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. There are various reasons for this, and I will tell you that it is not God’s will for you to be bound by these feelings, but rather to find your hope in Him.
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 or attaining some status? 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, the way we are all born into this world as sinners, desires for things to go our way. From childhood our brains are wired to come out on top. Unless our parents understand God’s ways and are able to put great effort into training us to think differently, we often end up having to recognize and deal with this ME principle the hard way. God uses difficulties to attempt 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 the place of living 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 by 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. He desires our best and knows what that is. 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 love and protect 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).
Many of us have given ourselves to much learning in various areas of life, yet so few give the necessary time and interest to learning theology and allowing God’s Word to retrain our thoughts. Yet this is what leads us down the road to sanctification and satisfaction in life.
The Word of God tells us that it alone can reveal our true problems and teach 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 deceive us. We need the power of God’s words to change us. By the new birth experience, receiving the Holy Spirit to take up residence inside of us, we gain the ability to live for God. We then are able to put off the natural man, our old nature, and put on the new thoughts, words and actions of Christ. Once we experience this transformation we truly become new creations.
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 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 will come up short when it comes to happiness because it will be based upon 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 to self-destruction.
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 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)