All I Need Is Jesus And...
Friend, please hear my heart and know this post is food for thought, not meant to step on anyone’s toes but my own.
A couple years ago the Lord asked me to lay down that which I looked forward to most in the morning, a coveted cup of hot Paris tea. As I woke each day, my thoughts would immediately turn to that cuppa’ goodness, prayer and the Word. Tea first, then time alone with God. The Lord was part of my morning routine, so I struggled to understand the directive. Give up my tea?!
It didn’t take long for Him to reveal to me, He was not the first thing on my mind when I woke in the morning. He was second.
Hard truth. Gulp!
Over the next year and a half as I did indeed lay my tea down and walk in obedience to what God asked of me, I admittedly battled with my flesh on a regular basis. One of my dear friends listened on the other end of the phone day after day as I studied the Word then proceeded to put Pharisaical rules around myself and that indulgence.
As I processed my thoughts with God, my husband and friends, I felt like my craving was slow to die and I was a disappointment to God. Or His request was some sort of punishment for something He had not yet told me I’d done wrong. I was so preoccupied with it I neglected to realize that God doesn’t work that way.
In all actuality, my beliefs were skewed, rooted in childhood wounds that clouded my view. I knew with my head that my faulty view was not an accurate representation of God. But my heart didn’t feel it was true where I was concerned. I felt like the exception to the rule.
So the Lord whispered the purpose behind His request: When you are able to control your tastebuds and fleshly cravings, yielding them to Me, you’ll be that much more obedient in other things. His words made total sense.
After practically working that out, the Lord got my attention again on the porch of a cabin in the north Georgia mountains, bible in hand, still abstaining from that cup of tea. He showed me that I had been living in a state of self-condemnation. He didn’t ask me to give up my cup of tea because He was cruel or demanding. He wasn’t trying to take the fun and enjoyment out of life. He simply wanted to hold first place in my heart.
I used to wake up thinking about making that cup of tea to start my day and then get alone with Him. But Jesus wanted to be my first thought in the morning and my last thought as I laid my head on the pillow at night. He is Alpha and Omega, first and last. And He wants to be that in my life.
He also reminded me that He is enough. The world likes to add Jesus to things, like cute t-shirts and home decor saying, “This girl runs coffee and Jesus” or “All I need is a little bit of coffee and a whole lot of Jesus” or “Raised on sweet tea and Jesus”. What He was teaching me was, I don’t need Jesus and... (fill in the blank). I just need Jesus.
He led me to Psalm 5:3 and specifically, the Amplified version, which says, “In the morning, O Lord, You will hear my voice; In the morning I will prepare [a prayer and a sacrifice] for You and watch and wait [for You to speak to my heart].”
Here, David is making very specific promises to the Lord. 1) He promises to pray to the Lord. To direct his prayers and petitions to the One who hears and stands ready to speak into them. 2) He promises to call on the Father in the morning, when his mind is clear, after a good night’s rest and before the distractions of the day cloud his thoughts. 3) He not only lays his concerns before the Lord, but also a sacrifice in good measure. He approached the Lord like a priest approaching the altar of God. 4) He aims to be still and wait for the Lord’s response, something that requires undivided attention. No distractions. With prayer and sacrifice in hand, he stands ready for God’s response and instruction.
Then He whispered again...
I am pleased with both your petitions and your sacrifice. Laying down your cup of tea was never meant to be viewed as punishment or taking the fun out of life. It was meant to be a sacrifice. One that would help you focus all the more intently on Me, able to hear My voice speak to your heart more clearly, because nothing else was vying for your attention. You were sacrificing your cup of tea not even aware that in so doing, you were pleasing Me and I was working the preference out of you. I want you to prefer Me over everything.
So now, as I straighten my bed in the morning, before sitting down with my Bible and Jesus, I often speak the gist of that verse in Psalms in prayer: In the morning You will hear my voice; in the morning I lay prayer and sacrifice before You and wait for You to speak to my heart.
It took time, but eventually my thoughts shifted to Jesus being my waking thought, and not my second. And so I continue to fast from tea until He has spoken or directed me according to His Word, and released me to go about my day. Many days it has made my time with Him richer, my focus sharper, and my ear more attuned to His voice. Now I can say, I’d rather have the t-shirt that says “But first, Jesus” or “Jesus over everything” because He has taught me that Jesus plus nothing equals enough.
When I come with an empty cup, the Father fills me to overflow. He alone is everything I need.
RECLAIM YOUR HEART: Lord Jesus, what, if anything, do I hold higher in my heart than time with You in prayer and Your Word? What is typically the first thing on my mind in the morning? And the last thing on my mind at night? What do I need to know from You?