My husband’s favorite author is Brennan Manning, a Christian writer, friar, and priest who writes and speaks passionately about the love of Christ. The Ragamuffin Gospel and Ruthless Trust are perhaps his most well known pieces. They will rock your world— in a good, faith shaking kind of way!
Recently, I pulled the devotional book, Reflections for Ragamuffins, off my husband’s book shelf. It’s composed of little bite size daily devotionals from Manning’s writings. For the next several weeks, I will be sharing a little blip from the book on Sundays, along with my own reflections. I would love for you to join me in this journey! Please read along and make comments on your own reflections!
You can find the book new or used on Amazon or other book retailers.
On this beautiful Sunday, I am blown away by the June 10th post of the book on Taking Inventory. I have to be honest that I regularly wonder where I really stand with God. Even though I believe I know the truth of Christ’s love for me, I question.
What does he think of me today? How close are we really? Is he disappointed in me? Have I let him down in all my selfishness and sinfulness?
Manning says that in order to take inventory of our walk with God, or to discern where we truly are with the Lord, we need only recall what has saddened us lately:
“Was it the realization that you don’t love Jesus enough? That you can’t honestly say that the greatest thing that ever happened in your life is that Jesus came to you and you heard his voice? That you do not regard finding Jesus as your supreme happiness? That you have denied his last commandment by not loving his people enough? Or have you been saddened and depressed over a lack of human respect, criticism from an authority figure, financial problems, lack of friends, your bulging waistline?”
And on the flip side, Manning asks us what has gladdened us lately:
“…The joy of praying, “Abba, I belong to you”? The afternoon you stole away with the gospel as your only companion? The thrilling awareness that God loves you unconditionally just as you are and not as you should be? A small victory over selfishness? Or were the sources of your gladness and joy a new car, a Brooks Brothers suit, a movie and a pizza, a trip to Paris or Peoria? Are you worshipping idols?” (p. 162)
It kinda hurts, doesn’t it?
It does me.
The thought that, if I’m being honest, my happiness might not always (or even mostly) come from the only place that is really worthy of my true joy: Christ in me, the hope of glory.
Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth.
Worship the Lord with gladness;
come before him with joyful songs.
Know that the Lord is God.
It is he who made us, and we are his;
we are his people, the sheep of his pasture.
Do we do this? Do we come before him joyfully? Do we believe in his goodness? Do we feel saddened when we are not near him? When our joy does not come from him, but from things?
Friends, so often I come up way short in this inventory. I find temporary gladness in all the wrong thing; sadness in the disappointments of this world. My prayer for us this week is that we might be found fully in Him. That we may walk near and know His joy. That time with Jesus would be the thing that brings our full joy, and that we would acknowledge that and make full space for it.
* * * *
Please leave a comment and let us know, have you taken inventory lately?
In what ways do you regularly inventory your walk with the Lord?
How do you walk the fine line between guilting yourself and living honestly before God?
* * * *
Stop in next Sunday for more Reflections for Ragamuffins: Daily Devotions from the Writings of Brennan Manning