You only live once. Live life to the fullest. Loosen up and live a little. We have all heard these quotes and seen the YouTube videos that stem from them. These quotes have driven us through adrenaline rushes, career choices and daily decisions. They push us to our physical limits and give purpose to the things we do, or at least they seem to. Unfortunately, at the end of the day, no matter how much we justify our actions with this mentality, there is no lasting fulfillment.
As Christians, we know this. Maybe you’re like me and grew up in Sunday school learning about the empty hole in our heart that only God can fill. We have heard the preacher as he proclaims that nothing will ever satisfy and that outside of Christ, there is no true fulfillment. We have watched friends and family make the decision to believe and follow Jesus with joy and anticipation because we know what is to come for them. We serve, we tithe and teach our children. All of these things are essential, but are they enough?
For months after getting involved in Brentwood, I found myself coming to church out of routine. I would roll out of bed, always a little late, and enter into my whirlwind of a day. I was rushing to church with a hundred things on my mind, later finally getting settled and focused just in time to run to the crazy world known as Brentwood Preschool and follow up with teardown team. From the outside, I may have looked like I was living and serving with a passion for the things God was doing at Brentwood—and I was! However, at the end of my Sunday, I would get in my car exhausted and lacking fulfillment.
If fulfillment comes from Christ, and I made the decision to believe and follow Him, why was I lacking it? How could I serve the church and only feel chaos?
The Vision of the Valley of Dry Bones found in Ezekiel 37:1-14 has become a prominent scripture in my life recently and I have found myself reading and praying through it time after time. Mainly, with the vision that God would breathe life into specific people. However, the more I began to read and pray through it, the more I realized that it did not just apply to the lives of others—it applied oh so intimately to my life as well.
I was searching for fulfillment through serving, but I didn’t realize my expectations were backward. Instead of first finding my fulfillment through Christ then allowing that to manifest in the form of serving and giving, I was trying to find fulfillment through those acts alone. You see, I decided to believe and follow Jesus when I was in middle school, but about two years ago I entered into a dark winter season. In that season, my hope was gone, and I felt cut off from God. Tendons and flesh covered me, but there was no breath in me. I began to come out of that season just as I began to get involved in Brentwood.
Although I was coming out of that season, I was doing it by myself. I was fighting on my own for the things I thought would please God and fulfill me. I was trying, but I was an empty shell of a body harboring dry bones. Ultimately, I discovered that if I wanted to truly live like God has promised, simply fighting and serving wasn’t going to be enough. I needed to invite the breath of God to fill me again. Only then would I begin to do the works of God while experiencing true fulfillment.
If you find yourself in a similar place, I challenge and encourage you to read and pray through Ezekiel 37:1-14. Realize that God has brought this to light in your life, but in order for you to jump over this hurdle, you have to respond in action. That may sound intimidating but remember that you are not alone, God walks you through exactly what to pray.
“’Prophesy concerning these bones and say to them: Dry bones, hear the word of the Lord!”
Declare that your dry bones hear the word of the Lord.
“This is what the Lord God says to these bones: I will cause breath to enter you, and you will live.”
Invite the breath of God to fill you so that you will live. Ask that you will begin to find your fulfillment in Jesus, first, and that it will then begin to overflow into other areas of your life.
Read this and know that this is the action that God is taking in you. Know that He is breathing new life into you, giving you new hope, and raising you up from your grave! Celebrate in thanksgiving for what He has done.
“I will put My Spirit in you, and you will live, and I will settle you in your own land. Then you will know that I am Yahweh. I have spoken, and I will do it.’ This is the declaration of the Lord.”
Pray that you will know that this is not of you, this has taken place because the Lord has spoken. Move forward knowing that God has done a mighty work in you so that you may find your fulfillment in Him. Last, ask that you will be a living testament of His glory and the work He has done.