Today’s Scripture: “5 Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.6 In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.” – Proverbs 3:5-6
Today we come to one of the most well-known set of scriptures in the Bible. Just about anyone who is a Christian who has a fairly workable knowledge of Scripture can at the very least paraphrase Proverbs 3:5-6. Getting what we want from the Lord has conditions to it, but few are willing to actually do what it takes in order for us to actually get things from the Lord…because we always want what we want from the Lord on our terms and not His. Oh, am I the only one who has figured that out? That can be a cause and trap for the devil to work in our lives because when we are seeking the Lord for something that we want, and it’s not happening…the first one to make sure we notice what we’re asking for isn’t happening is the devil. It’s here when we may be tempted to listen when he says that if God really loved or cared for us wouldn’t we have exactly what WE wanted exactly when WE wanted it. Isn’t that how he got Adam and Eve to take a bite of the fruit from the only tree in the garden God said not to eat from. He convinced Eve that God was holding out on them because of the beauty and thrill.
There’s a phrase that I once saw that I really like when it comes to the devil because he is always willing to give us exactly what we want when we want it because he is interested in making sure our gratification is instant. The phrase: “Satan will always give you the thrill without giving you a bill.” So, as we continue to walk through this short sample of Joyce Meyer’s Battlefield of the Mind devotional let’s see how our scriptures for today apply to what we’ve been studying.
I usually know what I want, and I like to get it. I’m exactly like most people. When we don’t get what we want, our negative feelings flare up.
Too often, we Christians expect life to be perfect and for everything to go smoothly for us. We expect success, happiness, joy, peace, and everything else. When we’re thwarted, we pout or complain.
We all have a pretty good idea of the things we want, and am aware that the only way I’ll receive some of them is by the grace and mercy of God…but the catch is I have to wait for His timing and when my wants line up with that perfect plan for my life-like we talked about yesterday. I am also honest enough to admit that there are times when I want something, and when I don’t get it when I think God should give it to me or bless me with it…I am guilty of pouting too.
You know what? One thing I’ve learned since stepping over from just being a believer into working in ministry is that I’ve learned just how fake and inauthentic some in the body of Christ really are. Isn’t that the truth? They never admit to pouting or being impatient with God, they’re always just like “whatever You want Lord”…like their perfect little angels…have you ever met those kinds of Christians or am I the only one? You can almost hear the deceit as they talk about how great life is, and how free and easy things are for them. Well I guess I’m glad for them, but either I’m just not mature enough to be in a place like that or I don’t live in a world with rose-colored glasses…and I certainly don’t pretend that everything in my life is hunky dory.
There are times that I find I can be like the Israelites who one moment are worshipping and all excited about the journey and what God is doing, and then there are times I can be like them as they murmur and complain about how God’s not meeting their needs and life in Egypt was so much better than life in the wilderness. Am I the only one who can freely admit I can be like them?
Although God does want us to have a good life, there will be times when we must be patient and endure not getting our way. These disappointments test our character and level of spiritual maturity. They actually show whether or not we truly are ready for promotion.
I can be transparent to admit that there are times I’ve whined to God about how I know He came to give us and “abundant life”, but it sure didn’t look like I was the recipient of that abundant life. Why? Because it didn’t look like I thought the abundant life should look like. I thought the abundant life meant all of my needs would be met, that I wouldn’t be in lack or want for anything, and all the material things would be there. Love, work, money, shelter, and the list went on and on.
I had this picture of what the abundant life was supposed to look at from…can I honestly say it…the prosperity message that’s invaded the body of Christ. I concluded that I must not have enough faith or be blessed enough because my picture of the abundant life was clearly not what I was seeing. However, now that I’m much more mature in my Christian walk I realize that I really have the abundant life that God promised me I’d have.
I have a wonderful home life, a beautiful woman for a wife, I have a decent job where I make an alright living, I have a roof over my head, food in my stomach (probably too much since I’ve gone from a size 32 waist to a size 36), and while I still don’t have the exact picture of the abundant life I had…I realize that I have the abundant life that I was promised…and let me be honest enough to say the Promised Land God promised me is better than the one I pictured.
God has truly blessed my socks off, and I’m not in need for anything at all these days. There are things I want like more money from my job, but I understand that to get there I need to perform my job as though I’m doing it for the Lord and not the paycheck. I’ve begun to treat this job as though it’s not just a job, but my company. I realize that God’s going to eventually honor what I do because I’m doing it for Him. I know promotion is going to come, but it’s going to come when the time is right and it fits into HIS perfect plan for my life.
I would like a nicer vehicle, but for now I’m going to have to be content with the one I have. My wife and I would like to have our own home, but now before we get there we have debt we need to pay down and finances that we need to get a godly handle on. So, we took Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University through our church, and now we’re still working on baby steps 1 and 2. We’re having to work and live like no one else now so that one day we will be able to LIVE like no one else. We also have to get ourselves to a place where we’re trusting of God with our finances to tithe because it’s the right thing to do, and I believe once we begin to do that faithfully we’ll reach another level of promotion.
I’m the same way when it comes to my ministry. We have just now for the first time reached the 30 followers plateau on our Facebook page. Now, I understand that if I really want my page to be legit I need 200 plus. So, by my count that means we need at least 170 more followers to visit, check it out, and like our Facebook fan page. Don’t you know that the devil has used that to discourage me, and I’ve allowed it to get me frustrated. I’ve even had one of my pastor’s give me a word of knowledge for the Lord that my ministry will grow…but not at the speed I want it to.
I still have yet to go through the Discipleship Track through my church which is one of the things I need to do to follow along the path that God has set before me. I still have yet to be able to order and begin the Ordination and Licensing through World Christianship Ministries…another one of the steps I need to take before my ministry grows, I’m legally a pastor, and I can get the charter to legally register my ministry. So, there are steps that I still need to take and follow before I get where I want to go…and since God doesn’t grade on a curve…promotion isn’t going to come until He directs it into my life.
The secret of the Christian life is that we commit ourselves fully to God. If we surrender our wills to God, what happens doesn’t make us angry. If God doesn’t give us what we want and ask for, our faith is strong enough to say, “Not my will, but Yours.”
These are the things that slowly, but methodically God is teaching me. Surrender and Faith are the keys to everything in the Kingdom of God. However, I’m not going to pretend that I’m always good at coming to the “not my will, but Yours” conclusion. I still find that I can murmur and complain just like anyone else, but that’s just because the flesh is weak and wants what it wants when it wants it.
One day at a time I’m getting closer to becoming the man who God’s always designed and destined for me to be. In my ministry is where I find today is the place where I have more of a struggle to believe I’ll get where I’m trying to go, but it’s still up to me to realize that it’s not about my will and my timing and my plan. God spoke to me at the beginning of the year, and gave me a detailed outline of what this year was going to be about, and again through that same pastor that gave me the word of knowledge this year.
God said that my development as a pastor this year was going to go along the lines of my church’s mission statement. Seeking God…Loving People…Making Disciples. I’m going to reach and get to where I want to go, but it’s not going to happen any faster than God’s plan and timing demands. The Discipleship track is going to take about 6 months, the ordination is going to take anywhere from a year to two years to complete, and so what I have to be mature enough to understand is that this is just the beginning.
However, in the mean time I am doing exactly what God wants me to do, and how He wants me to do it. This is exactly what I’m supposed to do with my ministry. The Social Network sites are my mission field, and this is how I’m supposed to reach people. Growth will come, people will come, and eventually this will become a full-time ministry. But now, I have to walk exactly how God wants me to walk…one step at a time, and just like the Israelites I am not always good at being patient. However, I have a much more mature understanding today, and that helps me to complain less and less…and praise more and more because I know in my heart that I’m on the road to getting and becoming all that God has designed for me to become…and the fulfillment of His purpose and will for my life comes as I put Proverbs 3:5-6 in to practice on a daily basis.
Conclusion & Prayer:
Why do we think we should always be first? Why do we think we are entitled to the perfect life? Perhaps sometimes we think more highly of ourselves than we ought. A humble mind enables us to take a back seat and wait for God to move us to the front. God’s Word says that we inherit the promises through faith and patience. Believing God is good, but can we continue to believe God and trust Him when we don’t feel that life is fair?
There is a shrinking in me that’s taking place…especially since I began this fast about setting aside some of the worldly interests that have overtaken my desire to be in the presence of God. I had turned certain things into idols, and while He has no issue with me having those interests the issue He does have is that they were becoming more important than spending time in His Word, in His presence, and as a result I was challenged by a message my pastor taught this past Sunday.
Life isn’t fair, but it’s much better when we’re walking in God’s presence. It took me being humble and honest to realize that I’d placed things above Him, and it took obedience to His voice to know that I needed to lay those things aside for a while. It started out being kind of difficult, but now that I’ve spent the last few days reacquainting myself with His presence I realize that it’s all worth while.
Now, I’m starting to come to the place where I realize that I really don’t need those things, and that I need to remember that they’re there strictly for entertainment value and they have no eternal value. I’m also finding that being in God’s presence is just as fun and entertaining as watching television, playing games on the computer, and listening to nothing but praise and worship music or sermons on the radio is much more beneficial to me.
The peace of God’s presence has invaded my life, and I realize what a joy and honor it is to have it…and how easy it is to take it for granted.
Pray: God, help me. I often have strong desires, and when I don’t get what I want, I get upset. Forgive me. Remind me that Jesus didn’t want to die on the cross, but He lived in total submission to Your will. I ask You, through Jesus Christ, to help me live in total submission and be content with what You give me. Amen.