Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Mutually Opposed

Many of us find two opposing desires in our hearts. The desires are the desire to live life on our terms and the desire to follow God. It would be nice if the two were the same, but they are not. The one is about maintaining control in our lives, while the other one is about surrendering that control to God. This doesn’t mean that we want to live some evil lifestyle, but it does mean that we don’t trust God to do what is best.

John Eldredge in Walking with God writes about these two desires:
“I want two things that are mutually opposed—I want to live a nice little life, and I want to play an important role in God’s kingdom. And it’s in those times that I am trying to live a nice little life that I make decisions and choices that cause me in small and subtle ways to live outside of Jesus. The Shepherd is headed one direction, and I am headed another. Not to some flagrant sin—that’s too easy to recognize. Instead, I’m simply wandering off looking for the pasture I deem best.” (pp. 89-90)

I don’t want to speak for you, but I know this summarizes my life. On the one hand I want the life I want to life, a nice life that is safe and comfortable, but on the other hand I want to be part of what God is doing in this world, and thus putting me in the sights of the Enemy. A life following Jesus is anything but safe and secure.

My flesh always pulls me towards the life I want, the life of my dreams. What is frustrating, and I would bet that you have been there too, is that the life of my dreams never really becomes a reality. It always seems to remain just out of reach. And if by chance we have a few moments when we think we have achieved it, it just doesn’t seem to be everything that we dreamed it would be. It is very unsatisfying.

As long as we live here on earth we are going to be pulled in these two directions. We are either going to use our time and energy to create the life we think will make us happy, or we will do the hard thing and devote our lives to following Jesus and to the life that He wants us to live.

I want you to think about what the apostle Paul wrote to the Colossians:
For this reason, since the day we heard about this, we have not stopped praying for you and asking that you may be filled with the full knowledge of God's will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, so that you might live in a manner worthy of the Lord and be fully pleasing to him as you bear fruit in every good work and grow in the full knowledge of God. (Colossians 1:9-10; ISV)

If we are going to follow after Jesus and live a life that is pleasing to God then we must seek out His will. It is through the wisdom and understanding that God gives us through His Word that we can know how He wants us to live. Without God’s Word in our lives we will continue to try to create a life that we think will make us happy.

It isn’t enough just to know and understand God’s will. The key is to be obedient to God’s will. The way God’s will makes a difference in our lives is when we adjust our lives to it. If we aren’t willing to obey God, then knowing His will doesn’t make one bit of difference in our lives. We need to be committed to doing God’s will, no matter what the cost or where His will might take us.

Our desires to have a nice little life and to live the life God created us to live are mutually opposed (though I should add that when the first is our goal we will never achieve it, but when the second is our goal we will have a life that is so much better than what we had dreamed), and if we are going to follow Jesus we will have to lay down our dreams and desires in order to pick up His desires for our lives. The life we really want, true life, isn’t found in what we can create for ourselves, but it is found in the life God created us to live. Seek out God’s will for your life, and then live out His will. That is how we truly live life.

  • Point to Ponder: If we are going to follow after Jesus and live a life that is pleasing to God then we must seek out His will.
  • Passage to Remember: Colossians 1:9-10
  • Question to Consider: Are you adjusting your life to God’s will?

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