One Step AheadBy Andrea Griffith
April 18, 2020
From the other side of the wall I heard, “I cannot do this mom! It’s too hard!” I rounded the corner to find Alli and Leah steeped in frustration and surrounded by scattered school supplies. All over the floor were open packs of pencils, washable markers, dry erase markers, highlighters, brightly colored folders, notebooks, plastic binder sleeves, index cards, wide ruled paper, graph paper…you get the picture. On Monday afternoon, we had taken our “Items needed list” and shopped for school supplies. On Tuesday morning, almost everything that was on the school supply aisles at Walmart was now in the Griffith house, opened and scattered all over the floor. I had asked the girls to go through the school supplies and make two separate piles; one with Alli’s supplies and one with Leah’s. After the stacks were made, I was going to sit down and help them organize it all.
The girls were so excited about having new school supplies that before the stacks were made, they decided to open everything and check it all out. Once it was all opened and looked through, they suddenly remembered, “Oh, I’m supposed to be making two piles with this.” By then, the giant, messy school supply pile was more than a ten-year-old and an eight-year-old could handle!
As I looked at them and saw the predicament they were in, all I could see was myself. So many times, God gives me a small assignment, just one thing that I am to do or obey. I get so excited seeing the potential of it all that I dive in and go way past the one thing that God told me to do. I end up way over my head, exhausted and wondering how in the world I got here! This is especially true in ministry. We have a genuine desire for all people to find the freedom that only Jesus can give. As we listen and lead people toward Jesus, we discover there is layer upon layer of complexity and need. We are in way over our heads before we know it!
Looking at Jesus in the Scriptures, I don’t see him anxious about the needs all around him. In fact, Jesus says, “I glorified you on earth, having accomplished the work that you gave me to do” (John 17:4). Even though there were pressing needs all around him, Jesus knew which ones He was called to meet. His attentiveness to God allowed Jesus to finish the work the Father had called Him to do. Not seeming to be able to accomplish that on any given day, I wondered what His secret was.
John 5:19 says, “So Jesus explained, ‘I tell you the truth, the Son can do nothing by himself. He does only what He sees the Father doing. Whatever the Father does, the Son also does.’” I love the way the John wrote, “So Jesus explained.” Jesus knows that if I am ever going to do life right, I will need Him to explain it to me! Jesus knows the brokenness in us and all around us. As a patient teacher, He calls us to listen to, look at, and follow Him above all else. He tells us that if we lack wisdom for any situation, if we ask Him for it, He will give it to us (James 1:5). The Holy Spirit will unpack many things that we don’t understand as we listen to him. We hear him as we open our Bibles, take the time to ask and listen in prayer, practice the Sabbath, and listen to godly people in our lives.
Jesus knew what God had for Him to do because of his connectedness. Jesus was so connected to God, that He lived, moved, and breathed in perfect unity with Him, always doing what God would do. He was never ahead or behind; He just consistently did what God was doing. Jesus knows that what we give our attention to is the person will become so he calls us to a deep abiding relationship with him.
Abide (as a verb)- to remain; continue; stay; to have one’s abode; dwell; reside. To continue in a condition, attitude, relationship.As we choose to walk with, talk to, hang out with, consult with Jesus every moment of every day, we are abiding in Christ. Jesus tells us in John 15:5 that when we abide in Christ, we will bear much fruit. He will produce in us the fruit that He wants to see. He will accomplish what He wants done as we nest with Christ. As long as we are abiding in Christ, then nothing we will ever face will cause us to scream, “I can’t do this!”