"So," they say, "nobody's perfect!"
But the Vinedresser won't buy that.
Given the opportunity, He will trim the unproductive suckers and shape the branches so each one will bask in Sonlight.

Saturday, June 09, 2012

An "Easy" Life

Here's an encouraging word from Our Daily Bread titled "The Way To An 'Easy' Life," having to do with the eventual consequences for young people whose parents try to cushion them from life's uncertainties and rough roads. 

Great point, but this devotional hits another point that is just as crucial to me: Expectations, not just for an easy life, but for life to be fair, both in the way others deal with us, and in trying to hold God accountable to us for answering our selfish prayers. What nerve!

Okay, I realize I'm preachin' to the choir again, but this issue of expectations is a constant battle for me, and I'm fairly sure I'm not that unique. Human nature can be nutshelled in a simple sentence, "I want it my way ... now!" For a Christ-follower, expectations get exponentially more complicated with a simple change in that sentence: "He wants it my way," producing "consecrated" expectations. That error is perhaps the most universal of all within the church.

At the risk of going on too long, I need to include one of this principle's foundational Scripture passages:
Isa 55:6-9 ESV  "Seek the LORD (the eternal, self-existent One) while he may be found; call upon him while he is near;  (7)  let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts; let him return to the LORD, that he may have compassion on him, and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.  (8)  'For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,' declares the LORD.  (9)  'For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.'"

The great news is, as true Christ-followers already know, we have God's Spirit abiding within us, the promised Paraclete, to guide and strengthen us in the Way. If we abandon our preconceptions and selfish expectations, He can do His job, but ours is a constant battle with the flesh. I know from long experience how hard discerning His still, small voice can be. My flesh is the world's best God-impersonator. Isn’t it odd how we so often can’t hear the One who spoke the universe into being?

We want something, or someone, but the desire of our heart doesn’t align with God's word. So we pursue that desire anyway, half-heartedly asking God to close the unrighteous door, while our foot blocks it open like the stereotypical encyclopedia salesman. Can this be anything short of premeditated sin? Little wonder that God’s church has become so impotent.

Old-fashioned self-denial,
No longer in style.
Like the old dinosaur,
Not around anymore.

It never gets boring,
And sure beats imploring,
For cups of cold water
When no one will bother.

Do you want to find
The best peace of mind?
Live God’s way, and see
His gift for eternity.

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