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Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is. Ephesians 5:15-17
Recently, I was listening to a Christian podcast. Listening to sound and wise teaching is a good way to make the dishes, laundry, and house chores go by wayyyy faster, just FYI.
This particular teaching was about how we spend our time, and how we spend it determines what is most important to us. Hence, the scripture, Matthew 6:21, For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
What we spend the most time thinking about [and doing] becomes what masters us. So, in effect, we become students of those things.
The message that spoke loud to my listening heart was this: What am I a student of?
What do I spend most of my time thinking, dreaming, watching, hearing...etc.
I remember in high school, I was definitely a student of: boyfriends, popularity, desiring good hair and cute clothes, and fitting in with peers.
I wish I could say I was a student of: God. Good grades. Wise choices. Being set apart.
But, I cannot lie to you.
Over the years, looking back on my life, I have been the student of many things.
I remember being so proud of myself for knowing all of the celebrity gossip back in my early 20's. I was a walking encyclopedia for anything Hollywood.
*burying my head in my hands*
Can I tell you a story that I have never told anyone? Possible due to shame.
When my son was born, we found a precious girl to watch him 2-3 days a week so I could continue to work. It wasn't mandatory that I work, but I wanted to. I was a slave to shopping. Seriously, I was.
The thing is, I knew that God had been gently convicting me of spending. But, it was just so easy with an extra paycheck. I loved to shop. I loved new shoes. And I wanted to be able to get whatever I wanted. And, the independence was extremely enticing.
One day, I came home and the sweet girl that was watching my boy was going on and on about the things he was doing and learning.
Tears stung my eyes as I tried desperately to hold it together until she left.
I cried my eyes out as soon as she walked out that door.
She was more of a student of my son than I was. She knew him better than I did. Or so it seemed.
My life long heart's desire of being a stay at home momma had somehow gotten overshadowed because of my desire for MORE. More money. More stuff. More independence. More freedom. Gulp.
Lem and I had long talks and I soon quit my job and stayed home full time. It was a lesson. A big one.
God had revealed some deep dark sin in my heart that needed exposure to His Light and His Truth. It was not a fun lesson to learn. But, looking back, I am so thankful that I heeded that conviction and acted upon it.
Friends, we must be careful what takes first place in our hearts. We can easily become students of things that were never meant to become idols.
Over the years there have been many things that I have let master me, and each time God had to lift finger by finger of my grip from those things.
The only thing that should hold mastery over us is God. His Words. His commands. His Authority over our life.
When we are a student of God and His Word, all of those "good" things will never take control over us. They are just that..."good things", without becoming master over us. Our thoughts. Our actions.
We must also be students of prayer.
And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people. Ephesians 6:18
It says to pray on "all" occasions. I think that means, ALL. Which won't leave much time left for empty thinking and idolizing, right?
I made a list of some things that can master us if we are not careful. We can easily become students of these things if our minds are not set on God and His Word. We must be prayerful, in His Word, and alert to the power of the things of this world.
Here are a few:
Our body image
Talk shows/News shows
Celebrity news and magazines
Books [even Christian ones]
Conformity to the world
And, even church. [when we care more about cozying up to the pastors, worship leaders and elders than knowing Jesus]
And, at the expense of you throwing rotten tomatoes at me...
We can even idolize Christian leaders. We can become students of these big names and big churches over being students of Jesus.
We read their books. We read their blogs. We follow them on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and wherever else we are able to get a snippet of them. We know them better than we know our Heavenly Father.
What are you a student of, sweet friend?
What consumes your thoughts, your time?
Oh, I pray that it is God and His Word.
If it's not, it can be.
Pray. Talk to Him. Read His Word. Get to know Him.
Let Him become your Teacher.
He's the greatest Teacher of all.
We can still enjoy good things, but our greatest Joy is Jesus.
Be a student of Him.
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