MOVING TO MALIBU.

 

Version 2

I’ve been really into learning from others’ stories lately. Obviously I believe in and love the Bible as God’s word (I have a whole post about it here, and a whole category of posts dedicated to studying the Bible here!). But recently I’ve been inspired to dig into accounts of how others have experienced Jesus. I imagine the early Church, who didn’t have the New Testament to read. They read letters from other believers like Paul and shared personal details of how Holy Spirit had moved in their lives. Thinking about it that way, it’s important to not only read the Bible, but also to get to know others and their stories about God. God is alive and well, working and moving in people every second of every day. We can see Him more fully when we listen to or read about others’ experiences and perceptions of Him, always comparing their views to the absolute truth found in His word.

Because of my newfound interest in others’ stories, I’m totally loving the Delight Stories and Devotionals book! Delight is a college women’s small group ministry that I’ve been a part of ever since coming to Auburn. I. love. Delight. so much. with all my heart and soul. I’ve made some of my best friends through this ministry, I’ve come so much closer to God, and everything they make is pink!

I was reading Haley’s (what a coincidence, huh?) story from their story and devotional book the other day, and this quote stood out to me:

I see it like this: say somebody gave you an all-expenses paid beach house vacation in Malibu, complete with travel, a car, food, and all the hip furniture and decor you could ever dream of. You could brag about your new lifestyle, tell all your friends, plan for it, and dream about it. But until you pack up and leave your current home, the new life is never really yours. You cannot live in Malibu and your current hometown at the same time.

Delight Stories and Devotionals, vol. 5

I love this picture of life with Jesus. God has given us the gift of salvation by grace through faith in Christ. When we believe in Him, our eternity and inheritance in heaven are promised, sealed forever, a 100% guarantee. He has given us the deed to His house in heaven. The rest of our lives on earth are us moving into that house. We’ve been given the gift of heavenly eternity with our Father, but we can start to live in that reality now. We own the house, so to speak, because it’s been graciously given to us, and we will move in fully when our time on earth is up, but we can start the moving now.

We can take our earthly mindsets and move them to a heavenly one. We can take our flesh caving in to temptations and transfer it to letting Holy Spirit’s convictions change our behavior. We can look at our worldly worries and trust God instead. We can excavate bitterness, annoyance, and disappointment in others, and replace it with purity, love, and forgiveness toward them. We can move from earth to heaven while our bodies are still on earth, because our spirits are already citizens of heaven.

True faith in Jesus is like a moving van for us on earth: its purpose is not only salvation, but also sanctification. Holy Spirit is gradually taking our earthly, sinful selves and replacing them with who God created us to be. That’s the moving. That’s us moving from our earthly reality, the death we were condemned to, to our heavenly reality, the one God created for us when Jesus died and was resurrected. We don’t have to wait for heaven to see this heavenly reality that supersedes our earthly one; we can move now.

Here’s the thing about moving in real life: it’s hard work. You have to haul boxes up and down multiple flights of stairs. If you’re moving in Auburn in the summer, you sweat. A lot. You have to leave behind what’s comfortable, which can be painful and lonely at times. Moving requires others’ help to lug mini-fridges and giant armchairs around. And let me reiterate: it’s hard work.

But Malibu is so much better than the broken-down shack. God’s heavenly reality is infinitely better than our earthly one. We have already received the gift of heaven, and it is nothing but that: a gift. Whatever we have to sacrifice to live in that gift now, is worth it. Moving may be hard, but Malibu is better.

Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed—not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence—continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose.

Philippians 2:12-13

There are far, far better things ahead than any we leave behind.

C.S. Lewis

WORDS THAT STICK: I.

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I am sure that God keeps no one waiting unless He sees that it is good for him to wait… but you must regard it as waiting, not as camping. You must keep on praying for light.

C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity

This quote from Mere Christianity describes the process of finding a church family after becoming a Christian, but I definitely think it can apply to waiting in other senses, too. One thing I’ve learned about college is that the whole thing can honestly be described as waiting. Waiting for the semester to be over. Waiting for spring break. Waiting for summer. Waiting to graduate. Waiting to get a job. Waiting to move out of the dorm and into an apartment. Waiting for your #ringbyspring. Waiting for whatever is next.

This quote struck me as convicting and inspiring, all at once. The first half: “I am sure that God keeps no one waiting unless He sees that it is good for him to wait.” There’s always a reason for not-yet‘s. God has so much goodness for me here and now if I’ll just look up to Him instead of constantly looking ahead. I can get excited about what’s next while also passionately staying rooted in the present. I don’t want to miss what He has for me today. I trust the process He’s got me in and the end results of it. I trust His goodness not only at the end of my waiting, but in the middle of it, too.

The second half: “You must regard it as waiting, not camping. You must keep on praying for light.” To me, this means continuing to move forward and make progress. Ultimately, what are we waiting for most? Heaven. We can’t forget that this world is only temporary. We must have an eternal mindset and heavenly focus. That’s the difference between waiting and camping: While we wait, we keep going. We don’t sit idly. We let God work in and through us to bring heaven to earth, instead of resigning ourselves to laziness and the idea that we’re simply stuck in a broken world.

Camping is what most of us think of when we think of waiting, but C.S. Lewis presents a different idea: active waiting. Like active listening, it starts with attitude. We don’t sit around. We try. We keep on praying for light. We expect God to move and work. We’re patient with His timing. We trust that He has our best interest. We have faith in His ways. We put our hope in Him. We seek Him here and now. We find joy in each moment He has given us today. It’s a balance of patiently looking forward and digging into the present.

The external outcome is the same after any type of listening and waiting. You’ve listened, and you’ve waited. But waiting well matters so much internally. It reflects faith. I want to be the kind of girl whose faith leads her to wait well, knowing God will not disappoint in the future and God will work miracles in the present.

To my companions in the waiting, whatever you’re waiting for: You are not alone, and this time is not without purpose. Don’t camp out. Why don’t we wait well, together?

So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.

2 Corinthians 4:18