Today, I am hosting one of my sweetest blogging friends, Katie M. Reid. Katie has guest posted for me in the past. I am immensely proud of her of as she officially launched her first book, Made Like Martha, last week. I am honored to have her share a little of what her book is about. In this post she shares story from her book when she encounters Jesus in her living room. After that, scroll down to the bottom to read my personal review of the book.
Is Jesus Company to Impress of Family to Enjoy?
For years I lived like I was still a slave in Egypt. Deliverance from the bondage of sin had occurred, yet I did not walk in the fullness of spiritual freedom. I had been released from the shackles of sin, yet I did not live like it was true.
I strove and spun to swirl up a cyclone of blessings, as if my behavior could lasso God’s gaze or control His hand.
But after forty years, my wandering encountered the Promised Land. It had been there all along yet my eyes had not clearly seen it; this land of Grace. Its name was familiar yet its reality was foreign, until a dusty revelation in my living room revealed what I’d been striving to grasp.
It’s like I was frantically picking up clutter before company arrives. Trying to make myself presentable through a dizzying display of tidying up. And then suddenly I came to—the brain fog cleared as I turned around to see the reality I had overlooked. Right there in my living room, with the orange shag carpet, was Jesus. There He sat, in a recliner, as if He lived there. And then I remembered, He did live there! His residency was the home of my heart.
I had invited Jesus in years ago, but in my misguided theology, that I needed to earn (and keep) Him happy through works, I had buried this important truth: Jesus wasn’t company I needed to impress, He was family to enjoy.
For decades I had been trying to pretty up—trying to make myself worthy of belonging. I wore myself out in an effort to be enough, not fully comprehending that Christ had already done enough on the Cross. But through faith in Jesus, I was already cleansed and in right standing with God. I didn’t need to dose myself in the bleach of good works to gain His love.
Works are important, but they aren’t the means to His love, they are a response to already being loved by Him.
Jesus is sitting down at the right hand of God and also living in my heart—not because I do all the right things, but because He did. He doesn’t have to be ﬂagged down, convinced to take notice, or wooed by a pious display of discipline. He is already present. I just need to remember it (and I need His help to do even that).
All that is required to rest within is to believe who Jesus is and receive who we are in light of who He is. It’s that simple, and that sacred.
He, our Father, we His daughters. He, our Redeemer, we the believers. He, the Giver, we the receivers. He, our Guide, therefore, we reside in the unmerited favor of God, because Jesus lives in us.
Christ in you, the hope of glory (Colossians 1:27b, NIV, emphasis added).
Or put another way: And this is the secret: Christ lives in you. This gives you assurance of sharing His glory (Colossians 1:27b, NLT, emphasis added).
Jesus isn’t someone to journey to, He is our constant, attentive, all-wise traveling companion.
By faith, the Spirit dwells within the home of all hearts who believe in and receive Him. And one day we will be at home at last, with Jesus…because of grace.
There are no strings attached to this free gift of grace. No fancy bows needed to beautify that which is resplendent in and of itself. If we insist on adding to grace, we trip on the trappings and trimmings of peripheral rules. If we make light of grace, and overlook the holy weight of it, we spit in the face of the Savior, who was already spit upon, slashed, and sacriﬁced in order to hand-deliver this gift to our hardened hearts.
On this side of the cruciﬁxion, resurrection, and ascension, Jesus resides both with God (and is God) and is within us. Immanuel. What weight! What freedom! What hope for the doer’s heart!
We don’t have to physically sit at Jesus’s feet to catch His gaze. Even as we “do” we carry Him with us. Even if we don’t “do”, His pleasure remains. Our position is settled in His heart and He is settled within ours. We are adopted into God’s family, and autographed with Jesus’s blood. We are family, and He is at home in us.
Ephesians 3:14-19 (ESV)
For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named, that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith—that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be ﬁlled with all the fullness of God.
Do you tend to treat Jesus like company to impress or family to enjoy?
Katie M. Reid is a wife, mom to ﬁve, and a fan of cut-to-the-chase conversations over iced tea. Katie is also a speaker, bible study facilitator, and author of Made Like Martha: Good News for the Woman Who Gets Things Done (which includes a 5-week bible study for individuals and groups). She encourages others to ﬁnd grace in the unraveling of life at katiemreid.com Subscribe to Katie’s site to receive free resources to help you breathe deeply and walk freely.
Made Like Martha by Katie M. Reid is a very relatable read. If you are a checklist/task-oriented woman like me, this book has a grace-filled message to relieve your anxiety. Taken from the Biblical text of the story of Mary and Martha, Reid exams the personalities of these two women. In most Christian circles, Mary is esteemed above Martha leaving those of us “modern-Marthas” feeling unneeded, unwanted, and unnecessary.
Reid proposes that the “modern-Marthas” should continue to be who we are designed to be, but exam our hearts to assess if we are serving from a posture of worship.
While the book includes many insights from the author herself, she is mindful of the many different types of Martha’s she may have in her audience. She shares stories from friends, family, colleagues, and mentors to add depth and diversity to the narrative. At the end of every chapter, Reid graciously shared a space for these women to give their first-hand accounts of being a get-it-done type of gal.
Reading this book was like sitting in a room full of Godly women and getting to glean from their Godly wisdom with Reid leading the discussion.
Especially meaningful to me was the section where Reid spoke of her friend who struggles with chronic illness because I too struggle with chronic illness. Like this friend, I find it extremely difficult balancing my ambitions and my energy. It was refreshing to hear a voice speaking out for those of us who struggle in this way and to help others to understand our frustrations.
This book would make for a great study with a few friends. The author included a Bible study/discussion questions to go with each chapter at the end of the book.
**Note- I was provided with a copy of Made Like Martha in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are solely my own.
~Coffee With Jen