I was back in 1 Peter this morning and gleaned rich, new insight from God's word. I love how His word is truly living and active!
The verse that spoke to me was 1 Peter 3:15, "In your hearts, set apart Christ as Lord."
What does it mean to set apart Christ as Lord in our hearts?
Well, first let's explore the meaning of the term "Lord." In this context, it's referring to Christ as the ultimate ruler, king, and authority. So to set apart Christ as Lord in our hearts, means to allow him to be the ultimate authority of all that we desire, dream about, and hope for.
So what are areas in my heart, I began to ponder, where I'm not allowing Christ to be Lord?
Two immediate answers came to mind: money and time.
First, money. Do I really allow Jesus to be Lord over how I spend my money? Do I consult him before I purchase things? The majority of the time, I don't. And perhaps for a tall half-caf Americano at Starbucks, it's not something I need to pray about. But if it's becoming more important than Jesus, perhaps it is. The easiest litmus test for figuring out when something is becoming lord of my heart instead of Jesus is to look at my motives.
Let me give a specific example. My husband and I are hosting a Halloween costume party for the neighborhood kids and families. The purpose is to have a fun evening and get to know our neighbors better. For the past three weeks, every free moment I've had (usually when Marshall is in Mother's Day Out), I've made trips to Target, Hobby Lobby, or HEB to buy fall decorations for our house. At first, it was just a few fun things to freshen up. But now, I know I've gone overboard on spending money.
Jim finally sat me down one night and gently asked, "Honey, why are you buying all of this? Is it because you truly enjoy decorating and want to make the home beautiful? Or is it to impress our neighbors, to make the house look good so you will gain their approval?"
Ouch. He hit the nail on the head. He called out my motive. I knew that I was not just decorating to freshen up. If there was no Halloween party, I would not be buying all that stuff. I could care less. So there it was, plain and clear. I was not allowing Jesus to be Lord over my heart. If I was, I could pray about it and ask, "Lord, will You help me make the house look beautiful without spending a lot of money?" And I know He will answer because He is faithful to hear us.
The second area of my heart where I rarely set apart Christ as Lord is my time. My time is precious. I want to decide how I'm going to spend it, who I'm going to spend it with, when I need "down time", when I want "social time" and when I want "hubby time." This has been an area of my heart where God has been working over the years. I went from full-time work, to a full-time grad student, to full-time ministry and now, to a full-time mom. And I'm realizing that time, especially since being a mom, is no longer my own. I treasure the few precious hours I have alone when Marshall naps. But even then, I want to start praying, "Lord, how do YOU want me to spend this time?" Should it be to relax and watch a fun show? Should I spend it writing a blog post? Should I call a friend I haven't talked to in awhile? Should I pray and spend time in Your word? Basically, the key is to ASK, not demand my rights. Even on the weekends, when Jim and I just want to veg out and watch TV, I want us to pray, "Lord, how would You like us to spend our weekend?" Should we invite a couple over for dinner we haven't seen in awhile? Should we find a way to serve one of our elderly neighbors? Or is this a time to just be still and quiet and alone with one another to refresh us and our marriage? Once again, the key is to ask with a open heart, not a demanding one.
I will continue to pray this for myself and for my readers....that God would show us areas in our hearts where we aren't setting apart Christ as Lord. We all have them. Some are more obvious than others. But I am realizing that when God helps us identify them and helps us release those areas to Him, we are actually freed up to love better and live better because Jesus reigns in us and there is nothing more joyful, wonderful and satisfying.