I think it is safe to say that at one time or another we all go through a period of resistance towards God. A period where we think we know best and try to accomplish things alone. I have been in this place for quite some time now.
About three months ago I came off the mission field I had been on for 11 months. To say the transition back home was hard would be an understatement. After living every single day for almost a year completely surrendered to whatever God had for me, you would think coming home would not change a thing. However, the stress of needing to find a job, fitting back into society, and needing to have similar interests with those around me were too much to handle on my own. But for some reason I chose to. I chose to alienate myself from God during this transition instead of clinging to Him for help and strength to get through it.
I believe at some point we all think, “This is my life, I want to make this decision.” Where does that get us? It got me feeling depressed, anxious, angry, and bitter. Why do we choose to go through all this heartache and struggle, when allowing God to lead us could have avoided it all?
In his book Jesus>Religion, Jefferson Bethke suggests that when we do this we are inserting ourselves as god. We are trying to rule our own lives. I agree with his idea and believe that yes, we hate the pain that comes with struggles and trials, but we would rather be in control and go through the pain than give the choice and decision to someone else. Pride is the enemy here. Our pride can often overtake us and consume us to the point that we don’t even recognize we are being prideful.
How is making our own decisions prideful, you ask? Any situation where we think we know better than God and refuse to back down and allow Him to lead is pride. Any decision where we don’t stop and say, “God, I’m handing this over to you, lead me to the right conclusion,” is pride.
When trying to choose a Psalm to write about, the only one that came to mind was Psalm 145. In a time when I have resisted help from God, He led me to a Psalm that speaks of His character, love, and salvation, reminding me that He has not changed, that in every situation, good or bad, I ought to praise His name, not resist it. Verse 14 brought me to tears:
“The Lord upholds all who are falling
and raises up all who are bowed down.” Psalm 145:14 ESV
I have fallen; we all fall at some point, sometimes even multiple times a day, but the Lord holds us up. He still speaks His love over us, He still holds us in His hands, He still walks with us. I forgot this for a time. I forgot that His character and love do not change. I forgot that He wants the best for me and for all of us. God used the above verse to remind me that He never takes His eyes off me; I simply have to let go of my pride and come back to Him.
Letting go of pride is easier said than done. There are so many times a day when it rears its nasty head. I have had to take a close look at the things that easily trigger it and in those moments speak God’s truth over myself. I have had to realize that it is not until we surrender, stop thinking we know best, and “bow down” to Him that He will raise us up. He wants to lift us high, to see us succeed. He wants us to simply “bow down” and surrender.
Finally realizing this simple yet monumental truth can be life changing. For me it looks like laying down my need for control and my sin. Yet the struggles we all deal with are not simply going to go away once we finally lay them at the feet of Jesus; more than likely, they will bombard us even more. The trick is to be aware of them, and when you notice a situation where pride or need for control could be an issue, acknowledge to God that you have already given it to Him and you trust He will give you the strength to overcome it.
And if you fall into sin, don’t be dismayed, for the “The Lord upholds all who are falling and raises up all who are bowed down.” Have you ever resisted God in a time when you needed Him most? Feel free to share your story with us in the comments.
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