I find it disturbing when I read comments from members of various religious groups advising people to allow the Holy Spirit to use them; or ask God to use them to fulfill His purposes in life. Call me crazy, but the prospect of someone or something using me is downright scary! Submitting to God, I get; being willing and humble to learn, I get; asking God to work mightily in me, I get; asking God to teach me, I totally get… but God using me to fulfill His purposes, I don’t get! One of the most awesome and wonderful things I love about God is that He never, ever violates our freedom of will. Have you ever seen the bumper sticker that says, God is my co-pilot?” Well, God isn’t going to fly your plane, I can assure you. You have to fly your plane with God’s help. God’s part is to keep you from crashing in whatever form that may take while helping you to master the skills involved. We don’t ever turn over our free will to anyone else and God won’t take it over, so you do the math. That, my friends, is a perilous path. It is similar to when people say things like, “God took away my desire to drink or to smoke or to sin, etc.” We should only wish it was that easy. Instead, God works inside of us to understand the things that may have been hurting us and in that understanding we can make the necessary decisions to change the things that we need to change. So, the first lesson here is that we can’t confuse our job with God’s job. Life gets difficult when I’m trying to do His part or if I’m expecting Him to do my part…
I have often wondered why everyone wouldn’t seek God’s help, seeing He is so kind and helpful. And then I think maybe it is because people view a relationship with God in terms of sin. Sort of like, I don’t want to hear about all the things I do wrong; no thanks! Lesson number 2 – a relationship with God has nothing to do with sin. Oh I know you’ve heard all the preachers preaching about sin and hell and punishment etc. But at the end of the day, that’s just religion seeking to control people by making them afraid. God certainly doesn’t seek your worship and love because you are scared to death of Him. And, being all-knowing seems to indicate that maybe He knows all about the humans he formed and made! Ya know? The word “sin” comes from a word that means, “to miss the mark.” Now think about this for second…you either hit the mark or you miss the mark, right? The difference between really, really, really missing the mark and simply missing the mark is non-existent. There aren’t levels of missing the mark because a miss is a miss. But alas, people like to assign levels and back under the thumb go the sheep! The process of identifying that you may have missed the mark isn’t to condemn you or judge you or defeat you, it’s to help you learn to hit the mark so you can frikken win! (haha I said frikken) God wants His people to win; to overcome; to prosper; to get healed; to live in victory! There are certain choices that we make that turn out well and there are some choices that cause us pain. God doesn’t need to beat you up for ignorantly choosing the painful route, you already suffered the pain, right? Instead, like a good Papa, he simply consoles you and promises to make it alright again. If my young child jumps off the roof and breaks his leg, a lecture about the height of roofs is totally unnecessary, aint it? But some guidance on how to have fun without the pain – priceless!
We need God’s help and guidance (and a whole bunch of love) to successfully navigate life. So, lesson number 3 is to seek God’s help! Ask God to show you why you keep getting defeated and then be willing to see the stuff He is showing you. Now, I should add that He isn’t going to teach you a lesson you need by freaking you out! That is not a lesson. He is going to teach you in ways that you can understand and that you can handle, much the same way you would teach your child a lesson appropriate for their age and maturity level. And while I’m thinking about children, if your child asked you to teach them about something or asked you how something worked, how long would you make them wait to learn the lesson? My guess is that you would begin teaching right when they asked you. God, who already loves you, will begin the moment you ask. It’s not that He isn’t listening to your request, but more that we are not paying attention to the lesson; or don’t believe that this lesson has any value; or presume that the lesson at hand has absolutely nothing to do with the request we made. And there as plain as day, right in front of us, is the beginning phases of the deliverance we seek. Not too heavy; not overwhelming, but here a little and there a little until the message is crystal clear.
In the great archery contest of life, God wants you to hit the bulls-eye every time you shoot. He won’t operate the bow for you, nor will he change the direction of your arrows, but if you are willing, He will work in you to get to the prize over and over and over again. He isn’t keeping track of when you missed the mark, no matter how badly you may have missed it, but instead will lovingly reach out to you to take another shot. And when you sincerely ask for His help in the contest, if you pay attention, you will get much more than you ever imagined! Life is good folks…with God’s help!