I was reading a portion from last summer’s journal and was reminded of the day I was going to work in my father-in-law’s field. It needed to be mowed, but first he thought he should take me for a walk through the field to show me all the hazards to avoid. Hazards mostly consisting of gopher mounds and mole holes, that had kicked up rocks everywhere.
I hadn’t realized that offering to mow the field was going to be so labor intensive. I thought I could just hop on the rider mower and go. I confess, I was a little perturbed by the fact I couldn’t just sit on the mower and ride over the mounds to get the job done fast. And his description of circumnavigating around each pile would have been a lot of zig-zagging and added time on the mower in the hot sun. Not to mention, it really wouldn’t have helped the field much.
I decided instead to take a shovel and pack each of those holes back down. The only problem then was that it revealed the small rocks that had been pushed up by those pesky varmints as they created their weave of tunnels. The only solution was to get on my knees and hand pick the rocks out of the soil so that the lawnmower blades wouldn’t find them.
It was there on my knees that I saw the lesson the Lord intended for me, and perhaps you can relate. For just like that rocky soil, I, too, needed to be sifted. I had allowed little pebbles of complaint to well up in me. There were rocks of impatience that had emerged. Those rocks and pebbles were a hazard and needed to be dealt with, just as surely as the ones in the field did.
This I assure you, anytime we allow the Spirit of God to sift our attitudes and reactions to our circumstances, He is faithful to reveal those things hazardous to our walk with God, and as we comply, to sift them out of us.
It had been earlier that week when I had been talking with a friend. She was describing her frustration with life. She was feeling cooped up and utterly powerless. I replied by saying, “Oof!” which of course was met with a “what??” I said, “Oof”.
I was picturing the old Batman and Robin cartoons during one of their fights with a nemesis, and they would be sucker-punched, knocking the air of out of them, and the words “Pow!” and “Oof” would flash on the screen, for that is exactly what happens to us when we try to do things apart from the Spirit of God. We are Oof! Simply put, we are Out Of Fellowship which causes all the power and spiritual breath to be knocked out of us.
When that happens what we need is a little sifting.
Yes, I had to come up with an acrostic for her to combat the OOF in our life, and it came out, SIFT (which is, Stay In Fellowship Today!) So, as I kneeled there, sifting through the dirt, rocks and pebbles, the Lord was quick to remind me that I needed to SIFT – Stay In Fellowship Today.
If we are going to stay in fellowship with Him, we have to set aside selfish thinking, our own desires, and just be the servant He’s called us to be. Doing the thing He desires for us to do and to allow His Spirit to direct, to fill, to lead. The goal is always to SIFT.
How? 1 John 1:9 is the key. When we confess, He is faithful to forgive and restore us to a right relationship with Him.
So don't be OOF, instead SIFT!
Father God, You have made us for so much more than we know or allow. You have given Your Spirit to empower us to walk as Christ walked, in complete surrender and fellowship with You. So SIFT us today, make us wholly Yours, and nothing less. I ask in the name of Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.