building on the foundation of Jesus Christ

Archive for the tag “Wrestling with God”

Trading Up

I love cars. I always have. Looking at the car I drive now though would tell a different story. It’s not the best ride I’ve ever owned. But I would say it’s also probably not going to be the last one either (unless Jesus comes back in the next few years!). That being said, I have found though that all I really need is a vehicle to get me from one place to another. I once used to look at my vehicles as the extension of my personality. Not really defining me, but sort of like an accessory to my life. The cars had to “match” my definition of who I was. I have always loved sports cars. I always thought one day I’m going to have one! My dream car has always been a Corvette. I didn’t dream of a Porsche or a Ferrari. Maybe I dream with realistic vision. My dreams are not unobtainable. One day, I could have it, if I really wanted it.

My first car was a one-seater. It was white with a red stripe down the side. It had two pedals, and it would go as fast as my little legs would take me. My next car came when I was sixteen years old. When I first started driving, the second family car was a Ford Maverick (a ghastly, bright orange color) with a stick-shift on the steering column. We traded up to a Pontiac Phoenix a few months after I began driving – thank you Lord! When I was finally able to get my own car, I had a choice to make. I got a ‘vette. Oh, not a Corvette, but a new Chevette. The other option was a used Camaro. The reason I chose the Chevette was not because I wanted it, but because I chose to give the option to my Dad. His decision has always been new cars over used. I think he owned a lemon one time and vowed never to buy used again.

My last car before my current one was a sporty Acura CL. It was sweet! It was as close as I could come to a premium sports car. However, seven years ago, God asked me to release my Acura for a more practical car. I did after a few weeks of wrestling with the decision. It was difficult to let it go. However, God knew my future. He was going to place me in a position where I wouldn’t have much money. The Acura was expensive to keep up and costly repairs were coming. God led me to my little Nissan that I currently own. Its been a blessing. I am very content with this car. It’s been very reliable. My dream hasn’t changed. I still have occasion to desire a new ride with a flashier style.

One day not too long ago, I had a flash of my future in twenty years or so. A new Corvette pulled up beside me in a parking lot. I wasn’t lustful, but eyed it for its beauty. As I was pulling out of the parking lot, I glanced back and saw an older woman getting out of the car. What struck me was the cane she used to help her out of the driver seat! And I chuckled to myself. Yep, that could be me one day, if I had more money than sense!

God always trades up. My little Nissan may not “look” like a trade up; but spiritually speaking, it was a huge leap forward! It was a major turning point in my life. God asked me to do something I had no desire to do; but I did it after a few weeks of wrestling with the decision. That time took me a few weeks to be obedient. The next time He asked me to be obedient to something, I did not hesitate; the answer was yes. My desires are nothing compared to the spiritual blessing of letting something go to gain something better. In order to move forward, we have to let go of the things that could be keeping us bound to a place or circumstance that is not the best for us. Desires have to be released to His.

God always has the best in mind for us. We can trust Him. Just as I once trusted my earthly Dad to meet my needs, I know I can trust my heavenly Dad. I am trading up. God will never forsake me or leave me to my own devices. He knows the desires of my heart. And if it’s aligned with His heart, I will have more than I ask or imagine because He’s that good!

Be delighted with the Lord. Then he will give you all your heart’s desires. Commit everything you do to the Lord. Trust him to help you do it, and he will. Psalm 37:4-5 (TLB)

Taking My Pulse

This year, I wanted to live with intention. We can do nothing of significance by accident. We have to intentionally make better food choices if we intend to get healthy. We have to intentionally spend time with others in order to become better friends. We have to intentionally read the Bible if we ever expect to grow in our relationship with Jesus. There are things we have to do in order to make sure we are going to live a significant life. I don’t want to waste what I have been given, and I don’t think you do either.

For the last few months, I have been asking God where I am falling short of living more purposeful in serving Him fully. Right now, I can feel Him taking my pulse. He has his finger on the vein that leads to my heart. He is pointing out where I have a trust issue. He is not condemning me for my lack of trust or my lack of faith. I asked Him to show me where I am having issues, and He is merely responding to my question. What I do next is up to me. I can either ignore it or I can respond as He wants me to respond. He has given me an idea of what I should do. I am in the middle of a wrestling match waiting on the outcome. Will my selfish nature win or my supernaturally given nature win?

I am reminded about a wrestling match between God and Jacob found in Genesis 32. The encounter with God changed Jacob. He was face to face with the human form of God. Jacob was holding on to receive a blessing. And only when the day broke did the blessing occur. God touched Jacob, which resulted in a limp. And God changed Jacob’s name to Israel because of Jacob’s new nature. Jacob means “He cheats” in Hebrew while Israel is said to mean “He struggles with God.” Jacob was a deceiver before the encounter and afterwards, moved into the promise that God had given his forefathers. Jacob became the nation of God’s people.

I said I surrendered to God, but have I really? This is where the pulse is beating right into my heart. If I am not totally surrendered in this one area, I may miss out on the blessing He has waiting to give me. But I have to be sure I am not surrendering for the wrong reason. It’s not about the blessing; it’s about the giver. If I can’t be surrendered to the giver of life, then I have real trust issues that need to be solved before I can go any further down this narrow road toward the Promised Land. I have to believe God is who He says He is. I have to believe He is enough for me. Jesus is my answer. Lord, let my heart beat for you alone!

Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Come near to God and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Grieve, mourn and wail. Change your laughter to mourning and your joy to gloom. Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up. James 4:7-10

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