…A question just about everyone has or will ask themselves…it is one of the highest questions one must answer, for so much is riding on the answers you believe to be true about this question!
Eternity hangs on the balance, true, but if you aren’t into waiting for the pie in the sky (as many people are), then I submit to you, that God is working in and through you, in order to prepare you and have you change in the here and now…so, have Steak on the Plate, while you wait!
Whether you are a Christ follower already, or not, this article is for YOU! God gives us family and friends, as well as allows situations to happen, in order to change our inner being, and to change our outward actions. He’s doing it to draw YOU to Himself. Whether you know it or not, you are being tested and refined. Some of you are taking way longer than you need to, on the same issues! Are you prone to… depression?(outward things getting you down) anger? (reactions of it or rage) hopelessness? (the go to of being ready to give up) rebellion? (not being willing to take on the assignment God has for you) anxiety? (being unwilling to surrender to what God is putting you through)…Which is YOUR go to? It’s an indication of what needs to change!
And what needs to change is YOU! I’m not off the hook here…what needs to change is ALL of us!! God is forming a most intricate and amazing quilt, by weaving the lives of people together. Your children, your parents, your spouse, your friends, and all people that come in contact with you…every single one of them are there to change you, and refine you, for one purpose only: to glorify God!
So you have people in your life that “make you mad”, or situations that “make you feel anxious”, or constant issues that cause you to want to give up or rebel? It’s NOT the other person’s fault! You aren’t reactively angry, or depressed or anxious or hopeless or rebellious because your child, spouse, friend, stranger has done or said something…you are reactively living in that place because of YOU! And you are going to continue getting and seeing those same things play out in your life, until and unless you get to a place where you actually lay down your life…your own ways, to pick up those of Christ. However, you will have to do the hard work of getting to the root cause of your go to behaviors!
You won’t get this, if you aren’t already a Christ follower: that’s OK, my only prayer for you is that you will continue to seek and ask to find truth, because God WILL show it to you! For those of you who are Christ followers, please understand what an amazingly huge key this is in your life!! You are to be a light to others…different from the rest of the world, for one purpose only: to show Jesus to the world! This means ESPECIALLY amongst those who know you best! YOU are the testimonial that Jesus is real…so, IS HE TO YOU??? Are you worshiping Him, or without realizing, worshiping something of the world? Could you have been processing things from a worldly perspective, without realizing it? Do things of this world trap you? Many Christians will have a gut, churchy answer: “Of course not!” Really? Do you put cares and emotional expense in money? or education? or cleanliness? or secular grading practices of any kind? (your children’s grades, or your own grades in school, how and who moves up at work, how your kids act in front of others, how a friend or a spouse compares to someone else, how people see or judge your work, etc…). Does your own performance or your spouse’s or your children’s in these areas cause a negative emotional reaction in you? While there is nothing inherently wrong with “looking good”, there is something very wrong with having those things define your actions and your words to yourself and to others! God doesn’t care one wit about these things…yet we allow these things to destroy our testimony to those closest to us…and guess who is leading the way on that? Our Enemy, Satan!!
He loves nothing more than to put you in a place of anything but joy…so that God cannot be glorified in your actions or words. It’s as simple as that. And if you seek to please the Lord, and be a light to others, including your children, spouse, family, friends, and even strangers, please remember this: it doesn’t matter what beautiful and correct words you speak in sharing Biblical quotes, or how vast a knowledge you have stored in your understanding, it only matters what is visible to others…your attitudes, your actions, your reactions, and your responses.
You can talk a good God talk all day long, but in the end, if you receive word of something that you don’t like, no matter what it is, or if you see something you don’t like, no matter what it is, and you do not react or respond in love, you are not being Christ to others, you are not showing mercy and grace, and you are not glorifying Him in any way.
The good news is: it’s all up to YOU, and whether you are willing to surrender to God’s ways, or keep turning to the same ways that have tripped you up, and wasted your time with anything negative…yep, if it isn’t love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self control, you’ve not shown Christ, and you’ve been unknowingly following the ways of the World and of your enemy, who as John 10:10 shows, “…comes only to kill, steal, and destroy”…you, and those you come in contact with! The one thing that you MUST know about this, is that even though it is all up to you, YOU must do the hard work of getting rid of the root cause of your negative go to actions and words…that will be my next blog!
Until then, friends…as soon as you feel stress or negative stuff come bubbling up, if you are a Christ follower, take a time out, and seek Him, BEFORE you tear into the person or the issue…it’s probably not even worth getting bent out of shape! It’s a test! And the only way to pass it, is to choose Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Faithfulness, Gentleness, and Self Control. You really need to keep saying that to yourself…this is what separates human action and reaction from a godly one!
BTW, if you are that person who sits there and says, “yeah, but, there’s nothing wrong with …, and there is a time and place for everything” my questions to you are these: how does your BUT fit into the fruit of the Spirit, and how has it served you in any way before? And, in what way is your stress or anger towards that which God deems important? (Righteous anger is only that dealing with issues that God hates, not issues of personal comfort or personal preferences). Remember, you can present ANYTHING and deal with ANYTHING negative, in a loving, joyful, peaceful, patient, kind, good, faithful, gentle and self-controlled manner…if that’s not happening, that’s NOT showing Christ in you, and that’s NOT glorifying Him whom you serve! And saying mean, hurtful, judgmental or upsetting words or showing disapproval or displeasure by gritting your teeth, and saying it in a seemingly “controlled manner”, does not cut it as fitting into any of the fruit of the spirit categories…not even self-control.
You know you are glorifying God most, when things are not going your way, yet your go to is the fruit of the spirit. That is the joy of the Lord manifested in the here and now…Steak on the Plate, while you wait…and for those not Christ followers, do not let other’s actions who claim to be Believers trip you up…seek God yourself…He will reveal Himself to YOU…He will make your path straight…YOUR personal walk with Him will be one of the greatest adventures you will ever be on in this life, and the next!!
The first picture is an outward image of our own way. The last picture is an outward image of God’s way…may we help each other get and stay on the right path!