Sad, discouraged, depressed? Angry when things don’t go your way? Many go through life wondering why their life seems discouraging while others seem happy. This is a hard place to live. There are various reasons for this and I can tell you that it is not God’s will for you to be bound by these feelings, rather He desires that you find hope and change through His power.
It Helps to Take Inventory
If you are struggling with these feelings, let’s look at some foundational factors. Is there something you are desiring that seems illusive? Do you feel obsessed with reaching a goal, attaining some status, or controlling someone else? Perhaps it’s a particular item you feel would bring you happiness; a certain job, marriage, a house. When you sense that someone is interfering with your plans for success, do you become agitated or angry with them? — a boss, co-worker, neighbor, parent, spouse, or child. If so, here’s a good weekly exercise: take a note-card and whenever you feel this happening, write it down so you can review it later. Allow yourself to notice how often this happens during the day and over the week. You will see a pattern develop that will prove helpful. What factors cause you to experience these agitated or anxious thoughts? We’ll come back to this later.
Our natural man (sinful, fallen state), the way we are all born into this world, desires for things to go our way. From childhood our brains are wired to come out on top. Good parenting works to develop a solid path that helps, naturally speaking, to raise children to think differently, in more godly fashion resulting in less self-indulgence and more of a giving sttitude of the heart. But even with the best of training, we end up having to recognize and deal with this ME principle within. God often uses difficulties in life to teach us to give up the self-life and go with His-life instead — this is the way He designed us to function successfully .
Freedom in Christ!
Discovering and then desiring to live for God’s glory, takes us out of this lower position of serving ourselves and exchanges our desires for His plans and purpose for us — this is freedom living. Instead of living according to our natural bent to sin; our self-serving nature, we become free to live for God’s glory. The beginning point to this position is known as being born-again through God’s grace extended to us. Nothing we’ve earned or deserve, but because of His love (Ephesians 2:8-9). The Holy Spirit then takes up residence within us so that the life of Jesus Christ himself is expressed in us and replaces our self-life (Galatians 2:20). While God gives to each of His created beings personality and unique gifts, His desire is that these are given to be used for His glory. This is where fulfillment, joy and peace are obtained. But this kind of living requires a choice on our part; initially and daily as we walk with Him.
Being Enlightened (Ephesians 1:18-20)
When we surrender our life to God we learn how to adjust our focus away from our personal ambitions, and turn our future over to Him. I remember as a 21 year-old when this was first revealed to me. It took 2 months of listening and entertaining what this involved before I took the plunge; but once I did, I have never wanted to go back to serving myself (even though many times I have failed to live this out and have chosen self over God or others), that is a miserable life. God desires our best and he knows how to accomplish that in us. Once He is given control, He leads us into a life that is pleasing to Him and this is where we find true fulfillment, joy and peace. God’s Word becomes our basic training manual. Much like the retraining of the mind in a military boot-camp, we choose to enlist in a training program that will cause us to think according to God’s principles. The military teaches its recruits how to serve for the purpose of war or peace-keeping; in similar fashion we who belong to God’s kingdom are taught how to surrender to His leadership whether we are in the midst of difficulty or not. We are here to in order to promote God’s agenda and purpose in our world (Matthew 5:43-44).
Heaven is the believer’s true home. Many of us have given ourselves to much learning in various areas of life, yet so few give the necessary time and interest in allowing God’s Word to retrain our thoughts. Yet this is what leads us down the road of sanctification (a process of being set-apart for His glory as we surrender to His will) and satisfaction in our temporary life here.
Our heart is the control center affecting every issue we face; the desires within are revealed without. Scripture holds the answer to life’s issues and teaches us what to do in response to them. “For the word of God is living, and active, and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing even to the dividing of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and quick to discern the thoughts and intents of the heart.” (Hebrews 4:12 ASV) It is only after we are able to see our intents for what they are, that we can choose to deal with them. Until then we are blinded and our own desires can deceive us; we need the power of God’s words to open our eyes and change us. By the new birth experience, we receive the Holy Spirit and He takes up residence inside, we then gain the ability to truly live for God. We can then put off the natural man (our old nature) and take on the new life given through Christ (II Cor. 5:17); our thoughts, words and actions become aligned with those of our surpeme, divine example Jesus Christ. Once we experience this transformation we truly become new creations in Him (Col. 2:10).
My Way vs. God’s Glory
Now back to the exercise. Any one who completes the written exercise I mentioned earlier should come to the conclusion that our self-life is the core heart-issue to be dealt with. This diary of events helps us see that when we face frustration, it’s often because we want things to go our way, we want to receive the praise, status and comforts we feel we deserve.
Under the curse of sin, we are all born destined for destruction and eternal hell apart from God’s redemptive answer. Understanding this is crucial to living a life of peace with God and in freedom to glorify Him in all we do. Apart from this mindset, we will believe we deserve to be glorified, praised and exalted; we’ll want things to go our way. We will come up short when it comes to happiness because it will be based upon our circumstances and the praise of people, rather than the satisfaction of knowing we are living for God. Unless Jesus Christ becomes King of our heart, idols will take their natural place leading us in our self-interest to a position self-destruction; if not in an obvious way in this life certainly in the next.
Victory lies in Glorifying God
When we remember Christ’s resurrection over death, hell, and the grave, let’s consider why He suffered and died. He came to give us abundant life in Him and defeat the enemy of our soul (John 10:10). He came to give us power, by the indwelling Holy Spirit, to overcome sin and ourselves! He was raised to life again and lives to intercede for us in order for us to gain success in freedom-living. Let us choose to surrender completely to His will and glorify God in our bodies. The choice is ours.
Photo Credit (Pixabay)