The Holy Spirit zapped me this morning with the idea that perhaps much of my daily stress is rooted in times I don’t live, make decisions, or plan ahead to please God. Instead, many of my choices are made to please others, or myself.
There is an illusion to deal with here as well. I can feel as if I’m “doing this for the Lord” and go along putting my plan in place without ever listening to His small voice restraining me or directing a different choice. Momentum is very powerful, and the enemy takes advantage of it. That ensares me in a whole messy web of tangles: trying to be more responsive to people’s needs but never quite getting there; or feeling as if once I’ve begun moving in a certain direction, I can’t change–it’s too late. Faith in my King takes a backseat. Living this way causes frustration, disappointment, and feelings of rejection and fear which then cause more frustration… you get the point.
Could it be that I truly am not responsible, or even accountable, for other people’s satisfaction? What if the results of my good works in Christ’s name really aren’t any of my business? I also suspect my difficulty grasping this is related to the spiritual battles constantly taking place (see “Agreeing with the Devil”).
God is calling me to follow Him through my days, months, years and let Him handle others’ lives. He will certainly use me to minister to people, but so much more powerfully if I’m zeroed in on seeking His pleasure and glory! Why is this so hard?
Ah yes, that old pesky sin nature, still lurking around, sniping, drawing me to worship my own flesh. One of my greatest weaknesses is the expectation that my flesh and the enemy will just give up trying to corrupt my actions at some point. But Scripture makes no such promises this side of Heaven. Victory will be found in this life, no question, as “in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.” (Romans 8:37) But the old, crucified sinful nature is still tied to my ankle; I still live in this body. Yet, He shows me the truth, and I can’t help but grin with joy: what Satan and my sin nature intend is immaterial–God is using their vain efforts, designed to render me impotent, as tools in my sanctification! It is such glorious and characteristic irony, my love for Him overflows. Glory to God! Hallelujah!
“What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death? Thanks be to God—through Jesus Christ our Lord!” (Romans 7:24-25a)
“And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit, who lives in you.” (Romans 8:11)
“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” (Romans 8:28)
Copyright (c) 2009 Jeffrey R. Snell
Scripture Taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION
Copyright (c) 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society.
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