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The Way to Permanent Faith
Indeed the hour is coming . . . that you will be scattered . . . —John 16:32
Jesus was not rebuking the disciples in this passage. Their faith was real, but it was disordered and unfocused, and was not at work in the important realities of life. The disciples were scattered to their own concerns and they had interests apart from Jesus Christ. After we have the perfect relationship with God, through the sanctifying work of the Holy Spirit, our faith must be exercised in the realities of everyday life. We will be scattered, not into service but into the emptiness of our lives where we will see ruin and barrenness, to know what internal death to God’s blessings means. Are we prepared for this? It is certainly not of our own choosing, but God engineers our circumstances to take us there. Until we have been through that experience, our faith is sustained only by feelings and by blessings. But once we get there, no matter where God may place us or what inner emptiness we experience, we can praise God that all is well. That is what is meant by faith being exercised in the realities of life.
“. . . you . . . will leave Me alone.” Have we been scattered and have we left Jesus alone by not seeing His providential care for us? Do we not see God at work in our circumstances? Dark times are allowed and come to us through the sovereignty of God. Are we prepared to let God do what He wants with us? Are we prepared to be separated from the outward, evident blessings of God? Until Jesus Christ is truly our Lord, we each have goals of our own which we serve. Our faith is real, but it is not yet permanent. And God is never in a hurry. If we are willing to wait, we will see God pointing out that we have been interested only in His blessings, instead of in God Himself. The sense of God’s blessings is fundamental
“. . . be of good cheer, I have overcome the world” (John 16:33). Unyielding spiritual fortitude is what we need.
|I’m a Meddler
“… aspire to live quietly, and to mind your own affairs, and to work with your hands, as we instructed you.” 1 Thessalonians 4:11 (ESV)
I did it again. Stepped in to a situation that didn’t concern me. I told myself I was helping, but it wasn’t my place to speak up. As usual, it backfired.
Contemplating all that had happened that evening, Jesus spoke to me. Of course, not literally spoke to me, but He nudged my heart: You’re a meddler, Lynn, and you need to be done with it. When you meddle, you are not trusting. When you meddle, you are saying I can’t handle it. You know I can. So be done with it. No more.
I’m a meddler.
I like to say I’m a “fixer.” That’s what I have called it in the past, but truth is, that’s just a nicer way of putting it.
Not a gossiper. No, that is someone who intentionally separates and that’s not my heart. I want to help. Really I do.
I’m a meddler. Dictionary.com defines the verb “meddle” this way: “To involve oneself in a matter without right or invitation; interfere officiously and unwantedly.”
Without right or invitation. That’s what I do. Seeing an unhappy, unhealthy or unholy situation I listen to the whisper in my head. Since I see it, I think I’m instructed to do something about it.
But most often, I am not. In fact, 1 Thessalonians 4:11 says “… aspire to live quietly, and to mind your own affairs, and to work with your hands, as we instructed you.”
My place is to be quiet and pray. But I still prefer to fix, manipulate and get involved.
In other words, I meddle.
So, there you have it. Now that I see my actions for what they are, it’s my responsibility to change. And in order to change, I will have to slow down before I take action or open my mouth. I’ll have to ask myself: Are you meddling?
Will I be tempted to meddle? Every day. Will I mess up? I hope not, but it’s highly probable. I’m human. My desire, though, is to mind my own affairs and let Jesus get involved. I will ask Him for prayers to pray, not words to say.
This change is going to be hard. But I know Jesus is serious about not meddling. Proverbs 26:17 says, “Whoever meddles in a quarrel not his own is like one who takes a passing dog by the ears” (ESV). In other words, meddling isn’t smart! And that is not what I want to be; I want to be wise.
Any other meddlers out there? Can you think of times when you got involved and you shouldn’t have? Especially when the thing Jesus wanted you to do was to pray — and only pray? Let’s pray for each other and ask Jesus to open our eyes to see and leave our troubles up to Him.
Jesus, I’m a woman who wants to be a fixer. But that’s not really my place; it’s Yours. Open my eyes before I step in, and empower me to resist the temptation to get involved. Teach me to pray instead, Lord. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Alone In The Desert
“And he took them, and went aside privately into a desert place” (Luke 9:10).
In order to grow in grace, we must be much alone. It is not in society that the soul grows most vigorously. In one single quiet hour of prayer it will often make more progress than in days of company with others. It is in the desert that the dew falls freshest and the air is purest.
“Come ye yourselves apart and rest awhile,
Weary, I know it, of the press and throng,
Wipe from your brow the sweat and dust of toil,
And in My quiet strength again be strong.
“Come ye aside from all the world holds dear,
For converse which the world has never known,
Alone with Me, and with My Father here,
With Me and with My Father not alone.
“Come, tell Me all that ye have said and done,
Your victories and failures, hopes and fears.
I know how hardly souls are wooed and won:
My choicest wreaths are always wet with tears.
“Come ye and rest; the journey is too great,
And ye will faint beside the way and sink;
The bread of life is here for you to eat,
And here for you the wine of love to drink.
“Then fresh from converse with your Lord return,
And work till, daylight softens into even:
The brief hours are not lost in which ye learn
More of your Master and His rest in Heaven.”