My Joy to Honor Him

My joy

I had a muddled view of God throughout most of my teenage years. I believed in Him, but I had no clue how deeply He loved me. Because of some of my life experiences, a part of me even thought that I had to earn His love.

I was often viewed as the “responsible girl” who made all the right choices. I was very much of a “people-pleaser” and a perfectionist. And while the face I presented to the world might have been one of a girl who “had it all together,” the truth is—I did not.

On the inside I was confused and hurting. I yearned for love and affirmation, but I often felt like I didn’t measure up. I tried to earn acceptance by doing the right things and striving to be beautiful in the eyes of the world. I was living with a “you have to earn it” mentality, rather than living under God’s grace.

When I was 18 years old, God got a hold of my attention in a gentle yet very noticeable way. I realized that while I believed in Him, I wasn’t following Him with all of my heart—I wasn’t following His path for my life because I was trying to do things my own way. My heart was unfulfilled, and I longed to be satisfied. It was during that season of my life that I chose to fully surrender every part of me to the Lord. I stopped chasing after an illusion, and I decided to start trusting Him.

About 13 years have passed since that time, and my feet are now planted on the path of life. I have experienced the joy and peace that comes from allowing Jesus to be Lord of my life.

I no longer believe the lie that I have to earn His love. Instead, I believe that His love is unconditional and never ceasing. I know that He loves me just as I am. I know that His grace is always enough for me. I know that He is faithful and trustworthy. His promises are deeply rooted in my heart and no one can steal that away from me.

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God transformed my mind and my heart. I went from being a girl who believed that I had to “earn” God’s approval, to becoming a woman who thrives in God’s unconditional love and grace. God healed my heart with His love. God calmed my fears with His love. God crushed the lies with His love. God gave me hope with His love.

And now it is…

My joy to honor Him. And not because I have to. But because I get to.

When I think about how God chose to pour out His love on this world by allowing His only Son to hang on the Cross and take our place, I can’t help but want to honor Him. He’s my King and I love Him. It’s not a chore to honor Him—it’s a privilege. My life has been changed by His love and I trust that He knows what is best for me. His Word, the Bible, is full of truth and wisdom—and it’s not meant to be a book of rules. It’s meant to point us in the direction of Him and His love. He desires to bring good to our lives. And if He asks us to stay away from something, it’s out of His great love for us. He doesn’t want us to choose the things that He knows will harm us.

Jesus said this to His disciples shortly before His death:

“I have loved you even as the Father has loved me. Remain in my love. When you obey my commandments, you remain in my love, just as I obey my Father’s commandments and remain in his love. I have told you these things so that you will be filled with my joy. Yes, your joy will overflow!”

~John 15:9-11 (NLT)

True joy comes from abiding in God’s love. And we can have joy at all times, because unlike happiness, it doesn’t depend on our circumstances. Obedience to God is not always easy. Sometimes it means that we will look very different than the rest of the world. Sometimes we will loose friends because of our faith. Sometimes we will be stretched beyond the realms of our comfort zone.

But remember all that Jesus experienced during His ministry here on earth. He was mocked, He was rejected, He was betrayed…He was crucified. And He endured it all for us. He understands it all, and if we remain in Him, He will help us every single step of the way. His love will give us the strength we need to endure the bumps in the road.

Understanding God’s love changes everything. It changed my heart. It changed my thoughts. It changed my perspective. It changed my attitude. It changed my actions. It changed my entire life because it gave me ‘new life’ in Him. God continues to renew me, and as He does, day by day…

It is my joy to honor Him. 

I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me. I do not set aside the grace of God; for if righteousness comes through the law, then Christ died in vain.”

~Galatians 2:19-21 (NKJV)

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hannah

(C) 2014 Pocketful of Motherhood

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But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

~ 2 Peter 3:18 (NKJV)

I was a teacher prior to my motherhood days, and one of my goals as a teacher was to prepare my students to become life long learners. I wanted the children in my classroom to develop a love for learning, because learning is a part of how we grow and achieve things down the road. When our hearts are open to learning our lives can be enriched in whole new ways.

No matter how old we are, or how many achievements we have behind us—there is always room for growth in our lives.

When we invite God into our lives, the path of growth takes on a whole new meaning. The Holy Spirit comes and dwells in us and changes us a little bit at a time—God refines us and we gradually become more like Him.

So all of us who have had that veil removed can see and reflect the glory of the Lord. And the Lord—who is the Spirit—makes us more and more like him as we are changed into his glorious image.

~ 2 Corinthians 3:18 (NLT)

God wants to transform us so that we reflect His Glorious Image. Have you ever stopped to ponder what a privilege that is? We get to be changed into HIS Glorious Image—His Holy, perfect, breathtaking image!

And along the path of transformation, we have an incredible opportunity to learn from the greatest teacher that ever walked the earth—Jesus. The words He preached and the stories He shared are recorded in the greatest Book ever written. When we seek God and study His Word, our lives are sure to change…for the better.

As we grow in the grace and knowledge of the Lord, our “old self” sheds away and our “new self” shines through. God is changing us one moment at a time. And He uses both the joyful moments and the painful roads, to grow us. He is working it all together for our good. He is transforming us into His Glorious Image.

Only God can take our messiness and combine it with beauty, to create something glorious.

Put on your new nature, and be renewed as you learn to know your Creator and become like him.

~ Colossians 3:10 (NLT)

So keep learning. Keep growing. Keep being transformed. And keep pressing onward and pressing into the mighty plans God has for your life.

A heart willing to learn, is a life able to grow.

hannah

(C) 2014 Pocketful of Motherhood