Well, shoot. I really did not anticipate being back here so soon. I kind of felt like I had washed my hands of conviction for a while with that last post. But, alas, here I am. Can I tell you that the devil is speaking deep to me right now telling me that I’m getting a little annoying with the number of these that I’m cranking out in a week…that’s why I was really hoping for a little mini vacation from this for a while – give the people a break, amiright?
But, I guess God wasn’t having any of it.
As I was in prayer today, and ironically thanking God for the courage he gave me for my last post about seeking control – I heard his undeniable voice speak deep into my heart – “then why are you still trying to control me?”. And I’ll be honest – it brought me to tears. Because He was right…as He always is.
I have been so focused on not trying to control my circumstances, situations, and relationships that very subtly – God became my new vehicle for control. Maybe you know what I mean? I started praying prayers as a way to control my reality. If I just pray a specific way about a specific thing then it’ll all be under control. Does that even make sense? I started to treat God like a genie. Sure, I could feel better that it appeared I was relinquishing control – but really, I hadn’t. I was trusting God for MY plan – not settling in and trusting Him for HIS plan. When lets be honest – that’s the plan I’m after, my plans are hogwash.
Praying and expecting prayers to be answered is biblical – God wants us to have faith in our prayers. Praying, expecting them to be answered – on our timeline, in our way, with our perceived “best outcome” is simply trying to use God as a pawn. But don’t get it twisted – He is the King, we are His pawns. His way is higher – our way is human. Our best doesn’t even scratch the surface of His best. And yet I find myself like giving God a road map. Haha – it’s laughable. Seriously. I find myself giving Him suggestions…as if I deserve any input on the future and glorification of His eternal Kingdom, as if any suggestion I have could even come close to what He actually has planned…My plans and suggestions are self-centered and self-serving, not Kingdom-centered.
Looking back at my walk with Christ – which started with a bold declaration when I was nine years old – followed by many years of back and forth, up and down – caring more about what the world had to say rather than what God had to say. I can pin point the reason it was never “solid” – why I was never able to boldly follow Christ when it really mattered, why whenever things got tough, or I was faced with the choice between flesh and faith, flesh always prevailed. It was because I never understood that none of this is about me.
I never understood that it was an invitation to run this race for God’s Kingdom, not an invite to run this race for my own kingdom. This is about God’s glory – not my glory. I never understood that ultimately – God doesn’t need me. This thing is happening with or without my involvement.
I never understood that because this isn’t about me – things weren’t always going to go my way. Anyone pray those desperate “if-then” prayers to God? God if you help me get an A on my math test, then I’ll follow you. Then you’d get a B and be like disappointed with Him? Almost trying to force God’s hand with prayer? Then you’d do it again, and maybe this time it was something a little bigger than a grade. I was always looking for the quick-fix God, and I’m not sure where I learned that’s what God was all about…but God is God regardless of who we ASSUME He is, and he is not always a 1-minute microwave kinda dude.
I never understood that God isn’t a God of after thought – God is a God of devotion. Meaning I thought I could just live my life the way I saw fit – and He would help me do it my way. Nah. Doesn’t work like that homie.
I never understood that a life with Christ wouldn’t be easier – it would actually be harder. It’s harder to follow Christ than it is to not follow Christ…and anyone who tells you differently – they’re wrong. In fact – God promises us it will be harder. God promises us it will be painful. So, as a young Christian when I always expected an easier path because I had God – I missed the entire point. I followed Christ with a “me” centered attitude – and I never understood why He wouldn’t just listen to me. And tbh – I catch glimpses of that attitude even still.
A life with Christ is the most abundant, life-giving, joyful life I’ve ever experienced hands down, bar none – but, it is definitely a lot harder than following the herds of the world.
And this is the fascinating paradox about following Christ – while it’s easy to assume this is all about us (because Jesus literally died on the cross specifically for us and He loves us so deeply and individually) – the reality is that this isn’t about us at all. It’s about His Kingdom, and when we make the choice to follow Jesus – it has to stop being about us, because that’s what following Jesus is ALL about. It has to start being about serving and loving other people, about glorifying Christ, about giving away what He has given to us.
See what none of that says? Jesus doesn’t say that our name will be glorified. He doesn’t say that we will get our way. He doesn’t say that our life will be easier, because when your life is about serving others and serving God – you just have to put yourself last. In a society that’s telling us that it’s okay to be selfish, and encourages the constant #selfies – it’s easy to get confused. But let’s be honest here, what kind of God would call us to serve ourselves? What kind of God would exist just for the mere purpose of meeting every individuals needs as THEY see fit? I know I can’t trust myself with hardly any major decision – have ya seen the rest of the world? Have you seen what happens when people DO get their way? Disaster. And honestly – I think God sometimes lets us get our way just to remind us that we’re pretty dumb.
But these paradoxes – they’re one of the coolest parts of the Bible to me – the fact that it’s filled with what the world would consider “backward” ideology or upside down thinking. “The last shall be first”, “to find life you must lose your life”, “Blessed are the poor in spirit” (lol – that almost got published as “poop”), “Love your enemies”. I want to follow a God of paradoxes and upside down thinking.
I believe this self-centered thinking is what turns people off from the God they’ve made up in their mind. I believe it’s the reason so many people walk away from faith. They’re missing the whole point.
Guys, SO many people are following (or walking away from) a God that is a construct of their imagination (or society’s misinterpretation) – a God that is the way they think God should be, a God that they can control. That kind of God is built on sinking sand. I also believe this is the God that people who don’t claim Christianity despise – because some Christians have been using this man-made construct “God” as a reason to start wars, oppress genders, abuse specific groups of people, and ultimately spread a vindictive, violent – “my way or the highway message”. And that is NOT the God of the Bible. Period. If you believe any of that to be the truth of the Christian God – you have bought a lie from the devil, and you are betting your eternity on it.
When you spend time getting to know God for real – like get to know who HE says he is – not who YOU or others says he is – you’ll have a hard time turning away. You’ll have a hard time believing that any of this could possibly be about just you. You’ll get to a point where you desperately want to know Him more, where you beg for opportunities to serve other people. You’ll get to a point where you stop playing genie in a bottle with God – and start praying for HIS desires for your heart…and watch your desires change.
Idk about you, but I don’t want to live in a world where I’m at the center of it. I want to follow a God that puts his Son in the middle of it.
Idk about you, but I don’t want to follow a God that promotes self-centered thinking. I want to follow a God that tells his followers to love others more than themselves.
Idk about you, but I don’t want to follow a God that I can control. I want to follow a God that leads me to His best.
And so, my friends, perhaps you will get a break from me now.
Or maybe see you tomorrow. Idk – letting God handle it.