Right motives but wrong target: when Saul was going to Damascus to arrest the followers of Jesus, he was endeavoring to promote adherence to God’s ways, but he missed the point that Jesus is God. I think Saul / Paul had good intentions, but he was misdirected. Thankfully, God interrupted his plans & gave him some pause to make some major adjustments to his belief system.
I wonder for us today, if we don’t sometimes need to have some adjustments to our goals. Similar to Saul / Paul, I think we can have very noble motives and intentions (adherence to God’s ways), but how we accomplish such noble motives can be tricky. Ultimately, when we are followers of Jesus, we need to make genuine love our motive & outcome because of what Jesus says in John 13:35, “By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.”
Are there any areas in your life that need to be changed so that genuine love is your endgame?
Here’s the honest truth: I’m about 80% grey & I have to dye my hair every 6-7 weeks to maintain a youthful appearance. My hair stylist says that I’d age myself at least 10 years if I didn’t dye my hair & he’s probably right since he’s the hair expert & I’m not.
And some roots are good. For example, roots in the Bible can grow fruits & results that far exceed our natural abilities & strengths. I desperately need God’s help, intervention & wisdom to flow throughout my life to empower healthy fruit! Let’s allow our roots to sink deep into God rather than letting worry & the flesh cultivate the yucky fruit 🙂
It’s good to quit sometimes. Quit trying to do everything, quit putting yourself down, quit speeding, quit being afraid of decisions or change, etc. I think that Moses wanted to quit the whole liberating thing that God talked about with him when Moses’ first conversation with Pharoah made everything MASSIVELY worse for his fellow Israelites.
After Moses talked with Pharoah, Pharoah significantly intensified the Israelites workload & it probably seemed like Moses’ efforts backfired.
When I don’t get the results I want, I definitely think about quitting. Let’s be sure that we are obeying God from a heart of loyalty in our relationship with God rather than just for the results we want. Obeying God merely for results can be manipulative & manipulation doesn’t foster trust nor intimacy with God 🙂
But my family wishes I’d quit taking their pictures ,)
In contrast to success, I don’t think any of us purposefully set out to fail or enjoy defeat. Indeed, the word, “defeat” causes me to recoil & evokes a gagging reflex in me. Truth be known, I’d rather not try & avoid defeat than to try & feel defeated – operative word, “feel”.
How we feel & what we think about success is really important to consider because our thinking & feeling affect what we do & even how we organize our priorities. Let me suggest to you that we humans tend to frame success in the terms of results but maybe God frames success in different terms. Perhaps obedience is more important to God than results. Is it possible that God defines success as obedience more than results?
Once upon a time, in an ancient & almost forgotten century, there was a movie called When Harry Met Sally. In the movie, there are these brief interviews with couples who have been married for eons. What has lingered in my memory from these interviews & from watching couples who are old & have been married since before time, is often the rich texture, the broad understanding & genuine respect that these relationships evidence. There’s something very alluring & appealing to seeing these long-term relationships. With all of this being said, I don’t really consider myself to be much of a romantic person (skip the roses, chocolate & I’m unable to muster the interest to endure watching Pride & Prejudice, no matter who the actors are). BUT, what I do like are the results from these long-term committments.
So here’s my point: the results we often crave in our lives (significance, love, fulfillment, intimacy, satisfaction, achievement, etc) are often nothing less than the consequences of committment, a word that is often disdained in our modern culture. Perhaps when Jesus talked about abiding in Him to bear much fruit / results, just maybe He was talking about being committed to Him in a deeply personal & daily relationship. Just a little food for thought ,)
My husband informed me that the rhubarb I planted last year is starting to grow & I’m SUPER excited about this! I’m very excited because of a few reasons – my grandma had this amazing rhubarb torte recipe that I LOVE to make every summer. I could pretty much eat the whole thing with no help, but that would be selfish 🙁 Another reason I’m excited is because the planting instructions said that I couldn’t harvest or eat any of it, until it had been in the ground for a year. That could be considered to be a long time to wait for a rhubarb harvest ,)
So here’s my point, I think we need to be really mindful of what “seeds” that we are planting today because they will be the harvest for your future. Furthermore, I would suggest that you might take an inventory of the results you currently have in your life, to see what you like & what you don’t like. From this inventory, you could probably pick out a few seeds that you want to continue to plant (behaviors that you want to continue) & a few seeds that could use some planting adjustments ,)
I’ve been reading where Jesus talks about being fruitful for God in John 15 & He brings out the idea of pruning a branch to make it more fruitful. In this chapter, He talks about how there are branches that take life but bear no fruit. I can see the truth of what Jesus is saying in many areas of my life. If I’m not careful, I can get involved w lots of different things & give away loads of my time, but to things that have nothing more than frothy results, things that are shallow & empty.
If I want God’s results to be working throughout my life, then it’s very important that I cooperate w His pruning process, even when I don’t always like it. Pruning makes for a fruitful life 😀
I always like to hear encouraging stories about how a person has been persistent & the great rewards that they experience from their endurance – some truly great people have become great, in part due to their persistence.
There is, however, an ugly side to persistence & its called stubborness. I’ve heard many stories as well about people being stubborn & the bad things that have happened because of their unwillingness to change. It’s interesting that the words “persistent” & “stubborn” can have similar meanings but evoke different responses in us. So I’ve been thinking about what the difference is for me with these words & here’s my perspective:
When I am stubborn, I assert my will & desires at almost all costs. But when I’m committed to asserting God’s will in my life (conversations, attitudes, actions, etc) over my desires, then perhaps I could consider that I’m being persistent. For me, one word is all about me & the other word is all about Jesus. So I’m praying that the Holy Spirit will dismantle any & all “stubborn” scaffolding in my life & replace those structures with His persistence & endurance to work out God’s will through my daily living. Persistence gets God’s results & stubborness get’s my results :/
I totally love the fruits that we get during the Summer – I love peaches, strawberries, cherries, rhubarb, apricots, figs, blueberries, . . . . I LOVE these fruits!! I love to use them in pies, tortes, grilled, fresh, with cream, . . . . . There have even been a few occasions when I’ve eaten so many of these that I’ve gotten sick :/ Nevertheless, Summer fruits are delicious!! These are season fruits that can be harvested in the Summer. So I try to eat as many of them as I can while they’re available.
But I also think about these fruits in relation to the fruits of the Holy Spirit that Paul discusses in Galatians 5 – fruits like patience, love, peace, self-control, joy, gentleness, goodness, kindness and faithfulness. I LOVE it when I have these fruits in my life – seems like life is more enjoyable & effective. But here’s my challenge, I’ve tried to make myself be patient & boy was that a disaster! I’ve tried to be more loving, only to find myself venting on someone who was undeserving of such wrath. I’ve tried to be gentle, only to find myself bumbling through emotional land mines. I’ve come to this conclusion – these things are the fruit of the SPIRIT, not the fruit of Sarah. With this flash of brilliance, my main objective now, is to live increasingly sensitive to the Holy Spirit. You see, the more I’m around the Holy Spirit, the more these consequences / fruits become observable in my life and the Fruit of the Spirit far surpasses any peach, strawberry, cherry, rhubarb, blueberry, apricot or fig ,)