jesus’ correction on Martha’s distraction during his earlier visit to their home in Luke 10:41-42.
So what happened? Martha, in the first instance, didn’t have her eyes on Jesus. She didn’t spend the time she needed at his feet and her focus wandered. Sound like the modern-day us? We get so distracted on things that need to be done and forget that there is a Master waiting for us to sit at his feet and take him in. Get filled.
She wasn’t on her guard against the enemies schemes. But after her gentle correction was received the switch was flipped and her faith restored and refreshed. Full again, leading her to run to Jesus with trust.
Then something else happened.
If you read the above you would know by now that Lazarus ended up being fine. Yes, he died but Jesus resurrected him back to full health. You would have also noticed that Jesus called Mary to the tomb where he was doing his mighty work so she could see with her own eyes. Her faith was weak. She was what we call “a hot mess”. And Jesus, the loving father he is, was moved to come to the rescue and heal her heart…among other things.
Mary’s faith restored.
Again, if you did the reading above, you would find that Mary’s heart and faith were restored.
In John 12 a beautiful picture is painted of Jesus and Lazarus reclining at the table, Martha serving everyone (while I’m sure relishing in the teacher’s presence since her previous gentle correction) and Mary…oh, sweet Mary…
Where was Mary?
Back at Jesus’ feet….
But this time she took out her very expensive perfume and poured it over Jesus’ feet and washed his feet with her hair. Let me quote the significance of this from Joanna Weaver’s book:
Worth more than three hundred denarii, nearly a year’s wages, this was no ordinary perfume.
Weaver was also explaining that this was basically Mary’s dowry. This was the one thing she had that would be the encouragement for a gentleman to ask for her hand in marriage and here she was…pouring her future out on Jesus’ feet. Another switch!
Now that is faith!
A few things here:
One – we see that our faith can and will be like a roller coaster. We are human.
All of us as a family of believers will have seasons where our faith is the strongest. Seasons where we hear so clearly from God that we just can’t get enough. We will have those moments where our lives are just where we have always wanted them. Then we will have the other seasons…where our faith is weak and we question our purpose in life. Where we get busy in the doing-of-things rather than the sitting-at-the-feet.
Two – we see that Jesus is always there waiting for us to come to Him.
When we feel far away from him trust that once we open communication with him once again he will use it as an opportunity to redirect you to what is important. He will let you know what you are missing. And he will welcome you with open arms.
He is a good, good Father.
But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. – Matthew 6:33