Growing up in my "young adult" years I never felt a need to consult anyone or seek counsel regarding my actions, decisions, or choices. I did whatever I wanted to do, went wherever I wanted to go, and became whatever my career choice was at that moment because I was raised to be "independent." But, does being independent mean not seeking advice? I did as my own little (selfish) heart desired. If wanted to travel someplace, I went. If I wanted to buy something, I bought. If I wanted to date someone, I endeavored. Only to end up suffering from debt, deliquence, and discouragement in relationships, finances, and career choices. Never did I consult or concede to someone else's opinion about my own actions, at least most of the time. I figured, "It's my choice so I'd bare my consequence, good or bad." I did as pleased, I lived as I desired, and sometimes suffered in silence and embarrassment because of poor choices and NO or unGodly counsel. Little did I know how foolish that was; thank God for His grace that transcended my foolish heart, time which heals all wounds, and covenant connections to help me along the way.
There's a growing trend in the marketplace called "consulting." People are hiring personal coaches to consult them in their life choices, companies hire and pay big bucks to agencies to advise their decisions for a better financial future and to grow their company. Ironically, as I study the bible there are also many examples of "consulting" in the Word of God. Moses sought the counsel of the Lord, and even his father in law (at times) to better help govern the people, David and other kings consulted the prophets, like Nathan before big decisions were made and even afterward in order to determine the likely outcome of their choice. And, even Paul consulted Silas while on their missionary journeys to help with congregations in various regions in those days. So, if big, successful businesses find it necessary to seek counsel for future growth, and the forefathers sought counsel through partnerships, what's happened in the minds of some Christians along the way?
ACCEPTANCE AND YIELDING
Most of us leave God out of our plans, our dreams, our intentions, and our hearts. We leave God out of our relationships, our families, our workplace, and our finances. Is it because we are used to being "independent?" Does independent really mean a lack of dependency on God, the one who CREATED you? Are you not willing to do what He tells you to or accept His "no" if that's His choice and will for your life? Are we all control freaks and like to have our own "board of directors" which consists of three people (me, myself, and I)? Or, is it really a more deeper issue than that? Are we more motivated and driven by our own "internal wants," moreso than God's "eternal will?" These are all questions I posed to myself in the midst of suffering a test and trial recently.
Not long ago, I was faced an opportunity to have something I really WANTED and felt God had blessed me superabundantly. In the end, when it didn't manifest and I was left empty handed and brokenhearted I was left questioning my faith, my internal beliefs, and even my deepest desires. Was MY want greater than God's WILL? Was my life really about pleasing God no matter what it cost, what it took (away), or was I "happy" with God only when I obtained my "wants?" This kind of questioning is transparent and UNCOMFORTABLE, but I was willing to face it.
Oftentimes, Christians want the blessing but not the heart of the blessor. The heart of God transcends your wants and desires. Make no mistake, God will take care of your needs, for His word says, "I've never seen the righteous forsaken, nor my seed begging for bread" but, His will for your life is for you to complete your PURPOSE on earth which may have NOTHING to do with what you desire. "Meeting your purpose" sometimes interupts your plans, your dreams, your hopes, your intentions, and yes...your WANTS! God is sovereign, make no mistake. I'm learning this the hard way. This is definitely not an easy pill to swallow. I'm sure Jesus' "desire" was NOT to have to drink the cup of sin, be brutally beaten, and then suffer the cross. Think about it, would you be like, "Sure God...I'll do it!" In spite of what He would have to face, suffer, and endure, Jesus responded, "Nevertheless, Lord, YOUR WILL be done." He said my "want" may not fulfill your WILL. Wow, I aspire to be more like Jesus but oh, such suffering.
You see, serving God is a CHOICE for me which has had some GREAT satisfaction over the years, but also some severe and astounishing suffering. Alot of people, preachers, and pastors are motivated to preach about the glory and SATISFACTION of salvation but stray away from the subject of suffering. It doesn't set the scene for a good shouting session, it's not popular to preach, and it may not fill pews.
I don't serve God out of tradition, habit, nor ritual, or even to get a handout; I do it out of LOVE. And, sometimes love hurts! But, those whom God loves He chastens (hurts) in order that they be MATURED in their faith and in their walk. Think about it, what can an infant teach a master? Would you want someone to minister to you who's never personally experienced anything themselves? Who better can help heal hurt, pain, addiction, brokeness, lack, or suffering than someone who's walked through that valley? People who say "I know how you feel" who has never experienced it are liars, point blank! So, I'm telling God...love me until it hurts so I can be made WHOLE.
Kingdom minded people know that serving God is sometimes uncomfortable, unconventional, unpopular, and inconvenient but they do it anyhow (out of love). The benefits of love far outway the present circumstance of a painful situation.
I was inspired to write this after reading the Book of Ecclesiastes..."everything is futile, vain, and chasing after the wind" is what Solomon said. The wisest, richest, most innovative King that ever lived summed up life saying, "Nothing you do, except for what you do for God matters." (paraphrased).