Friday, August 8, 2014

Procedure Manual for Life



I know I need a procedure manual – wouldn’t everything be easier if we had one?
Well, we do… the Bible, the infallible Word of God, to tell us how to live. Yes, we know we’re supposed to be gentle, patient, peaceful, and godly in our responses. But, how exactly do we get that way?
Our reactions all come back to our motives. Sure … we think we have good thoughts and good motives, but the truth is … we don’t. Jeremiah 17:9 says the heart of man is wicked above all things, who can know it. We can’t even know our own hearts. But, unfortunately, we don’t have to because we know it’s wicked. We can think our motives are pure and good, but in reality, our motives can be prideful, selfish, and corrupted. We want to look good. Of course we do. We’re human.
But, now that we know our heart is wicked, which means our motives can be too, we can deal with these motives and reactions.
So, what does our procedure manual tell us we need to do?
2 Peter 1:3-11 (NIV)
Confirming One’s Calling and Election
3 His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. 4 Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature, having escaped the corruption in the world caused by evil desires.
5 For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; 6 and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; 7 and to godliness, mutual affection; and to mutual affection, love. 8 For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9 But whoever does not have them is nearsighted and blind, forgetting that they have been cleansed from their past sins.
10 Therefore, my brothers and sisters, make every effort to confirm your calling and election. For if you do these things, you will never stumble, 11 and you will receive a rich welcome into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
In the verses from 2 Peter, we see that God has given us everything we need to live a godly life. But … yes, here’s the kicker … we have to make EVERY EFFORT to add things to our faith that can help us in our actions and responses, like goodness, knowledge, and self-control.
1. Remember who you are!
Remember when you’re responding, “I’m not a woman who is a slave to her circumstances, her hormones, or to other people’s attitudes. Those things may affect me, but they don’t rule me. I am a child of God, holy and dearly loved, whom God has set apart for a mighty plan.”
2. Redirect your focus on Jesus.
Speak the name of Jesus over your situation. There is power in His name! When you don’t know what to do, just speak His name. Surrender all your worry and control to Him.
3. Recognize God’s job isn’t your job.
This is definitely the hardest step for most of us. Loosen your grip! All God asks of us is simple obedience in the midst of whatever you’re going through. Then, God can move and work. Let’s not get in the way!
4. Recite thanks and praise to God.
Just like speaking the name of Jesus over your situation has power, so does thanksgiving and praise. It redirects our focus from ourselves to God.
5. Realize reactions determine reach.
Your reactions affect those around you. What kind of reaction will you have? Will it honor God or dishonor His name?
Let’s Pray
Father, we come to You, broken and desperate for Your love and grace. Please heal the broken places in our lives. We surrender our hurt and pain to You and ask You to transform it all into something beautiful that glorifies You. We choose to trust You – not our feelings or human understanding. We choose to walk by faith and not by sight.
In Jesus’ name, Amen.