UCAN sharing: Grab
Scripture: Matt. 13:18-23
10 For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened. Lk. 11:10
Grab: to seize suddenly or quickly; snatch; clutch (dictionary.com):
A small child is accompanying his mother food shopping and is placed in the shopping cart. As they move through the store the mother places what she wants in the cart. On entering the cookie section the child feels the need to add what he wants to the cart. The mother doesn’t see the child grab the cookies and place them in the cart. Harmless? Maybe but the mother may not want the child to have the cookies. She may not want to pay for them or the child may be diabetic. For many Christians this is how we often behave towards God. Instead of choosing to trust God for what we get out of life we often choose to reach out and grab what we want regardless of His will. When we do so we place our own will before God’s. This means we miss the things that God has to offer us. But it also means our hearts have failed to understand that God is the only source of what we is really good. Acknowledging this by asking before we act, allows God to bring to us what He wants, when He wants and this tremendously blesses us. James 1:17
17 Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning.
Children from a young age demonstrate a tendency to reach out to whomever and whatever and take what they want. Accompanying this is often the expression “mine”. It doesn’t matter if it doesn’t belong to the child, the child wants it and therefore claims it for their own. As adults we learn that this behavior is not acceptable and if you doubt this, trying snatching someone’s coffee or taking a pastry without paying for it and see the results. In our spiritual life we must learn to ask from God what is best and accept what he gives us. Interfering with this is our fleshly desires to have what we want. Because our flesh is contrary to God (Gal.5:17), it serves itself and is motivated only to gratify those desires it has. Christians need to understand that while we are new creations in Christ from salvation we still need to have our minds renew. This seems like a contradiction but it is not. In God’s eyes we are redeemed but the question is do we believe that Jesus actually set us free from our old selves? Within us still resides our fleshly desires that war against our soul. 1 Peter 2:11
1 Beloved, I beg you as sojourners and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts which war against the soul, Clearly, God is saying that we have a part to play in gaining the spiritual victory in Christ. It has to do with our wills. We must learn to trust God and yield to Him in obedience despite what we might feel.
Consider all the decisions in life that people make. What to study? Who are my friends? What career do I pursue? Who do I marry? In all these areas God has a perfect will for us if we are willing and obedient. God’s perfect will is tailored made for each person and builds that person up, bringing them to a powerful life. Many fail here because we just don’t believe or trust God enough to let go of this life and trust in His judgments. In the book of Jeremiah chapter 42 God tells the people who remained after the fall of Jerusalem that he wants them to remain in the land and He will protect them (V10-12). But fearing reprisal from King Nebuchadnezzar they chose to disobey and flee to Egypt (Jer. 43:7). They weren’t willing to trust God even after swearing to do so. This brought heavy consequences to them. When we bypass God’s will and are not willing to wait on the Lord we too will suffer serious consequences that we bring on ourselves. Imagine that someone wishes to marry but God says no. The person reaches out and takes and marries anyway only to find that it is a deep struggle and full of pain. Did God do this to them? We often blame God. No, God didn’t want this for them He wanted the best they choose their way over God’s. Jer. 29:11
11 For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the LORD, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.
In our Christian life too often we make decisions based not on what God wants but what we want or see as best. We need to see that our decision making process is flawed by our sinful nature. We can choose to draw nearer to God and gain intimacy with Him so that we can begin to know how great His love for us is. As we do so we grow our faith. With faith comes the greater ability to wait on the Lord. When we wait for God it doesn’t mean we are idle. It means we have made the fixed decision that it will be God’s perfect will and nothing else. This is our heart desire. We are willing to set aside what we want for what God wants because we know that He loves us. The greatest example of this is Jesus.
On the night Jesus was to be betrayed he went to Gethsemane. It was here that he made a powerful decision. In agony over what was to come (Matt. 26:38) Jesus prayed and looked for relief from the suffering that was to come. He asked that if there was another way to accomplish the task could he have that way. But he realized that there was none so he surrendered his will to the Father. He prayed that it be the Father’s will not his own. This opened the way for Jesus to be crucified. For the Father would not have gone against the Son’s will, just like He won’t go against our will. He honors our free will as the gift given by himself. Had Jesus chosen He could have walked out of the Garden and salvation would not have come to mankind. But because he loved the Father and always did what the Father asked he gave up his own life trusting the Father. As a result Jesus was honored and sits at the right hand of the Father (Phil 2:5-11).
God gives His word that those who trust and seek Him will not fail. Isa 40:29-31. He will carry us when we can’t if we seek His perfect will. This means our fleshly desires have to go. We must set our eyes on Christ and he will give you strength and direction (Ps. 23).
Take some time to think about how you make your life decisions. Do you reach out and take what you want forgetting God’s will for you? Do you decide and then ask God to bless your decisions? Do you pretend to be obedient when you know that you are not submitted to His will? Do you know how to find God’s will (Rom 12:1-2)? If you choose your own way you will not find true life but death (Gal. 6:7-8). Meditate on what Jesus went through in the garden? Was it pleasant to go through? What did He fix His mind on (Heb. 12:2)? Look back over your life and think about the decisions you have made apart from God. What results have come from these choices? Have you gain the fullness of life? Do you have eternal life?
When you come to see that trusting God no matter what is better than reaching and doing what you want, turn to God and acknowledge that you have been making the decisions selfishly. Ask God to forgive you and teach you to allow Him to lead you. Pray that unless you do His perfect will he not bless you so that you know when you go astray. In this way you too can walk in God’s perfect will without grabbing for life.