Claire Cain Miller recently wrote an article for the New York Times titled, “Stressed, Tired, Rushed: A Portrait of the Modern Family”. While not pointed out in the article, it reminded me how our relationship with God often falls victim to our stressed out, fatigued, and busy lifestyle. The life of a Christian in modern society looks ridiculously similar to that of a non-Christian.
We play the game of pursuing the American dream and keeping up with the Jones’s. None of which has anything to do with following Jesus, of course. But more often than not, we live our busy lives and give Jesus our left over’s. We give God whatever time and money is left over after pursuing our selfish desires.
Before sin entered the world, our days were spent communing with God, living in a perfect pace of work and rest, and never too rushed to spend some time with what we would now call “wild” animals. It is the life we were intended to live, and one we will never see again until Christ’s Kingdom comes to reign on earth. In the interim, we should be doing all we can to bask in the peace available to us in Christ, and to rest in His arms. Instead we are so busy racing between work, the gym, our kid’s sporting events, and grabbing a drink with friends we hardly notice Jesus is all but absent from our lives. We complain about being busy on the one hand, but wear it as a badge of honor on the other.
I’m pretty sure God doesn’t want your left over’s. Left over’s equate to mediocrity and lukewarmness. Jesus made it very clear what he thinks about those who are neither hot nor cold; they make Him vomit (Revelation 3:15-16). Have you ever considered the way you are living is so repulsive to God it actually makes Him gag? Are we really okay with that? Is living our lives in this manner something we want to present back to Him as a gift? If God rejected Cain’s offering (Genesis 4:3-7), how much more will He despise ours?
Our days should be planned around God. Spending time in prayer with Him, studying His Word, reading books by Godly people, and serving others should be the first things we pen into our calendars. If there is any time left over, that’s where the cares of this world reside; they should never become so pervasive they encroach on us building the Kingdom (Mark 4:18-19).
Jesus won’t stress you out; He won’t make you tired or rushed. Spending time with God has never left me anything other than peaceful and refreshed. We become stressed out, fatigued and over committed when we begin living for ourselves instead of Him. Trying to live a life inconsistent with your values and priorities will always be stressful. There is a simple cure: live for Jesus. Make Him first. Make Him the only reason you get up each day. If you will do that, I promise your stress will melt away, regardless of the circumstances of your life. Jesus gave everything for you; are you giving Him your left over’s in return?