LIVING IN SONSHIP
A Weekly Devotional by Barry Adams
We know that there are many ways that God speaks to us in order to give us guidance. Of course He speaks to us through His written (logos) Word and at times, His spoken (rhema) Word. But He also uses the wisdom of many counselors (Proverbs 15:22), our friends, our family, our circumstances and yes, even common sense.
But in this week's blog, I want to explore the unique way that God directs each and every one of us to fulfill His good purpose in our life from within our heart. I like how the Amplified Bible translates Philippians 2:13...
“[Not in your own strength] for it is God Who is all the while effectually at work in you [energizing and creating in you the power and desire], both to will and to work for His good pleasure and satisfaction and delight.” (AMP)
The Message paraphrased Bible says Philippians 2:13 this way...
Be energetic in your life of salvation, reverent and sensitive before God. That energy is God’s energy, an energy deep within you, God himself willing and working at what will give him the most pleasure.” (MSG)
Whatever version you prefer, the simple point of this verse is that the way God directs us is through the desires that He has already placed in our heart. Oftentimes when we think of trying to discern God's will for our lives, we make assumptions that what He wants must be in direction opposition to what we want.
Unfortunately, that is what religion can communicate to us. If we assume that we are rotten to the core (even after we are born again) then it would be easy to believe that our heart's desires must be wrong too. When I was a new Christian, I fell into this twisted mindset myself. Because of the external influences of some of the Christian leaders that influenced me, I just assumed that what God wanted must be opposite to what I wanted.
With that kind of belief system, I was continually bracing myself for the time when God would call me to a country that I didn't want to go and to a ministry that I didn't enjoy. But interesting enough, the 'call' that I was expecting never came. Instead, Papa in His mercy has led me into a ministry that I love, using the tools that I enjoy, in a field that was custom built for me! :)
It sounds like this should be common sense, but unfortunately, it isn't. There are many well-meaning people with beautiful hearts that wrestle with this basic principle of the Christian life. And as a result, they feel a disconnection from their true purpose and a conflict between who they really are and what they do.
I believe the glorious simplicity of the gospel is that I can't do what you were created to do and you can't do what I was created to do! That is what makes each one of us a unique one-of-a-kind reflection of God's glory. You and I weren't created on an assembly line with millions of other clones. Our Papa created each one of us in His image (Genesis 1:27) and then He threw out the mold and start again!
I believe the best way that we can discern our special purpose is to simply live by the new, redeemed heart that God has given us (Ezekiel 36:26)That may sound simple enough but for many people is it not that simple.
Often in both the world and the church, we are so busy managing what people expect us to be that we really don't have any time to listen to our own heart. So we spend our lives trying to fit our square peg in a round hole and all the while we are feeling completely discontented and frustrated. No wonder that is the case! If we aren't being true to ourselves, we will spend our efforts in pursuit of somebody else's life and not our own.
A son (or daughter) who knows that they are loved is free to live by their heart and trust the deep seeded desires that their Abba has placed in them. Whether people approve or not, when we live by our heart we are displaying to the world the unique facet (of His really BIG diamond) that God has created us to be! We may not please those around us, but it is in this place of absolute freedom that I believe our Papa is very, very pleased.
Just think of little kids. The smaller they are, the more in touch they are with their heart's desires. If they want to jump up and twirl around, they do. If they want to lie down and take a nap they do. If they want to pull out all of the pots and pans in the kitchen, they do.
It is only when they begin being shaped by the external forces of a fallen world that they begin to shut down the open air waves that exist between their head and their heart. Since Jesus clearly told us that the secret to being great in His Kingdom is learning to be small again (Matthew 18:1-5), we should take note of this beautiful, simple attribute of a little child... They live by their heart.
My prayer today is that God would show you the desires that He has placed in your heart and how He wants you to live in the glorious freedom of just being you! I pray that He will give you wisdom and grace to recognize the areas in your life where you have sacrificed who you really are on the altar of conformity. May Papa give you the courage to simply be yourself and yield to the good works that He has already prepared for you to do (Ephesians 2:10).
If you don't know what the desires of your heart are, may you give yourself permission to ask yourself what it is exactly that you love to do. If you still don't get an answer, maybe you need to spend some time playing in Papa's sandbox until you find something that truly resonates in your heart. And when you find it, embrace it and trust that Papa is directing you through it. ...For it is God who works in you both to will and to work, for his good pleasure.”
“Delight yourself also in the LORD, And He shall give you the desires of your heart.” (NKJV)