So I gave my life back to Christ. I'm ready for Him to bend me to His will. I'm ready for the plan He has for my life. I'm giving Him full control.
Well that's all well and good but what does that really look like? How am I supposed to know what He wants for my life? In many ways I'm still the same person I was yesterday. Jesus came and rescued me where I was and now all I want to do is run from the old me as soon as possible. I want to run to wherever he leads me. But how do I do that?
The trick is God's not going to give me all the answers right away. He wants me to rely on him. He broke me to where I would rely on him. He gave me opportunities time and time again to come to him for help but I refused and he finally did what he had to do to get me attention. Now neither he nor I want to have to go through that again so he's not going to give me all the answers. If he did give me all the answers I'd take control again. I'd think I could do it on my own or get in a hurry and skip crucial steps. Skip over the hard parts that are critical to making me a better person. I pray that he readies my heart for the answers as they come. And they will come. "A man's steps are directed by the Lord. How then can anyone understand his own way?" Proverbs 20:24 "There is no wisdom, no insight, no plan that can succeed against the Lord." Proverbs 21:30
Even though you and I may not know exactly what God wants for our lives, we can still take the first steps in the right direction. We fortunately do know want God doesn't want for us. It's all laid out in His Word, the Holy Bible. Now I tried to read the bible growing up and I'll be honest, I felt like most of it was way over my head. But I picked up the bible for the first time in maybe a decade just to read it the other day. And what I found amazed me. Now that I've accumulated a lot of life experiences, I found verse after verse striking a cord within my heart. I felt direction for the first time in a long time. I'm not saying I know my exact destination but I am saying I know how to get started. I know how to repair my soul. And that's by putting distance between myself and the things that God is trying to protect me from. By seeking wisdom from His Word. "For the Lord gives wisdom; from his mouth come knowledge and understanding." Proverbs 2:6 "He who gets wisdom loves his own soul..." Proverbs 19:8
I hated the person I had become for so long. Now I love myself. Because I'm seeking wisdom. I'm growing by reading His Word. God made examples out of so many men and women in the bible, not to punish them, but so that we could benefit from their mistakes, from their trials. So that we could gather knowledge and wisdom without having to make the same mistakes in our own lives. "Now these things happened to them as an example, but they were written down for our instruction..." 1 Corinthians 10:11.
God still makes examples out of you and I even today, because we choose not to heed His Word. We choose not to learn from the mistakes others have made. But take comfort in knowing that our struggles, our trials, our failures are not only helping us grow but they're also setting examples for those around us. Other people in our lives see our struggles and failures and God is helping them avoid similar circumstances by allowing them to learn from our mistakes. Even better, people also see our successes and they see when we triumph over our struggles. And they'll want to know how we did it. And we can tell them, 'I didn't do anything. Not alone at least but on the strength of the Lord'. "Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand." Isaiah 41:10
The best first step after giving your life to God is to get back in line with what God expects out of you on a daily basis. And the quickest way to understand what God wants for you is to crack open the bible and get to reading. "Blessed is the one who finds wisdom, and the one who gets understanding." Proverbs 3:13 "Understanding is a fountain of life to those who have it..." Proverbs 16:22
I strongly recommend the books of Proverbs, Psalms and James. James would probably be the best place to start. It packs a huge amount of wisdom and guidance into a very short book. If you're like me, you'll wish there was more when you finish the book of James. And luckily there is. So much more. But we can't just read about it, we have to apply these things in our lives. "But be doers of the word, not hearers only, deceiving yourselves." James 1:22.
One thing that prevents a lot of us from 'being doers' is we get caught in the idea that these are rules put in place to control us and limit the fun we can have. But what seems fun and sometimes even what seems right in the moment, isn't at all. "There is a way that seems right to a man, but in the end it leads to death." Proverbs 14:12
The only way to know what is right in God's eyes is to read his word and listen to that little voice deep inside you which is the Holy Spirit telling you right from wrong. Trying to lead you in the right direction. That voice will get louder and louder the more you read and the closer you grow to God. And the closer you grow to God the further the devil will be pushed away. "Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you." James 4:7
Another stumbling block for many of us is that we feel if we break one rule then we are failures and then lose hope. At least that's the way I was. Temptation is extremely strong and no one besides Jesus ever made it all the way through life without giving into temptation at least once. But we're not failures if we fail once. We're failures if we fail once and don't get back up, we're failures if we choose never to try for fear of failing, we're failures if we know the difference between right and wrong and choose to go the wrong way. If we fail, we have to get back up and go again knowing that God has already forgiven our failures. "The righteous may fall seven times but still get up, but the wicked will stumble into trouble." Proverbs 24:16
By the grace of God we are not judged for our failures but by our faith in Jesus Christ. The belief that Jesus died to save us from our sin. We can't work our way to heaven, but we should do what's right in the eyes of the Lord to prove our faith and love to Him. And then we will gain favor from God. "Good people obtain favor from the Lord, but He condemns those who devise wicked schemes." Proverbs 12:2
I don't like to think of these instructions as rules but as guidelines. Meant to keep us on the right path. A straight and narrow path. The path that Jesus walked. The path that God wants us to walk. "Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it." Mathew 7:13-14
The road that leads to life, the road that leads to a closer walk with Jesus Christ is narrow but it's the only way to get to Him. And he's the only way to get to heaven. Jesus answered, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me." John 14:6
If we stray from that path, God will correct us. He will set us straight just as a father should discipline his child. We should listen to and thank God for his instruction. "Stern discipline awaits him who leaves the path, he who hates correction will die." Proverbs 15:10
God has a specific plan for each of our lives, and we're not going to figure out what that is wandering around aimlessly with a 'whatever happens, happens mentality' when it comes to decision making. In any decision ask yourself this, is what I'm doing getting me closer to God or pushing me further away? We need to get on the straight and narrow path and consult with God on every decision we make in our lives if we want to know where he's leading us. "Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to Him and He will make your paths straight." Proverbs 3:5-6 "Plans are established by seeking advice..." Proverbs 20:18
I don't believe God made these rules to control us but to protect us and give us a choice. A way to prove our devotion to Him and our faith in His son Jesus Christ. Much the same way parents have rules for their children, not to control or punish them, but to teach them the difference between right and wrong. To mold them into the men and women that they're meant to be. When the son stumbles or comes up short, the father doesn't abandon the son. He helps the son see the error of his ways and helps him learn from his mistakes. He welcomes the son home with open arms. “The son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’ But the father said to his servants, ‘Quick! Bring the best robe and put it on him. Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. Bring the fattened calf and kill it. Let’s have a feast and celebrate. For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.'..." Luke 15:21-24
God gives us these relationships on earth to teach us. Unfortunately at times the relationships we have on earth damage our view of God and the relationship He wants to have with each of us. I pray that you don't lose sight of the relationship God wants to have with each of you because of a bad relationship you may have had here on earth with your parents. Know that there is evil in this world and try not to think about your relationship with your parents if it was bad but the way your relationship should be with your parents. "A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows, is God in his holy dwelling." Psalm 68:5
I believe the relationship between each of us and God also mimics that of a couple. "Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave Himself for it." Ephesians 5:25
There are certain rules that apply when you're dating or married to someone. Those rules aren't put there by the one to control the other. No they are put there so each person can show their love and devotion to the other by choosing to do the right thing, the thing that is pleasing to the other in the relationship. And when one of those rules is broken it brings pain to the other. Just like it pains God to see us fail. And the way God allows pain into our lives to remind us that we need to be reliant on him and do what is right in his eyes. God blesses us everyday with gifts that we do not deserve. Even for the poorest of poor, an ounce of kindness from a stranger is a gift from above. "Whoever is generous to the poor lends to the Lord, and He will repay him for his deed." Proverbs 19:17
So why not give back to God? Why not do the things that we know are pleasing in His sight? If we love Him and want to have a relationship with Him, don't we want it to be the best relationship possible? Why would we not want Him to know how much we care by simply abiding by the guidelines that He set for us. Guidelines set to protect us and maintain a healthy, devoted relationship with us. Guidelines put there to keep us on the right path so we can find Hiis will for our lives.
Because those guidelines contradict everything the world is telling us. We know the way to get back on the right track but the world tells us no. The world tells us do what feels good. But when we do what feels good and find ourselves flat on our back, the world won't be there to help us up. God will reach down, wipe away the tears and give us yet another shot. As for me, it's time to give God a real shot. Cause I'm tired of ending up on my back. I love Him for helping me up. I love Him for saving my life. I love Him for giving me eternal life. I love Him for the opportunities He has placed before me. I love Him for His instruction and I love Him for His correction. Because at the heart of it all I know that He just wants what's best for ME. It's time to get real.
"Do not conform to the patterns of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is--His good, pleasing and perfect will." Romans 12:2
I ask that you pray for me to have the strength to do what is right. To remain steadfast in my devotion to growing closer to God by reading His word and talking to Him daily. I'll be more than happy to pray for any of you if you need it. And if you don't have a bible and want one, please let me know and you'll have one. Feel free to email me at [email protected] with any prayer requests. I know I skipped over a lot of stuff so if you have any random questions feel free to contact me as well. I don't have all the answers but I know a lot of wise people and have a lot of resources to dig into. I'll either find the answer for you or if I'm unsure I'll pass you along to someone who can help if you want.
If you want to look further into getting your life back on track, I recommend watching this series. It helped me a lot!