Awake My Soul

If you’ve known me very long, you might know I like to prepare for things well in advance. But I have confession to make: I’ve been flying by the seat of my pants most every week this semester. It makes me very uncomfortable, especially since I’ve been planning to build on our theme each week until we came to TODAY when I’d have a response card or something to give you.

Last Thursday was the day I needed to make the card to remind us to say no to something in order that we might awaken our souls. My day looked to be full of meetings, leaving little time for creative pondering. As God would have it, I woke up early and turned to my devotional reading for the day. It was a long poem-type thing. Honestly,  these entries irritate me. I expect to get a full page of words for my money, not white space. I usually skip them. Thursday, November 7, I read it anyway.

You have called me to say

no.

Not no to you

or no to others,

but no to myself.

I must say no to

selfish desires,

wrong thoughts, and

dangerous emotions.

I must say no to

the world’s values,

sin’s temptations, and

my desire to control

what only God can rule.

But left to myself,

I have

little desire

or power

to say

no.

So you have given me

exactly what I need.

It’s the only thing

that will solve my

problem.

You have given me

your Spirit.

So, when necessary,

I am able

to say

no.

– Paul David Tripp

Could it have been more perfect?!

Just in case I wasn’t paying attention, the verse for reflection sealed the deal: Matthew 16:24-27–the very same verses we looked at last week.

24 Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me. 25 For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it; but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it. 26 For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul

Why am I always surprised that God prepares a way for me? Of course He would! This soul awakening is all His idea . . . His longing for each of us.

So here’s the point of all this: Might I suggest you join me in saying NO to something between Thanksgiving and January 1st?

I’ve practiced this many years, and it’s helped me immensely in focusing on Jesus over the holidays. I say NO to something that has too much of my heart – my attention and time – and when it stirs a longing, I simply say, “this is my offering. I’m choosing Jesus.”

Take it a step further and do it with a friend – keep each other accountable, pray for each other, share your struggles, and share the ways God is awakening your soul this season.

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