I was talking with a lady who is exhausted. She is busy doing all the things that seem right to do. Serve others, take care of others, proclaim the gospel, teach Bible studies – all are amazing things. She is looking for the answer of how to do service from a point of not exhausting herself. I know she is not alone in her struggle.
I was praying and asking God for some revelation into this question. When I started to get an answer I had to smile, because God does not do the usual, as a matter of fact, doing life God’s way can almost seem backwards.
That my friends brings us to today’s blog.
Buzz Word of our today’s culture: “Intentional” – we are to live an Intentional life.
The Bible is not just a book of Words, it is a book of Intentional Words. It is a story: God’s story of the world and His love affair with it. If you are a fan of love affairs, you know there is a tumultuous phase, a honeymoon phase, and a regular life phase. The Bible is full of all of these kinds of story lines.
But the Bible is also full of prose, poetry, and parables. Scholars who study the Bible in its original languages are amazed by how intricately the Bible is written.
Have you ever heard of a Chiastic Structure? I had not, until Beth Moore enlightened me but truthfully Chiastic structures have been talked about since the 1700’s. A Chiastic structure is a phrase that is a mirror reflection of itself.
Examples: some people live to eat
And some people eat to live
It is as if you took a look at yourself in a pond and the mirror image shines back at you. The Bible is full of these Chiastic structures. “you have to loose your life to save it”, “the Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath”, “the first will be last and the last will be first”.
A Chiasm is a form of writing where the meaning is a repetition of similar ideas but in a reverse order. A-B-C C-B-A (it can be longer)
Example: Joshua 1:5b-9
A As I was with Moses, so I will be with you; I will never leave you nor forsake you.
B 6 Be strong and courageous, because you will lead these people to inherit the land I swore to their ancestors to give them. 7 “Be strong and very courageous.
C Be careful to obey all the law my servant Moses gave you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left,that you may be successful wherever you go.
D 8 Keep this Book of the Law always on your lips;
D meditate on it day and night,
C so that you may be careful to do everything written in it.Then you will be prosperous and successful.
B Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged,
A for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”
When you start to see the intentionality of God in writing the scriptures, it makes studying the Bible come alive. You can start to see repetitions in sentences and word meanings in Chiastic structures – these are not some haphazard words randomly put together, there is much meaning and thought behind them.
So what does that have to do with my tired friend. Everything!
God showed me that the only way to do more is to actually do less. Backwards – right? Nope, a Chiastic structure and so God.
“I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit: apart from me you can do nothing.” John 15:5
God has shown us throughout the New Testament that we are to “remain” in Him. How do we do that? It is a relationship, not a set of rules. In order to have a relationship we have to spend time together. That is the total secret to tireless living.
In order to have the energy and do more, we actually have to schedule in God time. We have to remove some things to allow ourselves to refuel with God so we can have the energy to do more. We have to be Intentional about it and slot it into our calendars and it does not have to look the same every day. I love to drive, so I can have God time in the car. I love worship music – so sitting and soaking in some music and praising is important to me. Going for a walk and talking to God is another way I get refueled. Other ways: Reading the Bible, prayer, church, writing or journaling. Whatever works for you to concentrate on God – schedule some of that into your day. I find there are many days where my feet hit the floor and the day takes over only to fall into bed at night an exhausted heap and thinking “fit God in- where?” That is why we have to be Intentional.
God said, “Seek first the Kingdom of God” Matthew 6:33 – this is not just a well-intentioned statement – it is the key to effortless living.