Monday, May 3, 2010

What it Takes

Willingness: At birth, we cannot do things on our own. Someone must feed us, clothe us, change us, and care for us. We are at the hands of our parents (whether they do the correct job or not). As we grow into toddlers and pre-school we continue in this dependence on them still. They lead us by the hand wherever we go and especially across the street where it can be dangerous. We run to them when we get hurt or are scared (how many of you climbed into bed with your parents when you had a scary dream?) And when we need love and someone to hug we would turn to the loving arms of mom or dad. Then, something happens as we move into elementary, middle school and high school. We loose the dependence and become more independent. We question almost everything in our lives: why do I have to take PE, why must I do my homework, why did I not get the grade that I deserved on that paper, why did my friend get hurt....and the list of why's continue. Then, into college, where discovering yourself and who you are is what the experience is about. Who am I going to become? What am I going to do with my life? Who am I going to marry? And in all this questioning, we forget what is what like when we could depend on someone else to show us the way.

That's what we have lost people....a healthy dependence...a willingness with GOD! So when I was hit with this idea of willingness by a comment made to an earlier blog comment I decided to take a closer look. And in this closer look and some happenings in my day, God laid it ALL out!
First: I took a look at the actual definition of willingness and I found it convicting. It kinda stopped me in my tracks a bit.

Willingness - inclined and prepared - okay, not so bad
- Acting or ready to act gladly - uh oh, wait a sec
- Accepted, borne voluntarily or ungrudgingly - whoa, uhhhhhhh
-Cheerful compliance - YIKES!

Wow, boy do I fall short of these definitions!!!!! I thought that a willingness was a way to pacify and make compromise. Was I wrong! Today, I got so mad at a situation that I have not stopped thinking about it since. An art competition that my students were in may not end in a true fairness towards their artwork. Instead of the best artwork being chosen, there's a huge possibility that they may just chose others to be fair. And that makes me very mad!

Matthew 26:41 - "Watch and pray so that you do not fall into temptation. The Spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak."

Man oh my flesh weak! Especially when I feel like I have no control over things! You know what I mean....control....the thing that we freak out about when we don't have it! Let me illustrate some things that we don't have any control over: how a contest is judged, whether or not it rains, getting a flat tire, whether or not someone we like has feelings in return, being robbed or having a natural disaster (like a hurricane) wipe out everything you have to your name. These are just a few of the many things that we as individuals don't have control over.

You know who has control? God. Yep, that's right. And as much as we fight and cry and ask why...we are never going to be able to gain and/or maintain control with Everything in our lives. But God, our Holy Father can and does. Now we may not see how things are in control at the time, but need to trust that they are. God tells us this in Romans 8:28 - " And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose."

Think back to those time when you weren't real sure of something as a child...who did you run to? So do we think that now that we're ALL "grown up" that doesn't apply to us anymore? Do we think that we will look weak? Do we think that others will think that we are weak? I think that it takes a lot more as adults in our walk with Christ to go to him rather than just trying to depend upon ourselves. Have you ever asked your parents (now being an adult) for help in some way whether it is financially or not? Didn't you have to work up the courage to some degree to ask finally after dwelling over it a bit? You had to lay yourself at their feet...that takes more effort than to just try to fix things on your own. Or...whenever you needed help, was your parents the first ones that you would think of to ask because you knew that they would be there without question? God is the latter of the two! And I don't mind saying so, but I am elated to know that he is!!!

I found a quote today that helps: Must faith be exactly that, the willingness and ability to believe in the face of a lack of evidence? If one could find the evidence, would then the faith be dead? I found this a very profound statement/question to raise. And it reminds me of my all time favorite verse...the very first verse that I truly wanted to imprint on my heart Hebrews 11:1 - "Faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see." I love this verse because it reminds me of the things that I cannot control and that I have to keep trust and faith in God when I cannot see how things will play out and especially when I cannot control them myself.

Just one last thing on my mind when it comes to willingness. We have to be willing to follow and obey God wherever He chooses for our life direction to go. Realizing that we don't have control...but for an extremely good reason...GOD himself has it all under control for us. What does it cost us? We have to give up the control...or the idea that we can control!!! This idea right here helps me to take a Big sign and release any frustration and tension that has built up because God is taking over! When I run to him (much like when we ran to our parents when we scrapped our knees) He is going to take my hand, wrap his arms around me and lead me to a place where he is in control!
"It does not require great learning to be a Christian and be convinced of the truth of the Bible. It requires only an honest heart and a willingness to obey God." - Albert Barnes

It takes a lot to leave our helplessness in things we cannot control. God says bring them to me and follow and obey and I will take care of you! Have a willingness to obey God.

1 John 2:5 - " But if anyone obeys his word, God's love is truly made complete in him..."

Luke 11:28 - " Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and obey it."

Proverbs 3:5-6 - " Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will make straight your path."

If you do have the willingness, God Will Not steer you in the wrong direction! His will and plan are perfect! AMEN!!!

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