If I got a B on a paper I would sulk and pout and lose sleep for days over it. I couldn’t take anything but perfection when it came to grades, which I had to constantly fight to try and achieve. I stressed myself out in school, constantly worrying about my grades and my future. When I would make the grade, I could not enjoy the moment because another paper or test was pending. It was exhausting.
Any overachievers relate to me? Anyone plagued by perfectionism? Do you ever feel guilty if you don’t work yourself to death on something? Are you what some might call a control freak? Here is a news alert… God doesn’t need you to try so hard. In fact it could be detrimental to your soul.
The Christian life is a paradox in many ways. We gain our life only when we lose it. The least will actually be first. Giving is better than receiving. When it comes to how we are to live, God is not interested in how much we can achieve for Him. That might shock you but you won’t find verses in the Bible that says, Thou shalt achieve great things for God.
He doesn’t want our efforts as much as He wants our surrender. He put His Holy Spirit in us and gave us the authority of Jesus to accomplish life altering, earth-shattering, transformative things for Him. That doesn’t come via talent, hard work, ingenuity, or anything else we could accomplish on our own. That comes through the power of God, the Holy Spirit, in us.
It doesn’t mean God doesn’t want our best effort or to use our talents but His word is full of stories of uneducated, unqualified, unprepared participants who didn’t have any influence or position yet changed the world around them. When we read the stories of these men and women, we are not noticing what a great person they were but rather, what a great God they served!
Reality check… you are not capable or equipped to do this life your own strength in a way that will honor God. You need help. You need Jesus. Your greatest efforts will fall short of the eternal, kingdom advancing work God wants to do through you.
Some of you have worn yourself out trying to change your spouse, train your kids, make a business successful, maintain a family on the verge of falling apart, all by your will power and effort. It leaves you weary and on edge. You are frustrated on how little control you have to make things happen. Truth is God doesn’t call us to juggle all of this. He isn’t testing us to see how much we can achieve. This stuff is too big for us!
You want to be a great parent to your children? You want to be an influential grandparent on your grandchildren? You want to live for something greater than a paycheck and two garage house? Then you will have to surrender your talents, your wisdom, your control, your effort to the Lord and allow Him to inspire you, empower you, and lead you into His purposes.
That’s great Dax but what if it doesn’t work? What if I do that and my kids, grandchildren, or job do not cooperate? Instead of getting frustrated you rest in the knowledge that you are trusting them to God and that He will work in The best way and at the right moment. You find peace in a God who sympathizes with you when those you love make horrible mistakes and refuse to change. You rest in the fact that God is doing things you can’t always see and will always prove Himself faithful.
Whatever you are going through right now, which one of these questions best speak to your approach: Am I putting more effort into trying to fix what I perceive as the problem OR more effort into submitting to the Holy Spirit to receive whatever He would have me to learn and do in this situation? There is a Grand Canyon difference between these two perspectives. One is a futile attempt to do things you cannot do. The other is a place of rest and peace as you surrender to His will. Which one you choose will make all the difference in what kind of person you are.
And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men, Colossians 3:23
I owe, I owe, so off to work I go!
That was the bumper sticker on the car in front of me today as I drove to work. Kind of sums it up doesn’t it? Most of us begrudgingly trek to work every day out of necessity. For the blessed few who love what they do (like me!) you don’t hate it but it still is a job. There are stressful days, frustrations with people, difficult tasks. The burden we carry in our job can be heavy. We can easily lose our joy if we lose sight of the bigger picture. Working for money or a better position or to pay the bills is less than satisfying. It will suck the life from us. What we need is vision. We need to catch a vision for why God wants us to work. When He created the universe he declared it work and called the result good. The seventh day He took a well deserved break. He then created man and woman and told them to work to subdue the earth. This might surprise you but work is not a product of the fall. Adam and Eve were working before they ate of the forbidden fruit. After the Fall the earth just stopped cooperating. Work became a lot harder but they still were called to do it. They were created to do so. And so are we.
Maybe we need to catch a vision for why God created work. We need to understand that he made us so that we need to be doing something that contributes to a greater purpose than ourselves, something that benefits others, and ultimately glorifies His name. You can do this in whatever you are called to do. And we need to see it as a calling and not just a job. If you are a teacher, then you sharpen your skills to be the best communicator of knowledge possible because you know God loves truth. If you are a shoemaker then you don’t have to put a cross on the shoe to glorify God but you make the best shoe you possibly can because God is honored by precision and quality. If you stay at home then you create a home of order and hospitality because your God brings order to all things. Whatever your job is you need to catch a vision for how God can be glorified in it. He wants you to work towards a pattern of excellence in whatever you do because He is glorified in that.
It does not matter where you land on the pay scale, if you are in management, or whether you use your hands, mind, or both for your job. Whatever you do, catch a vision for why God has you there. When you put your best effort and keep the right attitude in your job, others will notice. When they notice they will wonder why you work so hard. You will have opportunity to glorify God in an even greater way, by sharing your faith with them. When they ask why you work so hard, you declare that you do it to glorify your Father in Heaven. Tell your boss when he or she evaluates you. Tell your employees when they thank you. Don’t be ashamed. Don’t hesitate. Speak it boldly with love. Your hard work has given you a voice with them. Don’t miss the opportunity!
Work hard but don’t forget to rest. God did! You need it. It creates rhythm in your life. It makes you appreciate more the value of rest. Lay your tools down and breathe. Put your computer away and let your mind wonder. Put up the paperwork and worship. Find rest emotionally, mentally, physically and spiritually.
You spend a lot of time doing what you do. Don’t waste it on selfish pursuits. Don’t work yourself to death for things that you can’t take with you. What does God want to do in you at your job? Gain eternal perspective. Glorify Him in whatever you do!
My soul longs for clarity
Crying out for hope
Deep affections come
My soul finds relief within
Basking in Christ’s death
Deep longings well up
My soul desires perfection
Longing for its home
Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to your life? 26 Since you cannot do this very little thing, why do you worry about the rest? Luke 12: 25-26
We waste so many hours worrying about most things that will never even happen. Did you know worry is a sin? It is our vain attempt of controlling things around us and is the opposite of faith in God. Here are three principles to remember about worry:
1) Worry accomplishes absolutely nothing.
I think we worry because it is the closest thing to control that we have. I can make very little really happen in life or stop anything from happening. I can’t control people or time or a doctor’s diagnosis. What I can do is worry. I do this so I feel Inan doingsomething towards the situation. A better alternative would be to pray. Praying is doing something about the situation. When I pray God often does not change my circumstance but He does change my heart to see my situation in a whole different way. Respond to difficulty in life by praying.
When I pray, God often does not change my circumstance but He does change my heart to see my situation through a whole different perspective.
2) Worry has negative effects on you physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually.
Stress kills. Worry is not a harmless act. It causes us pain and can lead to serious issues. Don’t just accept worrying as just who you are. God did not intend for you to worry. It. Is destroying you slowly.
3) Worry is the opposite of trusting in God.
When we worry we are saying Lord I don’t know that you got this or I don’t think you will answer the the way I want you to. Worry is the opposite of responding to life by faith. Closely tied to worry is fear. God did not give us a spirit of fear nor does he want us to be anxious about anything. When things go awry around us we need to respond by faith that God is present in our circumstance and will work it according to His purpose and for our ultimate good.
So for you worriers reading this what are you to do? When you begin to worry don’t try and overcome it by your own effort and willpower. You will ultimately fail. You have to replace your worry with something else. Instead of worrying the Bible tells us to focus in on God’s kingdom.
To not think so much about self preservation but more on kingdom advancement. That will change your life. We don’t need to try and stop worrying about what is happening to us. We need to stop thinking about ourselves so often in the first place. Don’t accept worry as a way of life. God wants you to see the unbelief and futility of worrying.
Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these things shall be added to you
When you and I hurt deeply, what we really need is not an explanation from God but a revelation of God. We need to see how great God is; we need to recover our lost perspective on life., Things get out of proportion when we are suffering, and it takes a vision of something bigger than ourselves to get life’s dimensions adjusted again.
I know what’s its like to feel like everything is crashing down around you and nothing makes sense. The answer is not in pulling yourself up by the bootstraps and trying harder to be stronger. That way is failure because quite frankly none of us are strong enough on our own. It’s only when you take all that effort and put it into fixing your eyes on Jesus that you finally find supernatural strength and peace. Don’t carry this burden alone any longer. You have a Savior who cares deeply and wants to carry it for you. You have tried your way of handling it and you know how much that does not really work. Now give it up and look to Jesus and find rest for your soul.
28 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” Matthew 11:28-30