I’ve never been one to “claim” Bible verses, although I know it’s not unheard of to use them as mascots for Theme Years, sports seasons, political campaigns, spiritual retreats, or basically every other human endeavor.
But one verse really leapt off the page when I read it a few months ago in the course of completing some Bible study homework. And ever since then, it’s come to mind as the answer to almost every question or personal dilemma I’ve struggled with since then. It’s been so striking that I’m tempted to dub the past few months as The Spring of II Corinthians 3:18.
“And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into that same image from one degree of glory to another.”
Do you see it? As we look upon the Lord, we become like him. It’s so simple, but so powerful (and yet, so difficult…)!
Struggling to love others more than yourself?
Struggling to hate sin more than you love it?
Struggling to say no to temptation?
Struggling to feel and show compassion to others?
Struggling to do the good you know you ought?
Struggling to trust God through suffering?
Look at Christ.
Seeing the glory, the beauty, the completeness of the Lord brings everything into focus. When I look at him and then look at sin, it’s rightfully ugly. When I look at him and then look at my own complaints or insecurities, they’re rightfully petty. Jesus is the ultimate perspective; he’s the ultimate standard of what is really “worth it,” and there’s no problem I might encounter that could not be solved by being more like him.
I can only scratch the surface of the many ways this verse could be applied to daily life. But the most basic is to look at my day and consider how I can dwell on Christ more. What occupies my mind all day? Dirty dishes, toddler games, Chick-fil-A nuggets, e-mail responses, that running list of to-dos jotted down on the front of the fridge. But Jesus? He might get a few distracted minutes after Abby goes to bed, or a mention in that song where he “loves the little children.” But I find that usually I’m too busy putting out the fires of the urgent demands to give him much thought.
And yet…he is the one with the power I need to love my family well. He is the one with the wisdom I need as I parent. He is the one through whom God has given me “everything I need for life and godliness.” There’s no need for me to whirl through the day running on empty.
But short of checking myself into a monastery (and don’t tempt me, some days!), there’s no easy answer for how to be faithful to my daily responsibilities and still spend an adequate amount of time in spiritual thinking. Here are a few of my ideas on how to keep Christ as your companion throughout the busyness of the day; I’d love for you to add your own suggestions in the comments!
- Listen to hymns and quality podcasts in the car or when doing housework. (Often I’m interacting with Abby during this time, but if she’s occupied with her own music or with an activity in the other room, I can listen even when my hands are busy.)
- Look at Pinterest/Facebook/Twitter less. It’s amazing how those minutes add up!
- If you are on Twitter, subscribe to “pastoral” tweets; even better, get them to post as alerts on your phone. Nuggets of truth can make a difference in recalibrating your thoughts throughout the day. (@JohnPiper, @DailyKeller, and @ScottyWardSmith are some of my favorites, but there are many, many more to choose from!)
- Post reminders to yourself on the chalkboard over the kitchen sink, on the bathroom mirror, over those rarely-referenced gauges on your car dashboard. You can’t say much in a small space, but think of it as a little diving board for your brain, to get you thinking about something important and true. (For example: “I need Thee every hour.” “Come, thou Long-Expected Jesus!” “By His wounds we are healed.”)
- Consider using one of those short reminders for often-used computer passwords. (Or use variations on names for Christ, for shorter options)
- Prioritize a time in the day for focused Bible study. My best time is the 30 or so minutes immediately after I put Abby to bed. I sit at the table with my Bible before I go get on the computer, start cleaning up the kitchen, or turn on a TV show. Mornings, lunch breaks, or naptimes might be better for you…decide when is the most reliable time for you, and then stick to it!
In other words… “let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith.” (Hebrews 12:1-2)