What can you not let go of?
For what do you thirst?
• Being a part of an inner circle
• Better comparison to others
• Being a winner
• Having/sharing a good report
• Being right
• Good times
• Just surviving
As I embarked on my college career starting with University of Texas at Austin, my grandfather, Dave, admonished that I couldn’t come back home without a degree. We giggled about that, but he would add that he was serious. He was always my biggest fan. And every so often he would remind me of that when I made quick home visits or made an “I need, can you send” call. Years passed. I stumbled and fumbled with the struggles and distractions…OH MY…the distractions. When I thought of going home, I would say “Dave said I couldn’t”. When I did walk the UT stage, Dave’s health kept him from witnessing the milestone. Time after the ceremony, my spouse, children and I made a visit during Dave’s favorite holiday – Juneteenth. I got my usual special hug and kiss and before Dave let go, he whispered “you can come home now baby.” It had been years and some life changes since we mentioned that but neither one of us forgot. It was as if I had received a blessing.
We make constant decisions that impact goals, relationships, conversations, priorities and steps. Our temperament and expectations drive how we respond to direction changes, detours and distractions along the way. As much as we really want to control a situation, or make things sound and look, feelings are invoked to where we sense a need to feel better, to be vindicated, and to be/look/sound right as circumstances unfold.
How do I know if I am
• Supposed to be struggling with this (whatever this is)?
• Supposed to focus on this particular challenge?
We know we are to thirst for righteousness, for God, His way, His will. But when we are dehydrated (mentally, emotionally) we know we don’t ALWAYS FIRST reach for the water of life.
Challenges and struggles are never easy. The wrong motive and methods can make them even harder or maybe undo-able. And when it gets to the point where you say “I don’t want to” or “I don’t know how”, quitting or looking for distractions or going out with a bang seems inevitable.
II Corinthians 5:10-21
My spiritual maturity is dependent on faith and trust in God. My ego, my pride, my comforts, my feelings, my instincts, my sight create these hurdles and roadblocks.
“I have the right to respond.” “I have the right to ignore.”
“I have the right to be involved.” “I have the right to be left alone.”
“I have the right to know.”
“I have the right to be heard.”
“I have the right to have….”
“I have the right to be…..”
How do I handle ‘My Rights’? What are my rights?
When I hang onto myself (my rights) my soul is bound and I am denying Christ my life.
• Something to believe in
• Someone to believe in
• Someone who believes in me
Mark 10:17-22 17 As Jesus was starting on his way again, a man ran up, knelt before him, and asked him, “Good Teacher, what must I do to receive eternal life?”
18 “Why do you call me good?” Jesus asked him. “No one is good except God alone.19 You know the commandments: ‘Do not commit murder; do not commit adultery; do not steal; do not accuse anyone falsely; do not cheat; respect your father and your mother.’”
20 “Teacher,” the man said, “ever since I was young, I have obeyed all these commandments.”
21 Jesus looked straight at him with love and said, “You need only one thing. Go and sell all you have and give the money to the poor, and you will have riches in heaven; then come and follow me.” 22 When the man heard this, gloom spread over his face, and he went away sad, because he was very rich.
We have to die daily or we will complain about the hurt.
John 12:24-25 24 I am telling you the truth: a grain of wheat remains no more than a single grain unless it is dropped into the ground and dies. If it does die, then it produces many grains. 25 Those who love their own life will lose it; those who hate their own life in this world will keep it for life eternal.
• To reach point B from A, I must go through the difficult circumstance
• If I refuse to go through the difficult circumstance then I will get cold and fall, but I will never fall below the solid line which is away from God’s protection; those who reject God’s way drifts from under the protective covering
• Growth requires going through difficult circumstances
• If I don’t die daily then points A – D become too much, overwhelming
• The goal IS spiritual maturity
• To reach the goal, God allows me to go through difficult circumstances to bring me to spiritual maturity
Steps to take to yield my right(s) and transfer to God.
1. Identify the right with which I am struggling
2. Confess my rebellion
3. Transfer the right to God (surrender)
4. Ask God to forgive me
5. Decide I will not operate outside His will/way (repent)
6. Thank God in ALL situations
Hebrews 6:16-18 16 When we make a vow, we use the name of someone greater than ourselves, and the vow settles all arguments. 17 To those who were to receive what he promised, God wanted to make it very clear that he would never change his purpose; so he added his vow to the promise. 18 There are these two things, then, that cannot change and about which God cannot lie. So we who have found safety with him are greatly encouraged to hold firmly to the hope placed before us.
Hebrews 6:4-5 4 For how can those who abandon their faith be brought back to repent again? They were once in God’s light; they tasted heaven’s gift and received their share of the Holy Spirit; 5 they knew from experience that God’s word is good, and they had felt the powers of the coming age.
Sources of trials are (1) people, (2) circumstances and (3) self.
James 1:2-22 2 My friends, consider yourselves fortunate when all kinds of trials come your way, 3 for you know that when your faith succeeds in facing such trials, the result is the ability to endure. 4 Make sure that your endurance carries you all the way without failing, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing. 5 But if any of you lack wisdom, you should pray to God, who will give it to you; because God gives generously and graciously to all. 6 But when you pray, you must believe and not doubt at all. Whoever doubts is like a wave in the sea that is driven and blown about by the wind. 7-8 If you are like that, unable to make up your mind and undecided in all you do, you must not think that you will receive anything from the Lord.9 Those Christians who are poor must be glad when God lifts them up, 10 and the rich Christians must be glad when God brings them down. For the rich will pass away like the flower of a wild plant. 11 The sun rises with its blazing heat and burns the plant; its flower falls off, and its beauty is destroyed. In the same way the rich will be destroyed while they go about their business. 12 Happy are those who remain faithful under trials, because when they succeed in passing such a test, they will receive as their reward the life which God has promised to those who love him. 13 If we are tempted by such trials, we must not say, “This temptation comes from God.” For God cannot be tempted by evil, and he himself tempts no one. 14 But we are tempted when we are drawn away and trapped by our own evil desires. 15 Then our evil desires conceive and give birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death. 16 Do not be deceived, my dear friends! 17 Every good gift and every perfect present comes from heaven; it comes down from God, the Creator of the heavenly lights, who does not change or cause darkness by turning. 18 By his own will he brought us into being through the word of truth, so that we should have first place among all his creatures.19 Remember this, my dear friends! Everyone must be quick to listen, but slow to speak and slow to become angry. 20 Human anger does not achieve God’s righteous purpose.21 So get rid of every filthy habit and all wicked conduct. Submit to God and accept the word that he plants in your hearts, which is able to save you. 22 Do not deceive yourselves by just listening to his word; instead, put it into practice.
Types of Trials are
Romans 8:35-36 Who, then, can separate us from the love of Christ? Can trouble do it, or hardship or persecution or hunger or poverty or danger or death? 36 As the scripture says, “For your sake we are in danger of death at all times; we are treated like sheep that are going to be slaughtered.”
Matthew 5:11-12 11 “Happy are you when people insult you and persecute you and tell all kinds of evil lies against you because you are my followers. 12 Be happy and glad, for a great reward is kept for you in heaven. This is how the prophets who lived before you were persecuted.
II Corinthians 12:1-7 I have to boast, even though it doesn’t do any good. But I will now talk about visions and revelations given me by the Lord. 2 I know a certain Christian man who fourteen years ago was snatched up to the highest heaven (I do not know whether this actually happened or whether he had a vision—only God knows). 3-4 I repeat, I know that this man was snatched to Paradise (again, I do not know whether this actually happened or whether it was a vision—only God knows), and there he heard things which cannot be put into words, things that human lips may not speak. 5 So I will boast about this man—but I will not boast about myself, except the things that show how weak I am. 6 If I wanted to boast, I would not be a fool, because I would be telling the truth. But I will not boast, because I do not want any of you to have a higher opinion of me than you have as a result of what you have seen me do and heard me say.7 But to keep me from being puffed up with pride because of the many wonderful things I saw, I was given a painful physical ailment, which acts as Satan’s messenger to beat me and keep me from being proud.
Hebrews 12:1-6 As for us, we have this large crowd of witnesses around us. So then, let us rid ourselves of everything that gets in the way, and of the sin which holds on to us so tightly, and let us run with determination the race that lies before us. 2 Let us keep our eyes fixed on Jesus, on whom our faith depends from beginning to end. He did not give up because of the cross! On the contrary, because of the joy that was waiting for him, he thought nothing of the disgrace of dying on the cross, and he is now seated at the right side of God’s throne. 3 Think of what he went through; how he put up with so much hatred from sinners! So do not let yourselves become discouraged and give up. 4 For in your struggle against sin you have not yet had to resist to the point of being killed. 5 Have you forgotten the encouraging words which God speaks to you as his children? “My child, pay attention when the Lord corrects you, and do not be discouraged when he rebukes you. 6 Because the Lord corrects everyone he loves, and punishes everyone he accepts as a child.”
“…but I know how to handle this…”
II Peter 1:3 God’s divine power has given us everything we need to live a truly religious life through our knowledge of the one who called us to share in his own[a] glory and goodness.
“…I know I shouldn’t, but….”
Exodus 15:26 26 He said, “If you will obey me completely by doing what I consider right and by keeping my commands, I will not punish you with any of the diseases that I brought on the Egyptians. I am the LORD, the one who heals you.”
“…I can’t let go of what was said or done…”
Leviticus 19:17 “Do not bear a grudge against others, but settle your differences with them, so that you will not commit a sin because of them.
“…whoa is me…”
Psalm 71:20 You have sent troubles and suffering on me, but you will restore my strength; you will keep me from the grave.
“…I couldn’t just let it go…”
Proverbs 11:15 If you promise to pay a stranger’s debt, you will regret it. You are better off if you don’t get involved.
“…people I talked with agree with me…”
Proverbs 13:20 Keep company with the wise and you will become wise. If you make friends with stupid people, you will be ruined.
“…you knew I would react like this…”
Jeremiah 7:8 Look, you put your trust in deceitful words.
“…I don’t have to take this…”
John 16:33 I have told you this so that you will have peace by being united to me. The world will make you suffer. But be brave! I have defeated the world!
“…this is hard…”
Acts 9:16 And I myself will show him all that he must suffer for my sake.
“…I can’t see how this will work out…”
Romans 8:17 Since we are his children, we will possess the blessings he keeps for his people, and we will also possess with Christ what God has kept for him; for if we share Christ’s suffering, we will also share his glory.
“…I don’t want to…”
Philippians 1:29 For you have been given the privilege of serving Christ, not only by believing in him, but also by suffering for him.
“…but I just can’t do different…”
II Timothy 3:12 Everyone who wants to live a godly life in union with Christ Jesus will be persecuted
“…I am grown; I like what I like and no one has to know…”
Revelations 2:22 And so I will throw her on a bed where she and those who committed adultery with her will suffer terribly. I will do this now unless they repent of the wicked things they did with her.
So TRUST GOD!
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