I recently sat at home and spoke with a friend about the importance of being wholehearted and surrendered in our walk with God, and it really opened my eyes to certain truths about the Christian life. It is so easy that we live our lives with a tag or a name of “serving God”, but our focus is actually on what we get out of it, and what is enjoyable for the moment. We want to do certain things because it feels good for us, or it looks good on the outside. But God has a higher way for us to walk. He wants us to walk in His perfect will.
“Most assuredly, I say to you, when you were younger, you girded yourself and walked where you wished; but when you are old, you will stretch out your hands, and another will gird you and carry you where you do not wish.” (John 21:18)
Many people don’t like to read this verse, or at least not to read it as if it is “speaking personally to me in my situation“, because Jesus actually spoke to Peter about his death. That’s understandable, but actually this is how life with God is many times. God sometimes takes us where we do not like to go. Not that God purposely want to make us do things we don’t like all the time. God is not an uncle with a white beard who sits on a cloud in heaven with a whip in His hand to make us do things we don’t like. God works in our will (Phil 2:13), so most of the times he has already put on our hearts to do certain things that we later find out was not our own, but His purpose. Our dreams and passions comes from Him. He want us to enjoy what we are doing, He is not making us slaves in the sense that He puts heavy burdens upon our shoulders. He is more like a father who knows best what His child needs. A child doesn’t always like to obey its parents, but in the end it is the parents who knows what is best for the child, and they are doing it out of love.
But the fact is still that God sometimes wants us to do things which we don’t like. Not because we don’t like them, but because it is the right thing to do.
For example: You discover that a friend is in need of food or a shelter. Then you have two options; either to help, or to ignore. There is nothing in between. Many times we ignore people and needs, because it is not comfortable for us to help. We may have our own schedule and things we want to do, and then a “homeless person comes in the way“. But hey, hasn’t God said that we should care for the homeless, fatherless, needy? Why then do we spend so much time on things that has no eternal value instead of simply obeying God wholeheartedly?
Another classical selfish mistake is this: “Oh, I have to take time with God now, read my bible and pray, I have no time to help“. Sometimes it is just embarrassing how selfish and pathetic we can become. Even when our friends and family need us so badly we still hold on to “me and my little time with God”. Yes I agree that God is the most important person, and should always be the priority in our lives, but we also live in a limited and time-bound world where we need to be flexible and open for changes. We can’t be so programmed so that we ignore people and needs around us when God actually has said in His word that we should love people like ourselves. Discipline is good, but not when it becomes just a program and an insensitive selfish ambition that makes our loved ones suffer. Paul said “pray without ceasing”, but that doesn’t mean that we should live in a little bubble and ignore human beings around us. God sees your heart and He will bless you with time to pray.
How do we serve God? Why do we serve God?
These are questions we need to ask ourselves. Are we serving God because it it comfortable, because it feels good, because it makes us look good, or are we serving God because we love God and people? God cares more about the motive behind it that He cares for the deed in itself. There were many people who put money in the offering, but Jesus looked at one woman, not because she gave much, (she gave least of all) but because she gave out of a righteous and willing heart, a heart full of love for God.
Some years ago God spoke to me about a new direction in my life, and I understood it was from Him and started to plan that way. But suddenly a need came up in a way that I understood I had to fill that, but it also meant that I had to give up the plans I already had made. I got confused, because I knew it was God who gave me the direction, but at the same time I wanted to take my responsibility to fill the other need. I went to God for counsel, and I prayed about it for some time, but after a while I decided to give up my plans and be available, because I sensed that was what God wanted for the time being. I was not happy in the beginning and it was a real “John 21:18-experience” but later on, in the right time God blessed me and gave back to me in a greater measure, what I had given up.
Just like the wind takes a skydiver wherever it blows, we should let Jesus take us where He pleases. Do you do that, even when you don’t like to?