Today's team journal is written by our Event Coordinator, Sami Hudgins.
“Am I your ONE and only? Is anything else placed above ME in your heart?”
This is the question that echoed in my head after recently hearing Mark 9:42-47 read aloud by my pastor. As he went through his sermon, he clarified that we are not called to literally cut off our own hands, but we are indeed called to deliberately flee from temptation, and to pursue righteousness (1 Timothy 6:11). Sitting in that pew, I found myself (yet again) asking God to reveal the sin that entangles me, and He answered with that simple question: “What do you place above me in your heart?”
In response, I found myself just as Peter did, pleading with Jesus after denying him so many times: “Lord, you know I LOVE you.”
He has convicted me of denying Him for my own glory.
I have an ideal image of myself, and I have made a habit of pursuing it daily, disregarding the consequences. In attempt to amplify my own worth, I’ve turned down His will and carried out my own agenda instead. I’ve denied the Lord by striving to make myself known in this world. My heart longs to be a woman of God, but part of me thought I could be that and so much more. The truth is, I'm always striving to be my best person, but if I’m being honest, I've put this striving to achieve my ideal image above my call bring glory to his name. As a result, my work, however good or productive, becomes sinful.
I confess to you that my attitude toward God has often been conditional and on my own terms. I've been willing to go to where he sends me as long as it fits into my own schedule and routine. I confess that I have denied the Lord.
Oh, but Lord! You know I love you.
In Mark 9, we are called to make radical changes against the sin in our lives. I am learning, yet again, to go against the grain of the world, turn away from old habits, and be made new in Christ. Peter warns us against such sin; he tells us that we must be sober-minded in order to guard ourselves from the devil, who seeks to devour us (1 Peter 5:8). God is teaching me how to be sober-minded. He continually whispers in my ear, “my daughter, there is only One.”
There is only one hope.
There are days that I find myself hoping in the most temporary of things. I put my hope in relationships with people that will surely ebb and flow. I put my hope in my latest hobby and project, for which my passion will surely fade. I put my hope in a young and fit body, which will surely start sagging sooner than I would prefer. I put my hope in the latest and greatest health strategy, which will surely be disproved by next year. I put my hope in new organization tools, which will surely fail to keep my life in order for longer than three consecutive days. There is only one hope, it is the hope that Jesus promised: the kingdom of God will never fade, will never fail and will forever be. “Your kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and your dominion endures through all generations. The LORD is trustworthy in all he promises and faithful in all he does.” (Psalm 145:13 NIV) My striving distracts me from the one and only hope that will endure forever.
There is only one mission.
Do you have a power walk? I do. My striving steps become even longer when I have set my mind to my work. To say the very least, Jesus did amazing work here on Earth. He completed missions that I would never even dream of attempting, things no power walk of mine could accomplish. Yet, as I read through scripture, I don’t get the feeling that Jesus had a power walk. He didn’t puff his chest out and walk daringly to revive the girl who had already taken her last breath; but instead, he walked slowly and humbly, allowing the Father to guide Him with every step. Jesus was willing to bring God glory in whatever way he was called, even if it required a diversion from the path he had initially set out to take. Jesus accomplished many things in his short time here on Earth, but he lived for only one mission: to glorify the Father. This mission was reflected in everything He did, from his daily encounters to his dying on the cross. We, too are instructed to live out one mission! Philippians 1:27 (HCS) says, “Just one thing: live you life in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ.” There is only one mission- to proclaim the name of God. There is no mission worth striving to accomplish if it not bringing glory to God’s name.
There is only one way.
Look around. We are constantly nudged by this world to go in one direction or another. If you were to spend just ten minutes on the Internet, you might feel the urge to start a new house project, begin a certain diet, or set a new life goal. In John 14:6, Jesus says, “I am the way, the truth, and the life.” He did not say, “I am one of the ways.” In my attempt to go above and beyond, I have strayed from the one and only path. We must be sober-minded, responding only to the Lord’s voice, following only His guidance. We must take radical action against the diversions offered to us in this world so that our direction might be clear.
I am learning how to submit to God in new ways. I am walking away from life as I have known it, looking to Him as I live in this world but resist the temptation to be a part of it. I am drawing near to Him, and He is purifying my desires to reflect more of Him: the one and only.
I pray boldly for God to destroy the name I have built up in my striving. Will you join me in that prayer? Lord, help us to flee from sin so that your name may be made great. Make us women who will speak of nothing but your greatness. Your name is the only name that must be made great.
Samantha "Sami" Hudgins serves as the Event Coordinator for Dayton Women in the Word. She is an Air Force wife and fur-baby-mama to Charlie. Her heart longs for women to join together to seek and find truth in God's Word.