When life doesn’t have an easy button…

“It’s so hard, you know?”  I hear this all the time used as an excuse for making bad choices.

Let’s keep this honest. I don’t know what is hard in your story or how hard it is. We all face hard things and I can only live my own story.  Every day I am challenged to choose differently and not use difficult things in my story as an excuse. I often wish I could just push a button and make this situation or that personal relationship easy, or at least easier!

As I get older, what I continue to learn is that sometimes our choices make life harder.  This is because sometimes what we choose is sin. We try to justify our sinful choices with the excuse that making good choices is somehow beyond our reach.

We go left when asked to go right.  #disobedience

We eat junk when our body says, “eat healthier”.  #rebellion

We stay when we are asked to go.  #NotJustJonahAndTheWhale

We spend more time talking about what we want to do rather than doing it.  #procrastinating

Nike had a slogan of “Just Do It” that made them billions of dollars. They chose well, but choosing well is easier said than done, eh?

Not if you have the right tools.

Spiritual Tools:

Philippians 4:13, “I can do all things through Christ Who gives me strength”.

Matthew 6:33, “Seek first the Kingdom of God and all these other things will be added to it.”

1 Timothy 7-10, “Have nothing to do with godless myths and old wives’ tales; rather, train yourself to be godly.  For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promises for both the present life and the life to come.  This is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance.  That is why we labour and strive, because we have put our hope in the living God, who is the Saviour of all people, and especially of those who believe.”

Could God’s Word be our “easy button” for choices that lead to strength, peace, patience, endurance, perseverance…whatever you need to make your load lighter?

Physical Fitness Tool:

Finding the right fitness plan for you and your body.  For me, I have learned that I need people with me when I exercise to help me stay consistent.  Not just a gym full of fellow strugglers but one or two people who will come alongside and exercise with me but also push me to get better.  Sadly, I have yet to find such companions.

Emotional Mental Tool:

A trusted friend is great but sometimes we need more than that to carry the heavy stuff up and away from our path.  A counselor, Life Coach or Spiritual Director that will give you a different perspective to help lighten your load.

The Gospel:

The sacrifice Jesus made on the cross for you and for me. I am guessing that having nails pierced through hands and feet and donning a crown of thorns for the sake of another…IS HARD.  Every hard thing I have ever experienced in my life, pales in comparison.

For those of us that claim that “we are hidden with Christ in God” (Colossians 3), this means we are to take up that cross and follow Him…regardless of how hard the situation is.

I don’t recall hearing that Jesus grumbled or complained about how hard it was to take our sin upon Him.  He prayed.  He obeyed.  He did what His Father asked Him to.  He wanted God’s Will.

Having trouble obeying?

You are not alone! However, choosing to obey (with God’s promised help) will give you the freedom and peace you seek and bring clarity of what God’s Will is for you.  The more you grumble and complain, the further you get pulled away from intimacy with God.

Neil Anderson puts it this way. (RE: temptation)

  1. Lust of the flesh draws us away from the Will of God (destroying our dependence on God; John 15:5) When we give into this lust we trust more in our own ways and ideas than we do the Holy Spirit.
  2. Lust of the eyes draws us away from God’s Word (destroying our confidence in God; John 15:7) We allow the world, the flesh, and the devil to fill us with their thoughts and words instead of God’s truth.
  3. Pride of life draws us away from Worship of God (destroying our obedience to God; John 15:8-10) We embrace our idols rather than find comfort in the presence of God.

*italics mine

Do you want to obey God? Are you struggling with knowing His Will, with being in and understanding His Word, or do you lack Worship? Maybe it is lust and pride that is distracting you.

REFLECTION:

Question is… “what are you willing to do about it?”

 

Thank you for joining me on this journey.

Kinita

My Wake-Up Call

Matthew 6:24 says, “No one can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and Money”.

Our team at the top of the Monkey Temple for Buddhist and Hindu believers.

Our team at the top of the Monkey Temple for Buddhist and Hindu believers.

Saturday April 25th, 2015 will forever remain in my story for many reasons. That was the day of the tragic earthquake in Nepal that killed over eight thousand people and rendered millions homeless, not to forget all the people that will live with the trauma of that day in the deepest parts of their soul for months and maybe years to come. I am discovering that being a survivor of a tragedy like that challenges me to think about “what is really important to me”.

Since my conversion to Jesus Christ at the age of 14, I have grown to really love the LORD and have chosen to serve Him ONLY. Like most relationships, there have also been ups and downs in my relationship with Him. There have been times when I have grown in trust, faith, understanding and strength while at other times I was afraid, doubted, or held on to fear, pride, self-protection or other things that I believed were important to me. Yet, time and time again, God would bring me to scripture passages that would gently turn my heart away from those ups and downs and help me to focus the eyes of my heart on Him.

That day when the LORD shifted the tectonic plates, ultimately destroying physical Hindu idols and monuments made and worshiped by man, I believe He also crushed my idol of self-protection.

You see, protecting myself (aka: porcupine – see “blog post called “Anger Management”) was what was very important to me leading up to that day. You could call it my idol. Although I had confessed and surrendered it on several occasions, I guess it was never completely gone.

The Porcupine I used as a visual aid.

The Porcupine I used as a visual aid.

That day not only did the earthquake take down physical idols that were important to Hindus, my idol of self-protection was crushed – permanently.

Idols can be defined as things that are so important to us that we would be devastated if they were gone. They block our view of Jehovah Jireh (God as Provider). We then run the risk of missing the way He is providing for us in our crisis.

At noon on the day of the earthquake, the Hindu “rain god” was to be paraded through the streets of Kathmandu. The Hindus had prepared a way for the 7-story-tall rain god to move through the city by taking power lines down and blocking area roadways for it’s safe passing. The earthquake hit at 11:56 and was so powerful it toppled and destroyed that structure. To me that was a wake-up call to the church (Church = who we are not just where we go), the Body of Christ, the Body of believers to acknowledge our idols.

The remains of a Hindu temple following the April 25th earthquake.

The remains of a Hindu temple following the April 25th earthquake.

In the Hindu faith, the religion includes worship of stone gods and idols that are in plain view of passersby. In the Christian faith, however, as much as it is a religion, it is more specifically a relationship with a living God. This relationship with Jesus produces a transforming of our hearts and lives so we reflect a living God and not the things of this world.

Unfortunately, some Christians tend to hide idols (in their heart) while showing great commitment to God on the outside (perhaps through service or words). Let’s not forget that, “…The LORD does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.” (1 Samuel 16:7). I assure you, I am not exempt from that. The Holy Spirit reminds me everyday to hold things loosely so as not turn them into idols.

I believe that Christians would experience the abundant life referred to in John 10:10, “I have come that they may have life and have it abundantly” more effectively if we grew in our understanding and awareness of our internal idols.

I like the way author and pastor Tim Keller says it. In his Epilogue, he writes, “…idolatry is always the reason we ever do anything wrong”. He then quotes Martin Luther, “the fundamental motivation behind lawbreaking is idolatry” (referring to the Ten Commandments). There is something you feel you must have to be happy, something that is more important to your heart than God Himself.” (pages 165-166; “Counterfeit Gods”)

All this might sound judgemental to you (believer) but the truth is, as we read in 1Corinthians 5:12 and 13, “What business is it of mine to judge those outside the church? Are you not to judge those inside? God will judge those outside…”. We are also called to “build each other up in the faith” (1Thessalonians 5:11) and that is my hearts desire. In reality, when idols are brought into the light, they not only lose their power but we make more room for Jesus.

Want more Jesus?

“For although they knew God, they neither glorified Him as God nor gave thanks to Him….They exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshipped and served created things rather than The Creator”. (Romans 1:21, 25)

Hey believers, can we please stop feeding our idols and instead, can we be united in Christ and share Him with the world?

REFLECTION:

Ask God to show you the things or people that “if they are removed from your life” you would be devastated.

How powerful are the idols in your life?

What do you need to take down so you can make room for MORE God in your life?

Are you being lead by your idols or lead by Jesus?

Thank you for joining me on my journey.  Blessings on yours.

Kinita