InPursuit

FERVENT: Your Purity & Your Pressures, Week 5 {Book Club Thursday}

FerventWelcome to Book Club Thursdays!

We’re jumping into the topic of prayer as we read through Priscilla Shirer’s newly released book, Fervent, A Woman’s Battle Plan to Serious, Specific and Strategic Prayer.

For your convenience, all the posts in the series are archived {here}. If you missed any,  feel free to head on over and catch up. Or, to make life even easier,  subscribe to our Book Club Thursdays newsletter and receive all book club posts directly to your email.

Can you believe we’re almost done with our book, FERVENT? I don’t know about you, but these have been 5 of the most challenging weeks in a while (and I’ve had plenty of challenging times in my life!). I suppose something happens when we start learning, growing, and getting intentional about our walk and prayers. We pulled the curtains back and we began to zoom in like a laser on certain areas of our lives. I’ve felt the warfare. I’m sure you have, too! Here’s the thing–God’s already won the war. We’re simply walking in the authority and power given to us. Don’t give up yet. You’ve come too far to throw in the towel and go back to the sidelines of your life.

So how about we jump in…

Your Purity: Staying Strong In Your Most Susceptible Places

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The verse that comes to heart is “Blessed are the pure in heart for they shall see God.”

If blessed are the pure in heart for they shall see God, then it makes sense that the enemy would create a strategy against our purity. He doesn’t want us to ‘see’ God. He doesn’t want us to have that intimacy that comes from knowing God at this deep level. Purity, the cleanliness of a heart that is free from corruption, guilt, and sin. A heart that’s sincere and free from falseness, one that’s genuine, blameless, and innocent before God. Yes, this kind of heart, purified by the fire, pruned by the Master Gardener and fit for bearing good, lasting fruit–yes, this is the heart the enemy is after. This is the heart that is able to truly see God and walk in the blessing of the righteous.

If you’re anything like me, you’re thinking, “Uh, yeah… my heart is nothing like that.” And I get that. We live in a sinful world. Our heart is continuously bombarded with temptations and all sorts of lust. Invitations to sin are heavily present in our days. How does one walk with this pure heart? For me, it’s looked like honestly coming to God with a prayer much like this one, “Unite my heart to fear your name that I might turn away from sin. Give me the will to do what is right and when you lead me, put in me a desire to obey.”

Through scripture (Ps. 86:11, Pr. 16:6, Phil 2:13) I lifted up a heartfelt prayer I knew God would hear because it was directly connected to His heart for me. Though I don’t do life perfectly, I’ve lifted up a standard before me–God’s word– and I want to live into that standard. When the enemy targets my heart/purity, I lean in closer and I bring that yucky feeling to the One who is working in me… His Spirit causing me to walk out this faith in such a way that I would bring pleasure to Him. I lean in and bring all the shame and condemnation of the enemy to the One who has redeemed me through His blood and forgiven all my sins according to the riches of His amazing grace (Eph. 1:7)

“God is inviting you right now to realms of glory. To wide-open spaces of genuine freedom and possibility. To scenes where victory can become, no kidding, an everyday occurrence. You’ll think you’re just sitting in whatever little place you call your prayer closet, but you’ll actually be in a whole new world where He is King and where even your nastiest individual sins are utterly subject to His power.”

This is where I want to be. Continuously. Always.

Your Pressures: Reclaiming Peace, Rest, and Contentment

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I needed this chapter–more than I imagined. I find I’m still processing through what this should look like in my life. So, bear with me. It’s a journey right? A process we’re all having to go through and for some of us, this processing can take a little longer.

I’ve spent the last 5 years since our house fire figuring out what a home life (and life in general) that pleases and honors God looks like. Resting for me is difficult, yet I know He calls us to take care of ourselves and to trust Him. So, today, rather than share where I’ve been and how God’s brought me through it… I stand with you looking at these words and truths and asking God to teach me how to live this way… to open my eyes to what rest should look like in this season of my life.

“Ever notice how many of the pressures in your life resemble slavery? Like you’re just being bossed around, day in and day out?… Slaves just work. They don’t control their agenda for the day; the day’s agenda controls them. That’s the regular dynamic they come to expect; it’s what others expect of them as well.”

Israel was free yet they continued to walk in the bondage of slavery. “God knew He would need to radically adjust their perspectives in order to get them thinking like people who weren’t slaves anymore. Enter… Sabbath.” This was to be an intentional time of them understanding they were to stop all the working/slaving and rest in God and His provision and care for them.

“Why does this concept of stopping, resting, shutting off, stepping away, pulling back, taking a deep breath–the biblical command of Sabbath–why was is so hard for them? The same reason it’s so hard for us. Because to some degree, we’re slaves just as they were. The thought of deliberately choosing a rhythm of rest and margin around our full slate of activities feels almost unthinkable–because it lands on people who still think the way a slave thinks.” God’s calling us to a new mindset. A mindset and lifestyle of freedom!

“It was for freedom that Christ set us free; therefore keep standing firm and do not be subject again to a yoke of slavery,” (Gal. 5:1).

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“This, too, is what Sabbath is meant to communicate. You don’t need to keep pushing, rushing, gathering, hustling. You’ve already received approval from the One whose approval really matters. He has stamped His value on you, and that is enough. Even the activities He gives you to steward are not given to see how many balls you can juggle, but instead so you can participate with Him in staking a kingdom claim on the patches of ground where you live.”

“The purpose of Israel’s liberty from bondage–and the purpose behind your own liberty from the slavery of undue pressure–is not merely freedom for freedom’s sake. God’s purpose in giving you Sabbath spaces amid your full, productive life is to help you be uninhibited in your devotion, service, and worship of Yahweh. Margin keeps you from marginalizing God.”

The enemy wants other things and other people to replace God’s preeminence in our schedule, in our mind, in our heart, in our home. He wants our loyalties lured away from our Creator and dispersed among a dozen others, without our even thinking about it.”

“Unmanageable incessant pressure, then, is not just another nagging problem in your average day. It’s an attack against your full devotion to God as your one and only Lord. It’s a cosmic battle for your contentment, your peace, your rest, your sense of balance, health, and wholeness, your ability to worship attentively, to trust fully, to be free and satisfied in Christ, available to move at the invitation of His perfectly timed will.”

And so, you can now understand why I have so much to process on this chapter, eh?! I want to live that life of freedom God has for me. I want to NOT step into the bondage of slavery when Jesus already freed me. I want to step into that Sabbath where I rest in Him and nothing robs me of my devotion and worship to Him!

If you haven’t already done so, I’d encourage you to grab your copy of Fervent, A Woman’s Battle Plan to Serious, Specific and Strategic Prayer. Let’s grow in this area together, yes?!

Meet me here next week when we’ll continue digging into Strategy 9: Your Hurts & Strategy 8: Your Relationships. 

You’ve engaged in the battle and God will see you through it. In fact, He’s the strength of your heart… your very own portion. Though your heart and flesh seem to fail, He never does. Walk in that certainty. Walk in that truth. Get up, again and again if you have to, and engage. You will see the fruit of your labor. You will see the fruit of your prayers. You will walk in the peace and confidence that comes from knowing you and God are partnering together!

Standing and interceding with you,

-Darlene

Thoughts To Ponder

♥Note: We’ve barely hit the surface here. Discussion questions will serve you best after reading the week’s chapter. 

1.) When it comes to your purity. Is there an area that immediately comes to mind where you’ve sense the attacks and temptations of the enemy?

2.) What pressures can you name that are leaving you empty, without energy and contentment?

*All quotes taken from Priscilla Shirer’s, FERVENT Book, unless otherwise noted. 
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© 2016 Darlene Collazo | {In Pursuit} My Quest

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