Week 1: DAY 5
"It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery."
Life is Out of Control
Ponder: "And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise." New Living Translation. Philippians 4:8
Yesterday, we thought about our thought life and the impact our desires have on our lives. Expectations of God, others and ourselves can also impact our thought life and when these are not met for whatever reason our our thought life can truly spiral out of control if we are not careful. Each thought, desire or expectation (of course all reflected in thoughts) can be caught, and checked. By stopping and doing this, we have the power in Christ to move in the direction of God, "not my will but yours," leading towards prayer, thankfulness and praise no matter how difficult the circumstances. Alternatively, these thoughts unchecked can move us to spiral out of control into acting out, moving away from God, and generally in a negative direction.
I write this with the utmost compassion, knowing that it is not easy to fix our thoughts on good things when life around us is really discouraging and our emotional life seems chaotic for whatever reason.
I remember the time when I was alone in Germany, it was 1999 and I was 38. I was very single, no relationship in sight. I recall a distinct moment, standing by the bay windows and talking to God about my desire for children and a companion. I came to the point of giving over my desire for children, there was a deep moment of sadness but afterwards it was as if God had completely taken away my desire to have children. I wonder now if I had clung on to my desire and not let go, what would have happened to my day to day life and moods. The same happened later in 2004 as I lay down my desire to have a husband, I cried buckets but God gave me back that desire a few months later in His partner for me, John. All this to say it is far better to journey this with God than go our own way. Going God's way in both of these circumstances, after trying my own I must add, brought life back under the control of God's hand, a much more peaceful place to be.
Action: Ask God to help you recognize what desires and expectations you may have that are influencing how your life "feels like" at the moment. Even a good desire or expectation may need to be handed over to God. Just thinking about Abraham and Isaac in Genesis 22. Abraham needed to be prepared to sacrifice a really good thing, his son. Not only that; this son held the promise that God Himself gave Abraham, and now he was expected to sacrifice all of this. Wow, that must have been excruciating and very confusing. God rescued this situation, He simply was testing Abraham's heart and will. God is God and He wants every part of us. What are you holding back?
Prayer: Lord, help me trust you in a far deeper way than I have ever trusted before. I desire to walk in your freedom and peace. Help me to see that taking up my cross; denying myself is the path to true freedom and peace. Make me willing, Lord.
Challenge: Memorize Philippians 4:8 this week.