This morning I read the following devotional in Mornings With Jesus 2017, which spoke loudly to me.
On a recent visit to our three-year-old granddaughter, we read the Bible story of Jesus’s arrest in Gethsemane. She had many questions about why people wanted to hurt Jesus. Her father did a beautiful job sharing the Gospel with her. He also explained that the religious leaders wanted to keep control and were worried because people were following Jesus. He told her that Jesus allowed Himself to be hurt because He loves us so much. She listened with rapt attention. When he finished, she had one question: “Daddy, how do I get control?”
We laughed, but after she was tucked in bed, we discussed how her question epitomized the human condition. From the Garden of Eden until today, we are presented with the wonderful truth of Jesus’s love, grace, and sacrifice on our behalf. Yet often our response is “I want to be the boss”. But Jesus said it wasn’t the proud who would be blessed, but the humble: “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” (Matt. 5:3)
I’d like to think I’m more spiritually mature now that I’m no longer three, but the truth is I still often miss the point. I dictate to Jesus exactly how He should answer my prayers, but if He doesn’t do things my way, doubt twists my thoughts into knots. I set a course for myself, but when I don’t get what I want, selfish ambition coils in my heart. I grow impatient with Jesus’s timing, frustrated with where He’s placed me. Grasping for control causes me to lash out at the One Who offers me peace.
In His tenderness, Jesus reminds me I’m not in control. When I trust His purposes, peace floods me. Then He amazes me as I catch glimpses of those purposes–far richer, deeper, and better than any of my plans. “Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails.” (Prov. 19:21)
When we come to God, we must realize our own sin and our spiritual emptiness and poverty. We must not be self-satisfied or proud in our hearts, thinking we don’t really need God. If we are, God cannot bless us. The Bible says, “God opposes the proud but shows favor to the humble” (James 4:6).
Pride can take all kinds of forms, but the worst is spiritual pride. Often the richer we are in things, the poorer we are in our hearts. Have you faced your own need of Christ? Do you realize that you are a sinner and need God’s forgiveness? Don’t let pride or anything else get in the way, but turn to Christ in humility and faith—and He will bless you and save you.
- Mornings With Jesus 2017
- Life Application Study Bible (NIV)
- Billy Graham Evangelistic Association