Apple Gentleness the fruit of surrender

God’s Will in Our Lives

Kindness begins toward God. It is that attitude of the spirit by which we accept God’s dealings with us as good and do not dispute or resist.

In Galatians 5:22, gentleness is listed as one of the 9 characteristics of the Fruit of the Spirit. It is from the Greek word, prautes, and is defined in the NIV Key Word Study Bible as “meek…but not in a man’s outward behavior only, nor in his relations to his fellow men, or his mere disposition, but in an in wrought grace of the soul expressed primarily toward God.

How much of life is spent disputing God? Not that he is God, but his dealings with us?

The opposite of resisting is submitting, and who wants to do that? Whether in regard to other people–submitting to their needs first–or to God? Submission is complete surrender. It is letting go of your right to decide and putting your life into God’s hands. Many say, “If I knew God’s will for my life, I would submit to it.” The fact that we’e searching for God’s will is evidenced by the extraordinary number of Bible studies exploring this very topic. Walk into any Christian bookstore and some variant of “Discovering God’s Will for Your Life” is front and center.

Back up a minute. Submit to his will first and then know his will? That’s confusing. 

Before we begin seeking God’s will in our lives, we need to first submit to God’s will in our lives. If we don’t, we’re only playing games with ourselves and with God, because what we’re really saying is, you tell me what you will for my life is first, then I’ll you if I will submit (or resist).

The NIV commentary goes on to say, “Prautes is the acceptance of God’s dealings with us, considering them as good, considering that they enhance the closeness of our relationship with Him.” In other words, God is first seeking a relationship with us, one built on trust and submission, before we get down to any business of what His will is or is not.

Let’s be honest: when we say we’re looking for His will, generally we’re either looking for a way out or a way in. We want into, or out of—a marriage, a job, a ministry, a neighborhood, a house. It’s all about solving our immediate problems, but God’s Word says, “Seek me first and all this will be added to you.” (Matthew 6:33)

There should come a time in every believer’s life when we finally understand that God is good and His dealings with us–even when we cannot understand them and they bring us to our knees sobbing–are good. Disputing this with Him assumes your thought processes are either like His or better than His, and your reasoning skills and understanding are like His.

Isaiah 55:9 clearly states that His thoughts are higher than our thoughts and His ways are higher than ours. Sometimes you will not understand why He allowed something to happen. You don’t need to understand to submit. You only need to trust.

Trust is a big scary word, especially when it means releasing control. We are fallible, fearful human beings, and we don’t trust easily. The Lord knows that. Our lives are precious and deserving of our best in living them out. Let’s not cast our pearls before swine, instead be cautious in a world where there are so many ways to spend a life. In seeking the Lord and relating to Him and letting Him relate to us through His Word, we begin to trust Him enough to submit to Him. It’s a process. It’s a relationship.

As he designs our circumstances to give us an opportunity to trust him–to show us He is faithful–do we resist him because it is too hard? Too scary? Do we dispute Him? Or do we draw near and submit?

Let us yearn to be like Peter, saying, “Lord, to whom else shall we go?” (John 6:68)

People, to whom else shall we go?

We look for peace, we ask for joy, we desire understanding, and we yearn for purpose. We believe all these things are wrapped up in some mystery called God’s will for our lives. We believe that if we could unravel it, our lives would be good, not understanding that the mystery is in God alone. We find joy, peace, purpose and understanding not in jobs to be done or questions answered, but in the “attitude of spirit by which we accept God’s dealings with us as good and do not dispute or resist.” We will find it in complete surrender and gentle submission to our Lord.

Kindly,
Cinthia

I Was Lazarus Tonight (and for once I had nothing to say)

Tonight I went to a Bible Study where I played Lazarus. It is a Bible Study that bases it premise on the fact that 95% of communication is non-verbal, and is played out through the roles, positions and places we all assume within the circles that form our daily lives. Of course, playing a dead guy was an easy role. I got to lie on a pillow on the floor with my eyes closed, while those who played Mary and Martha or Thomas had to act out their parts.

Only acting is not the right word. This isn’t acting but literally stepping into someone else’s life and attempting to feel what they may have felt. It is a flannel board with real people. Everyone is participating in telling the story that is read out of Scripture. It is quite interesting, and I found that for the first time, I had no questions.

What I mean is, I always have questions. I’ll explain.

Lazarus has always appealed to me because well, what was it like to be dead? He is the only person who ever lived who could answer that question because this guy was dead-as-a-doornail type of dead. This was dead for four days dead. This was buried and in the tomb dead. None of this near-death experience. The man was D.E.A.D. dead. Then he was completely alive. So, yeah. I have got some questions for this guy. So, I figured, when it came my time to “talk” for Lazarus, I’d have a lot to say.

I did not.

What I came away with was pretty simple. Jesus is life. Remember Ponce de Leon looking for the fountain of youth (and we think we’re stuck on youth)? Well, it is sort of like that. Everyone is always looking for life, real life, real I FEEL ALIVE life. I think Lazarus felt more alive than he’d ever felt after they unraveled the grave clothes off him. I think food tasted awesome. Sleep must have been so sweet. Grass was way greener. The sky bluer. Life got very big and very real and he stopped being a robot while living it because he was DEAD, and now he was ALIVE. I mean, geez louise, that is big stuff.

I’ve heard it said that it is easier for God to raise the physically dead than the spiritually dead because of our pride, our sin and our desire to be God ourselves. We’d rather raise ourselves, thank you. But Lazarus could not will himself out of that tomb. He could not unwrap the grave clothes. He couldn’t wash the stink of four days of dead off himself. He could only lay there in death and wait. Wait for the words, “Lazarus, come out of the tomb,” spoken by Jesus. Jesus speaks life because he is the source of all life. He created it, gives it, takes it away, gives it back.

I am often asked why Jesus the only “Way”. Why can’t there be lots of ways? Because there is only one source of life, and it is him. Who else calls dead people out of tombs? Who else, after three days in a tomb himself, unwraps his own grave clothes, and walks out of his own tomb?  Once dead now totally alive. And, he needed no one to stand outside his tomb and command him to walk out. Why? Because he is life and he laid his life down for us. Then when the time came, he picked it back up again. Because he is God. Because he is life.