It would be so easy if I could find and share the one clear answer to each question. However, what God’s will and way in any given situation is often a balance and requires me to keep my eyes on Jesus, listen to the Holy Spirit, remember that I will probably never see the full picture or find the perfect balance but I already have worth and dignity and security and God is able to bless my imperfect efforts. This must not be an excuse to be careless or lazy but rather a focus to keep me from being tense while I try. Just as a student with a master or a child with a parent needs to try their best and learn and grow but knows that the teacher or parent is on their side and will guide them and make up for their shortfall. Especially important with driving instructors.
Some ideas to turn “burdens” into the opportunities that God intends them to be, (for we are His workmanship created in Christ Jesus unto good works that he prepared for us and us for).
- Start your day the night before. The Jewish day began at sundown. Look back on the day and thank God for a. what He HAS HELPED you do, b. thank Him for the people he HAS PLACED in your life and for the grace he gave you to interact with them in a positive way, also stop and be grateful for anything others have done for you or just evidence of God working in them (positive character qualities), c. thank Him for the things He HAS GIVEN you and stop and savor them for a moment, d. Thank Him for who YOU ARE warts blemishes struggles and all especially including things about you that are just given and are part of God’s design of you. (age,sex,family of origin, height, IQ, time in history,etc.) Thank Him for the things about you and your support system that could change but are out of your control, take what you can do something about and acknowledge the current reality, thank God that He likes you anyhow and ask for grace to change and grow but don’t try to resent yourself into growth.
- Promise God that the very first thing you will do when you wake up is take a few minutes to praise Him.
- When you finish praising Him, put on the whole armor of God. My understanding of this is that I need to REMIND myself of the positional truths of who I am in Christ. First put on the helmet by remembering that you are saved from sin’s penalties and power. Second remember that you live in a world of truth not just fluctuating educated guesses. Sharpen up your awareness of this truth through reading the Word. Third remember that you face the devil’s accusations by referring all attackers to Jesus who seems to like you and whose righteousness is sufficient to compensate for whatever the attack is about. You might think or say, “your attack makes sense to me because I am aware that I am the chief of sinners and without Christ I can do nothing, but take it up with God who disagrees with both of us and thinks that I am worth an infinite amount and I rest in His righteousness so why don’t you attack that?” Fourth we can go out into the filth and struggles of life because our efforts are worthwhile because we carry the message that eternal life is available for free to all and we do have this gospel of peace.
- During the day– take up the shield of faith: so what is faith? It is the type of belief that compels me to act even though I fear that I will botch everything, look like a fool, lose all I have (He is no fool who lets go of what he doesn’t really have to gain what he can’t lose) be thought ill of etc. Besides, it seems unfair and impossible. So I find motivation to obey anyhow because His ways really couldn’t be worse than mine and I owe Him everything. I yield my body parts according to a growing picture of God’s ways in action, then leave the results to Him and get a good night sleep. Taking up the shield involves reminding myself of what God has done in the recent past and picturing the positional reality that (contrary to emotions and some slips) I am dead to sin and alive to God. Watchman Nee shares how he made everything a burden by getting up in the morning and purposing to act dead to sin and alive to God. Then at the end of the day he would beat himself up for his shortfall. After fasting praying and giving up on figuring out the healthy balance, God came to him and said, “you can’t kill dead people” how would you ever figure out when the corpse had been properly deaded? What technique would be sufficient? Instead he got up thanking God for the fact that he was already dead to sin and alive to God and improved his picture of these two states and found grace to rest in the accomplishments of God.
- Then there is the sword! This is the spoken word, spoken in song, spoken in prayer and spoken out loud but spoken practically and clearly. When tempted Jesus responded with a verse, when tempted the second time he responded with a verse, when the devil tempted him again and used a verse to back up his temptation Jesus responded with a more appropriate verse. The better you know the word the more accurate the tool but no one becomes a skilled sword fighter instantly. Do remember that it is not enough to pary the temptations we must thrust back or the devil will have no motivation to quit and sooner or later we will get poked. So when attacked, pray for you pastor or someone else, pray that God’s kingdom will thrive and the devil’s be defeated. Command him to leave in Jesus name. That is the first and easiest place to start with sword-fighting. I know of a missionary in the swamps of Borneo who broke a local taboo and was then attacked by a screaming demon. He froze and was sinking in the mire when he thought, ” I don’t know what they taught about this in seminary but greater is he that is in me than he that is in the world!” He cried out the nave of Jesus and the demon was silenced and peace came to the jungle and freedom to his next effort to evangelize. Don’t forget to sing speaking to yourself in songs and hymns and spiritual songs and making melody in your heart. Watch your “inner chatter” and pray without ceasing. It is good to set time aside but also talk constantly with your Lord.
- End of day go back to step 1.