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May
17

What Matters Most

And walk in love, 

as Christ also has loved us and given Himself for us,

an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling aroma.

~ Ephesians 5:2 nkjvElizabeth Marchman Flower #37

 

I have a stack of folders sitting in front of me and another stack to my right on the window seat. There are notes sticking haphazardly from commentaries, multiple Bibles, scholarly books.

My mind races.

My heart beats exuberant.

I want to learn everything and share everything all at once.

In the excitement, in a desire to convey it all, what remains are half written blog posts, copious stacks of scattered written thoughts on notecards, hundreds of scribbled sticky note posted questions. Concepts I had failed to understand, questions long unanswered, random notes and dates in Bibles and journals become clear and I understand Yahweh has been speaking to me for long time, leaving a trail for me to follow, puzzle pieces of a map lay scattered through the pages. Trying to make sense of it all can be maddening.

The last three years have taught me some important things:

To use caution in selecting the teachers to whom I listen and in the people with whom I associate.

There are consequences to whom we align ourselves. In the flurry of my excitement, I had associated myself with people who at first seemed to align with my thinking, but I soon realized did not understand what they were teaching nor were they clear on what they believed. They allowed their excitement and emotion to rule their actions and the end result was disastrous. And in the midst, others drifted in and out of my life who had strange ideas – things I had never heard of before, much less considered.

I was suddenly viewed as a heretic and a judaizer and people had no problems with stating it to my face or through private messages. Self-professed leaders slandered me ruthlessly.

It was guilt by association: no one cared what I believed nor did they bother to ask, they only cared about the company I had kept.

 

Solitude is the greatest gift Yahweh allowed me.

I won’t lie to you. What happened was painful, but it was necessary. But when Yahweh decides to prune us so we will bear fruit, is it ever really easy? I think not.

I sat back and for the first time in my life, I kept my mouth shut. I let people move and speak and I refused to defend myself. I immersed myself in Scripture; I let Yahweh do my fighting for me.

I read His Word.

I let Him work.

And I waited for what seemed an eternity..

And I studied in every spare moment I could find…

And I prayed. And then I prayed some more.

In the end, the truth of the situation emerged, but it was crucial that I allowed Yahweh to weed out the people in my life that were doing me harm and not good.

Community is valuable; to study with others a blessing. But times of solitude are beautiful; for it is in those times, the attributes of Yahweh and Yeshua and our own character are revealed which are imperative to forge the relationship as it ought to be because it forces a spiritual maturity we otherwise might never achieve.

To slow down, take time to thoroughly study, and never rush the process.

I had to throw out everything I had been taught – not only from church, but from the local Hebrew Roots fellowship I was a part of – and start over from the beginning. It is not that everything I learned over the years was errant, but if we do not begin with Scripture as a foundation and ultimate authority, then how will we know what is right and what is wrong.

In my solitude, I was able to dig deep into scripture and allow my curiosity to take control and let my thoughts ramble and let the Spirit lead me.  I had no idea which direction it was headed on any given day and I was completely at ease with this path. I have learned more about Yahweh and Yeshua by letting my curiosity take over and run rampant like a wild child than all the preaching I had listened to my entire life. And I learned it is crucial to our growth to stop listening to what people think they know and sit still and listen to Yahweh so He can show us what we need to know.

Accuracy is important; I never want to misrepresent Yeshua.

This wayward and unruly curiosity proved to be a bit of a handicap. When I sat down to write, to share these ideas with you, it made me appear scattered as if I didn’t have a clue what I was talking about; this made me nervous. All these notes and folders stacked high and falling all over the floor make me feel overwhelmed and chaotic. So I stopped writing and began reading; I educated myself.  I found teachers on-line who, while I don’t always agree with completely, gave their resources for the opinions they formed so I could research things for myself. I bought commentaries and books written by scholars and read peer-reviewed papers. The internet is a mine field: anyone can write anything. It was important to set parameters of where I gleaned information. Opinions do not matter if they cannot be supported by facts. In being an image bearer, there is no room for engaging in conspiracy theories or performing sloppy research and I guard myself against such things.

The only reasons to seek knowledge are to gain wisdom and to connect more deeply with my Savior and better serve my King.

I took a step back and prayed for revelation about what direction to head and how to go about sharing all I am learning and how it is impacting my journey with Yeshua. And He reminded of something important, something I had long forgotten.

He reminded me of the reason I began this blog. It wasn’t to promote any particular idea or to sell books or to indoctrinate. It was to share the beauty and the wonder and the majesty of Yeshua. It was to share my journey in the hopes that those who did not know Him, would want to forge their own relationship with Him.

So I am going back to the beginning. I am going to write my journey like the love letter that it is – the beauty and the uncertainty and the imperfectness of it all. And if you never learn anything else about me, know this truth: I love Yeshua. He makes my heart beat wild with excitement and my life worth every breath I take. And I want that same experience for you.

Hopefully along the way, we will learn about Him together and we can marvel at the wonderful beauty of who He is and what He has done for us. Ultimately, whether our beliefs differ or align, whether you call Him Yeshua or Jesus, whether you follow Torah or you do not, Yeshua/Jesus must be at the center and all attention and focus must remain on Him. He is our Messiah and our King; we are His image bearers.

It can sometimes feel complicated, but it is really quite simple:

Of all the things we tend to focus on each day, the things that divide us, most of it doesn’t really matter. Of all the obstacles we fail to successfully navigate and people we fail to handle with grace, we know there is a better way. And that way is to focus on what does matter most.

We must keep our face turned toward Yeshua, so we understand a simple truth: What really matters most is only how He loves us and how we love Him and how we love each other.

And if we can remind ourselves of this upon waking each morning and before falling asleep each night, then we are better able to shake off the dust of hurts and divisions and betrayals, and be a light reflecting Him into the world.

Now let us go and be that light.

 

Most importantly, love each other deeply, because love will cause people to forgive each other for many sins. ~ 1 Peter 4:8 ncv

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2 Responses to “What Matters Most”

  1. Ann Chastain says:

    A beautiful testament of love for our Savior. People will always have differences of opinions. It is our nature. Beginning with scripture as our foundation is the only way to truth. Yeshua/Jesus taught us how to love in spite of our differences, we all would do well to follow His example.

    • Elizabeth says:

      I do believe that our differences would be fewer if we were to solely rely on Scripture as our foundation. One thing is certain: there is only one doctrine. Yahweh doesn’t change and His word doesn’t change and Yeshua said Himself that He only taught the Father’s doctrine. For me, this simplifies things and helps me focus on what does truly matter most.

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