We all have habits that we need to get rid of. However, there is a particular habit that Jesus is more concerned about breaking than the one you are thinking of: it isthe desire to get your own way.
“Since Jesus went through everything you’re going through and more, learn to think like him. Think of your sufferings as a weaning from that old sinful habit of always expecting to get your own way.Then you’ll be able to live out your days free to pursue what God wants instead of being tyrannized by what you want.”
1 Peter 4:1-2 MSG
When we struggle, we may think it is because God doesn’t love us. In reality, it might be that He loves you so much that He will use the stressful opportunity at hand to break the habit of the-only-way-I-will-be-happy-is-when-I-get-my-way.
God has more for you than that and He calls it freedom.
“Grace and peace be yours in abundance through the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord. 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.”
2 Peter 1:2-3
All relationships have to be give and take in order to be healthy.
This includes your relationship with God.
Your “give” to God: to journey with Him and hold nothing back.
So what is your “take”?
Your “take” is to partake of God’s promises, dwell in His presence and walk in His power in every area of your life.
This taking is not a selfish act, it is a trusting one.
“For those who live according to the flesh have their outlook shaped by the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit have their outlook shaped by the things of the Spirit.” Romans 8:5-6 NET
God has given us the ability to imagine and shape our thoughts – we call it our imagination. He gave us the ability to imagine our day, our tomorrow, our future.
The imagination nourished by the Spirit of God is life and peace.
The imagination shaped by the flesh is fear and death.
The thing is, we get to choose.
My friend, today you have permission to take a mental vacation from fear and set your imagination free to dream some God-sized dreams.
“But he knows the way that I take; when he has tested me, I will come forth as gold.” Job 23:10 NIV
Your faith is more precious to God than the finest of gold.
Your faith in Jesus will last longer than your job, your goals and your body. It is the faith born from the eternal life inside of you that sustains you through the trials of the temporary outside life.
When God tests your faith it is to purify it. To clarify it. To clean it from dross and impurities. He will use the smallest irritation or the greatest trial to do it. He does not send the trial but He will use it.
The same fire that destroys wood purifies gold.
God can use the very thing that you feel like is destroying you to purify you.
He will use the disappointment you are experiencing to make the dross of your heart rise to the surface so He can skim it off.
You have a promise here that God knows where you are, what you are going through and that He knows how to use it to do a powerful work in you.
You will come out of it shining.
Hold onto God during this season because He is most certainly holding onto you.
A pilgrimage is defined as a journey to a sacred place.
It is a choice to take a journey to a place and invite God to transform you as you go.
When you are pursuing a thriving relationship with God, you are not just on a pilgrimage, you are living one every day.
“Blessed are those whose strength is in you, whose hearts are set on pilgrimage.”
Psalm 84:5 NIV
Every place you invite God into becomes a sacred place.
The pilgrimage for a Christian is not to go somewhere that God has been but to allow God to be with you where you are right now.
In your weakness.
In your frail humanity.
Into the reality of your life.
Jesus comes in and gives you what you do not deserve but cannot live without. He gives you His abundant love, cross-forged forgiveness, sustaining strength, perfect peace, deep joy, and unrelenting hope right where you are.
There is far more to your life than the food you put in your stomach, more to your outer appearance than the clothes you hang on your body. Look at the birds, free and unfettered, not tied down to a job description, careless in the care of God. And you count far more to him than birds.”
Matthew 6:25, 26 MSG
Life with God is about being filled with His love and then pouring it out on all those around you.
It is worshipping Him when we wake, when we walk, when we clean, when we work, when we eat, when we get dressed.
It is knowing you are saved by grace and reconciled to Him because of the sacrifice of Jesus.
It is knowing He loves you because you are His kid and He enjoys spending time with you.
My friend, you are a child of God who is cherished, chosen and provided for.
Live in the freedom of His love.
Live care-less in the care of God.
Live more in this truth and less in the lie that you are valued because of what you look like, eat, wear or do.
This life, this love, this security comes from Jesus and is unshakable.