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the promised one :: lesson five

We are on lesson five already! Half way through…can you believe it? There has been so much in each lesson and I have been loving this time of digging into Genesis this summer. I am continually amazed by the power of God’s Word, aren’t you?! I pray that God would continue to transform my life and yours as we study together.

Don’t worry if you are a little behind! Keep going…you will be so glad you did. I promise. I was way behind in responding to comments too. I caught up on the last two lessons and if I somehow missed you I am really sorry! I am going to do better this week. ๐Ÿ™‚

 

Okay, on to lesson five.

This week was big for me as the Lord began revealing some areas of sin in my life. Areas in my life that I am trying to make a name for myself apart from Him. It is always a little yucky as those layers are peeled away and I begin to see the ugliness in the ways I am still trying to live for myself. As I’ve read this familiar story of the Tower of Babel in the past I’ve laughed at those crazy people who were trying to build a tower in their own strength to reach God and make a name for themselves. This time as I read, I was a little surprised to see myself in this story.

So, let me just share what the Lord has been doing in my heart this week as I’ve studied these chapters in Genesis.

When Cora died God dropped this little blog into my lap. This blog is truly a gift from Him and a tool that He has given me to glorify Him. I would have never considered myself a writer or a speaker or even one who is willing to be vulnerable and share her life openly with others. The fact that the Lord has given me opportunities to do all three of those things is a testimony of His strength in my weaknesses and how often He uses our lives in unexpected ways. But as much as this blog is a gift, it can also create a temptation to start desiring to build a name for myself. It feels good to be known, for my blog to be recognized and for people to affirm the things I am writing. It doesn’t take long before I start comparing myself to other bloggers and start dreaming of my own ideas for this blog. My own ideas that are really all about making my name known. It doesn’t take long for me to loose sight of the vision God has given me for this blog and giving myself fully to be used by Him. I start taking satisfaction in other people’s support more than in God’s closeness. I begin building a “blog name” for myself.

That is an obvious example of wanting to make myself known, but the same is true for me as a mom. I want to be known as a wise mom. A mom who has well behaved kids all the time (ha!). A mom who is faithfully seeking to point her kids to the Lord and has so many good ideas of how to do that. A mom who is creative and is always doing fun things with her kids. While all those things can be good if I am doing them in the context of being fully used by God in the lives of my children, it doesn’t take long before I begin building a “mom name” for myself as well.

You know how in Genesis 11 the people repeatedly say “come, let us” as they took matters into their own hands and began creating their own security and significance apart from God? I saw myself in this story. I saw myself seeking security and significance apart from God in my own life both as a blogger and a mom. It can be uncomfortable to stand alone in obedience to God and I too find myself wanting to do things my own way. I too begin ignoring God and His promises in exchange for making myself known.

A little discouraging right? But as I compared Genesis 11 to the beginning of Genesis 12 I saw hope. Hope in God’s promise to Abraham. The same hope that He gives me today.ย  As I read the words “I will make” and “I will bless” I was struck by what God was going to do through Abraham, apart from anything he had accomplished on his own. And God wants to do something through me too, apart from anything I think I can accomplish in my own ingenuity or strength. I long to find my security fully in Christ. I long to allow Him alone to give my life significance. I long for a name that only He can give me.

As I think about this blog and being a mom and other areas in my life that I am seeking to find security and significance I was challenged by these questions:

Is your life going to be all about what you will do, what you will accomplish, what you can build, or what you can make of yourself?

Or is your life going to be all about what God has done, what God will do, and what God will give to you and make of you?

Do you want your life to be about building a monument to yourself and your ingenuity and abilities and accomplishments?

Or do you want your life to be about God seeking you out when you weren’t even looking for him, calling you to leave everything behind to follow him? Do you long for your life to be about God blessing you, protecting you, and filling your life with significance, with himself (p131)?

Am I willing to be faithful and fruitful in the work he has given to me regardless of whether anyone ever knows my name? Am I willing to forsake building a monument to myself so that I can give myself fully to being used by him to build his kingdom in my generation (p137)?

Jesus, I am so grateful that I don’t have to work my whole life to make a name for myself. What a relief. Thank you that I can find my security and significance in you alone. Thank you for the promise that you will give me a name that will endure. Help me to be faithful to give myself fully to be used by You to build Your kingdom in my generation.

Now it’s your turn: The big question of this week was, “How will you meet your needs for security and significance?” As you look back over your life so far, do you see evidence of trying to secure your own future or make a name for yourself?

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  • Jennifer - “Do not be discouraged.” Deuteronomy 31:8(d) [NIV] I’ve been wondering if anyone was willing to be as transparent as you’ve been and post a comment answering your big question of the week. (I know I’m not!) Just because we aren’t posting, doesn’t mean you haven’t encouraged us to examine this within ourselves. Thank you!ReplyCancel

    Jess Reply:

    Jennifer-Thanks so much for your sweet comment and encouragement. Although there are times I wonder if anyone is still doing this study with me…I am not discouraged at all! I know these questions are very personal and leaving a comment on my blog might not be the right place for a response for everyone. Thanks for reminding me that God is working in the hearts of those who are still participating. I am trusting that He will continue to speak to my readers through His Word and do a changing work in their lives…with or without comments! ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Jess - Jennifer-Thanks so much for your sweet comment and encouragement. Although there are times I wonder if anyone is still doing this study with me…I am not discouraged at all! I know these questions are very personal and leaving a comment on my blog might not be the right place for a response for everyone. Thanks for reminding me that God is working in the hearts of those who are still participating. I am trusting that He will continue to speak to my readers through His Word and do a changing work in their lives…with or without comments! ๐Ÿ™‚ReplyCancel

  • Mindy - Honestly I kind of waited on posting to lesson 5 because I had a harder time understanding the significance of it.Not sure if it was because I just didn’t or if it was because I was having a harder time finding quiet time to just be still with God and with this Lesson.After I read what you wrote it helped me to understand it better.Then I went back and somewhat re-did the study.So now here I am days later responding ๐Ÿ™‚ So,as far as making a name for myself I thought Na,I don’t do that but,then I starting thinking ;). And,realized that alot of times I guess I do,but I do it through FB.I post alot of bible verses and at first I did it for others but,now because I have been told by several people that it helped them now I wonder if I don’t do it now more for recognition than I do to be a blessing.The security thing was MUCH more clearer to me.I have no doubt that I look for security in my kids,husband and home.If ALL this is ok,then I am ok.What I want is to feel secure,and joy even if all this was gone or,isn’t running smoothly.i want to have joy in the Lord.Page 131 was BIg for me.Lots of notes.I do want so much for God to make my life “big ” and use me in a big way but,for his glory.Hope I understood this better.Sometimes I question if I seeing the big picture of what I am reading but,I am learning and that matters alot to me !ReplyCancel

  • Sarah D. - We try so hard to build our own towers and to prove that we are important and worthy, and yet we fail to see that Jesus has provided all we need in Him. I had never made the connection between the men working hard to build a tower and then, a few chapters later, God providing a ladder. We can rest in His promises because He is enough. What I try to do on my own strength will crumble just like the tower of Babel– it’s what Christ does through me that will last. I have been thinking about that so often over the last few days, praying that I will have the wisdom to see the towers and courage to destroy them. I won’t say that this is my favorite lesson so far (because the truth of it cuts pretty deeply), but it’s been hard for me to move on. I’m still pondering. ๐Ÿ™‚ReplyCancel

  • Deb - I’m still with you! Just have fallen a bit behind. I am so amazed at how much I’m learning because of this study. As I was thinking about the study I realized how many towers I have. My classroom is one. I needed to realize that it is a place where little ones come to learn about God. It is because of God that the children are there… not because of me or my ability. The praise of parents is not the praise I should be seeking. Ugh. I sure appreciate those kind parent notes and gifts, but they are earthly rewards, not heavenly.ReplyCancel