My Way or God’s Way?
I have a confession to make. I’m very particular about how my dishwasher gets loaded. It feels so silly to say it out loud. But I’m telling you, if bowls, glasses, and plates don’t get put in a certain way, I don’t feel like they get properly cleaned.
My husband knows I feel this way. And whether or not he agrees with me, he does his best to abide by my dishwasher protocols.
Sometimes he’ll ask me, “Where do you want this glass to go?”
“Wherever you think it fits best,” I usually respond. And at the time, I really mean it. But if I’m in the kitchen alone, sometimes I can’t help but sneak a peek and see if I think there’s a better place for the glass to go. Sometimes I leave it, sometimes I move it, and sometimes I end up spending way too much time rearranging the entire dishwasher trying to find the perfect place for everything.
Have you ever done this with God? Just like with my dishwasher, there are times in my life when I feel like only I know best. I find that I often tell others that I trust God to work out His sovereign will over a situation, and then I end up trying to rework things to be how I prefer them. I say that I know that God has control over my life, and then I end up trying to wrestle it away and take back control for myself.
Yesterday, after spending ten minutes moving and rearranging my dishwasher, I realized that I had ended up putting everything back where it had been when I started. This is exactly what happens when I try and take control away from God. I waste time and energy moving pieces around that are ultimately going to fall into place according to God’s will. As we are reminded in Proverbs 16:9 (ESV):
“The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps.”
When Jesus taught the disciples to pray in Matthew chapter 6, He started His prayer out like this:
“Our Father in Heaven, hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.” (Matthew 6:9-10)
He prayed a similar prayer in the Garden of Gethsemane:
“My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as you will.” (Matthew 26:39)
Jesus consistently prayed for the Lord’s will to be done! What a humbling example Christ has set for us.
When I pray according to Jesus’ example, “Your will be done,” I am surrendering my control to the Lord. I am setting aside my pride and my “I know best” attitude. Instead, I am acknowledging that God’s will is sovereign and that I value His goodness and faithfulness over my own plans and desires.
So, when we are struggling to submit to the Lord’s plans because we so badly want control over a situation, let us humbly come before our Sovereign Father with a heart of surrender and follow Christ’s example by praying:
“Our Father in Heaven, hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.”
Genesis 3:6 6When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it.
Yesterday we saw a few of Satan’s strategies, and in this verse, we see why they are affective. In 1John 2:15-17, John wrote that the world consists of the lust of the eyes, the lust of the flesh and the pride of life. When Satan was able to get Eve to question God, she looked at the fruit. The child of God is to walk by faith and not by sight. We are to see in the spiritual realm what is eternal with our spiritual eyes and not be tricked by what we see in the physical. It looked good for food. Was it? As good as death! But she allowed her eyes to deceive her, instead of trusting in what God had said.
The fruit looked like it could satisfy her natural desires. The world never really satisfies. We often think it can fill the void within, but it leaves us hungrier than before. Like all addiction there is some satisfaction; but we find the constant need to increase the quantity of money, drugs, food, sex or whatever it is we are seeking, to fill our emptiness. Finally, that excess ends in an empty death. The void within us can only be filled by the eternal, infinite God.
She thought it would make her wise. There is a grain of truth in Satan’s lies. She would know what it was to rebel against God, to feel remorse, to be separated from His presence, to fear His justice.
These three weaknesses that both this story and the Apostle John described are with us today as much as ever. Recognize them! They are of the world. The world and its lusts pass away, but he who does the will of His Father lives forever.
Prayer: Lord, help me to see that satisfaction is found in God alone.
Contentment – Streams in the Desert – January 7
- 20237 Jan
I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content (Philippians 4:11).
Paul, denied of every comfort, wrote the above words in his dungeon.
A story is told of a king who went into his garden one morning, and found everything withered and dying. He asked the oak that stood near the gate what the trouble was. He found it was sick of life and determined to die because it was not tall and beautiful like the pine. The pine was all out of heart because it could not bear grapes, like the vine. The vine was going to throw its life away because it could not stand erect and have as fine fruit as the peach tree. The geranium was fretting because it was not tall and fragrant like the lilac.
And so on all through the garden. Coming to a heart’s-ease, he found its bright face lifted as cheery as ever. “Well, heart’s-ease, I’m glad, amidst all this discouragement, to find one brave little flower. You do not seem to be the least disheartened.” “No, I am not of much account, but I thought that if you wanted an oak, or a pine, or a peach tree, or a lilac, you would have planted one; but as I knew you wanted a heart’s-ease, I am determined to be the best little heart’s-ease that I can.”
Others may do a greater work,
But you have your part to do;
And no one in all God’s heritage
Can do it so well as you.
They who are God’s without reserve, are in every state content; for they will only what He wills, and desire to do for Him whatever He desires them to do; they strip themselves of everything, and in this nakedness find all things restored an hundredfold.
From: Today Devotions
SCRIPTURE READING — EPHESIANS 3:20-21
Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine. . . .
My grandson, who is eight years old (going on 40), and my mother, who is age 91, share an incredible bond of friendship that is quite wonderful and unique. Over the years as they have spent time together, they have excitedly planned fun things to do. One of these occasions was a trip to the circus. Charlie got his tickets at school and couldn’t wait to get home to call and see if my mother was ready to go on their date. They arranged their limo ride (Grandpa), and with eyes wide with wonder they were thrilled to see the circus stars perform. The performance delivered more than they had imagined.
Ephesians aims to do the same and much more for us. Through Jesus, God has provided new life and amazing possibilities for us, and our Lord is able to do more than we could ever imagine in our wildest dreams. He knows every detail of our lives, and he knows the best life for us to live.
Today is a good day to sit and imagine with Jesus. Start with a Bible story you know, or read one that is new to you, and imagine what it was like to be there. What did God do? And what were the people around you doing?
Now imagine what your story today could look like. Invite Jesus into your activities today and expect to have your imagination stretched.