Why is it that we sometimes fight God's direction? We tell Him, use us...send us... then we are content to stay put doing the same old thing, the same old way, day after day. When we don't see the results of our ministry (or our actions) we tell ourselves we are just in a "be still and wait on the Lord" period and in time He will reveal His purpose, His lesson, His results. We ignore the signs, for lack of a better word, and we chalk up the lack-luster results of our work for Him as someone else's fault when in reality if we were actually serving Him when, where and how He desires the results would be phenomenal.
Don't get me wrong...I do believe we have to be still and wait sometimes but should we not evaluate our own relationship with Him during that time, do a little self-analysis, some soul searching, a little introspection if you will? Shouldn't that be a part of our regular relationship with the Lord? The self-evaluation, I mean? While praise and worship, reading the Bible daily and a healthy prayer life are very much an important part of that relationship, how often do we honestly, evaluate the condition of our own hearts?
Charles Swindoll stated in his book Intimacy with the Almighty that "solitude is the place where struggles occur that no one else knows about. It is there that God probes our deepest thoughts and opens our eyes to the things that need attention... Solitude is the furnace of transformation" It is in those be still and know that I am God times that "He makes us aware of those things we try to hide from others." It is in the solitude and silence that we are transformed, that we become more like Him.
Psalm 139:23-24 "Search me, O God, and know my heart; try me, and know my thoughts: and see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting." KJV
If we read His word, NO...if we meditate on His Word and apply it to our lives daily...have a meaningful prayer life and by that I mean...not just bringing Him a laundry list of what we want Him to do for us and what we will do for Him, if we truly worship Him...if we exercise this discipline of solitude and reflection of our own lives...examining our hearts with honesty and giving over to Him our weaknesses, our sins....how then can we go about doing what we have always done when we know in our heart of hearts His will is elsewhere or simply in doing something different?
Is it the fear that someone you love and respect will not acknowledge that you even know God's will? Is it that someone you love and respect will not agree with the direction in which you feel led? Is it the fear of letting them down or the fear that if it fails...your relationship with God will be examined and judged by friends and foes alike? What exactly is it that keeps us from stepping out whole-heartily, smack-dab into the middle of His Will, with excitement and unwavering faith and assurance?
I think it has to do with surrendering. By definition to surrender is to yield to the power of another, to give up under compulsion...relinquish. And guess what? It's a verb! It takes ACTION! It IS an ACTION! It is so easy to bandy the word about with all the other "Christian-speak" we have become comfortable using, isn't it? But to do it...well that's a different story entirely, is it not? If I were to be honest with you and with myself, I would have to admit it is sometimes difficult for this Type A, planner who demands perfection, who expects measurable results immediately. Why is it so hard to completely surrender? To be sold out 100% to Him... to His will?
We get caught up in activities in our personal life, in programs, promotions, and church socials, and what we think is the work of God. We are busy, busy, busy and we miss the mark...totally miss the mark...miss His calling, miss His direction...shoot right past His Will for us and hit the bulls-eye of the work of our own hands and we can't understand why we are not receiving a blessing.
How busy we have become and as a result...how empty all because we tell ourselves we are surrendering to His will yet have our plans all tied up nice and tidy in a neat little package with a pretty little bow subconsciously considering how it will look to others, and who will be pleased. All the while we are not still or quiet enough to even know if it is His voice we are hearing.
How assuring to know that He patiently waits for us to yield, to quit fighting Him, to allow His plan to run its course, to turn to Him for our security and significance. As He witnesses our doing that, He begins to reveal Himself and His will in greater depth.
If we don't slow down and listen...He will get our attention. If we pledge to be of His service and then do our own thing....if we promise to be used by Him then refuse to act when called... He will cause His purpose to be accomplished one way or the other. Two situations come to mind...Esther, who was told that deliverance for her people would rise up from somewhere else but to not think she would be spared if she took no action...and of course, there is Jonah..who went the opposite direction of God's will only to find himself in the belly of a great fish for three days while God got his attention.
As we step forward into a new year, let us be sure we are walking in His will...always keeping in step with the Spirit, being renewed and transformed daily, trusting Him whole-heartily, leaning not on our own understanding but acknowledging His grace...knowing His will...and walking by faith to accomplish His purposes... His good and perfect will.
Proverbs 3:5-6 "Trust in the Lord with all thine heart: and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge Him and He shall direct thy paths." KJV
I say it again...in ALL thy ways acknowledge Him and He shall direct thy paths.