"Prepare thy work without, and make it fit for thyself in the field..." (Prov. 24:27)
Don't worry; this is definitely not another article on dieting. Not that I am wholly unqualified to set forth words of instruction on the subject, not from the stand point of great success, but great experience, if you get my drift. But if you're like me, one more book on a sure-fire way to lose weight could well nigh lead a body to bulimia. :) No, my goal today is not passing along ways to stay fit, but helping us find the right fit—in life, especially the Christian life.
You see, the trouble with some of these how-to books, whether it's about dieting or living, is that they seem to advocate, or at least indicate, a one size fits all approach. I understand there are basic rules that must be followed if one hopes to experience a healthy, effective Christian life. But once we have conformed to the laws and precepts set down in the Word of God, we're free to bring our own style and temperament into play. At least, that's my understanding of the implication of the first part of First Corinthians 15:10. "But by the grace of God I am what I am." I can, and should, improve; but I must be who and what God made me to be. Anything less—or more—would be hypocrisy and second best.
As I see it, there are at least three areas of the Christian life that should always be a perfect fit ("fit for thyself"):
OUR PERSONAL DEVOTION AND WORSHIP: Nowhere in Scripture are we told how long to pray or how much Bible to read during those times when we seek to nourish our souls in the presence of God. Nor are we told when these times should be. In fact, the Psalmist's testimony was that he talked to God morning, noon and night (Psl.55:17), which suggests to me day long communion. Still, it only stands to reason there should be a time of uninterrupted conversation between God and us, when He speaks through His Word and the communion of the Holy Spirit, and when we lift our hearts in worship to Him, acknowledge our need of Him, seek forgiveness for daily sins, and petition for ourselves and others.
Beyond these basic guidelines, our one-to-one relationship with Jesus Christ is as personal as our salvation. Your time with God is not a ritual; it's a rendezvous. You're not doing something; you're meeting Someone.
Are you comfortable in your devotional life with the Lord? You should be.
Tell me, who chose your area or place of service? You, others, or God?
OUR "HOME-KEEPING" TECHNIQUES: Notice, I didn't say housekeeping techniques. That's only part of the job description. Besides, that falls into the same category as diet tips, in my case, because my failures have tended to outnumber my successes. Still, I add this category for two reasons: 1) to fulfill Titus 2:4; and 2) to bring a little sanity to the over-achievers among us, who mistake the admonition to be "keepers at home" for champions at home, who never miss and never come short.
The Proverbs thirty-one woman is my ideal; but even Solomon had to admit she's hard to find. And I don't kid myself that she didn't have her bad days, too. I mean, we're talking real people here. By all means, strive, as I do, to make her attributes principles in your own life, but if you sleep in some days or have to run through McDonald's to feed your children from time to time, or buy your clothes at Penny's or Wal-Mart instead of sewing them at home, don't beat yourself up. If your husband knows he can trust you anywhere, anytime, under any circumstances, and if your children consider themselves blessed because you're their mother, you're not doing too badly. You are you, and your husband and children are who they are. God, you, and your family are the only ones who should determine how your home should be run.
Are you and your family comfortable at home? Who's home is it, anyway?
A.W. Tozer said, "God is easy to live with." If your Christian life is uncomfortable for you, either you are trying to live outside Biblical parameters, in which case, you will always feel cramped; or you're trying to live someone else's life. Your life should be "fit for thyself," not someone else. God's got the perfect fit for you.