You want to do what???!!!
My son Nathan will soon be 16 years old. His voice has broken and he is much much taller than I am but I have fun reminding him I’m still in charge. Even as a pre-teen, he had strong opinions on everything, especially activities he felt he should be involved in and why. I on the other hand had strong opinions as well, but they included all of the reasons why he couldn’t do what he wanted to do when he wanted to. Our arguments were long and drawn out until the words of the wise ancients were finally spoken: “You aren’t going anywhere because I say so; end of story!”
Have you ever wondered if God was talking to you? Can you recognise the sound of His voice? Well sometimes it may be hard to be sure but for me, it’s during those times when I’m unsettled about something and I get the exact same message from three different sources one after the other. Let me give you an example.
A big reveal
A few years ago, a friend called me to share in his excitement about a big revelation. He had just realised that we should not treat people as they deserved but as they should be treated e.g. idiots should be treated with lots of patience and not impatience (his example). I laughed it off as merely another “co-worker encounter” and told him that it was going to be easier said than done but if he felt that was what he was being led to do, then carry on smartly.
At home that night I settled into bed with my P31 Woman magazine and came across an article about God’s grace. The writer concluded that grace was not about giving people what they deserved, it was more about giving people what they didn’t deserve e.g. rewarding instead of punishing for genuine mistakes, forgiving instead of condemning, loving instead of being angry.
OK, so there is this theme twice in one day but would you believe the very next night in a conversation with Nate’s dad about a family situation he said (and I quote): “You don’t treat people how they treat you, you treat them differently.” Zap, zap, zap! The synapses in my brain were on fire! God had my full attention now for sure.
So what do you do when God zaps you???
As you and I know, there is no coincidence when it comes to God. He knew He needed to get through to me at that particular time in my life (this was soon after mummy had died) because I had some serious work to do in terms of self-improvement. My spiritual garden was a hot mess and I acknowledged His message: to get out there and prune my branches of bitterness, anger, condemnation and hate from His tree.
Acknowledging God’s mercy …
Are you familiar with the saying: “there but for the grace of God go I”? Well were it not for God’s grace in my life, I would probably have ended up being a volcano instead of a firecracker. But this saying also means that another person’s situation could just as easily be your own – were it not for the grace of God keeping you from experiencing it. Think about this example. Do you realise that every single vagrant on our streets was once a mother’s sweet baby, who probably went to primary school and who had a loving family / friends? They weren’t born as vagrants yet we judge them as we see them (filthy, smelly, always begging, etc.) but more importantly, based on any given set of unpredictable circumstances that could have been us too.
… and doing good works
In life we walk a very fine line between love and hate, forgiveness and condemnation, peace and anger. If it’s something we’re really emotional about and someone does something to us which we feel we didn’t deserve, then look out as we make sure we give them back (in a fuller measure most times) what we think they deserve! As we move out in ourlives, bear in mind that we are all created by God in Christ Jesus to do the good works that He prepared us in advance to do and with His grace.
♦ Verse for Reflection ♦
For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith – and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God – not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.
Ephesians 2:8-10 (NIV)