Perhaps you are in a challenging and troubling place, and there is pressure coming from all sides. You don’t see any way out, and so goes your sinking heart. What if I told you there is a way out, but it’s not what you think. It’s the way that Jesus wants to take all of us.. We will get His peace. We will find rest for our soul and even answers to what we currently require. The key lies in no longer looking at the troubles, the mess, the source of worry that grips us but to Jesus, who is our answer and will show us the way, truth and life; John 14:6. It is not a thought we stand on, but a way in which we will walk, and is the narrow way He has told us about; Matt 7:13-14.
There is no better time than to set out on such a journey, in discovering Jesus Christ in what assails us. We must understand and get it into our brains that this journey is not about fixing the problem, though we do find resolution through the process. But rather one of aligning and adjusting ourselves to His way and Word through the situation with God. The challenge we may be in is instead the catalyst into this amazing journey.
Firstly we must have a changed mindset, in that all the energy in worrying, obsessing and troubleshooting we previously applied, we will now invest in seeking Jesus, His will and His way. Our success will depend if our hearts and desires are true toward God and will fall flat if we are only interested in finding an escape from our suffering and troubles. If this is the case, it will prove itself as time progresses; When we are not rooted in Christ, but in other motives and such, we will not be able to endure and eventually give in to the pressures around us, Matt 13:20-22. Look at it this way:
Our life is like a table, and on top of this table is full and heaped of clutter, representing our issues, troubles, stress etc. Some of it isn’t smelling very good, indicating how long it has been there! The pile is mounting, things we don’t even know and have forgotten about laying buried and unattended, some even spilling onto the floor. Some things we purposely have avoided all our lives and even hid so we would not have to deal with it. Now we take our arm and sweep off the table to remove all the clutter. This is what the Lord asks us to do with our lives, as the first step of walking in His way; otherwise, our ‘clutter’ will rise and take up our thoughts and attention. Does this make everything go away? No! What we have done is turned from it (repented), and now we turn to God and put our lives into His hands.
Upon the table, we now take our Bible and make this a place of meeting, study and prayer. As we reserve time in our day, we will pray, seek God, and sit with Him. We are not making it about asking for resolution but to know Him and to follow Him. If we don’t have this desire in us, we ask for it. We ask for His desires and keep asking until He gives them. When we open the pages of the Bible we will read it like it is His love letter just for us. And we will take note, writing down what touches our heart and any questions that come to mind, we commune with our Lord over them. This is how we build intimacy with the Living God, and it requires our faithful pursuit.
Much like when Jesus spoke to Martha, who was so very troubled (stressed out) over the issues of life and said that to sit at His feet to listen to His Words is the better and what was needed; Luke 10:39-42,
so too He speaks to us.
OK, this sounds all good, but what about the unpaid bills, the bullying and daily abuse? Or the unceasing depression that looms, the cancer diagnosis? Like the clutter on the table, we give to Him all that we face in trust that they are in capable hands. As we commit to Him He will commit to us.
Our mind is to be changed, we now are no longer the owner and CEO of our lives, we have resigned this position, and God now is our boss who assumes all our troubles. Our trust is no longer in our circumstances, in people, but in Jesus, and so we do as He directs us, through His Word, which becomes our new vocation.
We now exercise a new strategy; which these verses explain:
But He gives more grace. Therefore He says:
“God resists the proud,
But gives grace to the humble.”
Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded. James 4:6-8.
God grants to us grace as we humble ourselves before Him, and submit to Him. As we resist the temptation that comes in many forms, such as worry, fear, bitterness, old habits and mindsets, the devil no longer can have the power over us that he once did. We now make it our practice to walk in right-ness (righteousness) and maintain one mind – that is Christ-ward.
Though we may not see with our eyes, there are great things are being done through our obedience to the Word of God. God works powerfully when we are humble and surrender to Him. James 4:10 1 Peter 5:5.
We stray when we fall into the temptation to seek retribution, a fix, or escape to our issues, no matter how noble or right it may appear to us.
Being right or restoring rights is not for us to be about doing. Seeking God is and His kingdom; Matt 6:33.
Forgiveness is something we shall begin to learn, as God has granted it to us, we must so demonstrate to others. I liken it to bramble and thorn bushes that must be cleared in order for the Lord to be able to do His work. When we refuse to forgive, production comes to a halt and we are bound by the bramble and thorn bushes. This journey continues on, even after our present hardship, and with each day that passes, we grow in the grace of the Lord –
But the path of the just is like the shining sun,
That shines ever brighter unto the perfect day. Prov 4:18