“The heart is deceitful above all things and desperately sick; who can understand it?” Jeremiah 17:9
Our emotions can be influenced by so many outside factors: hunger, tiredness, insults, unresolved pain, etc. They can rule over us, causing us to choose words and actions we believe are justified in the heat of the moment, even when our choices are not ones God would condone. If you’ve ever found yourself in this predicament, (my hand is raised), we have plenty of company; this temptation is as old as time. In the Garden of Eden, even though it was something that had been expressly forbidden, Eve saw something that looked desirable to her.
“And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, ‘You may surely eat of every tree of the garden, but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.” Genesis 2:16-17
“So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was desired to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate, and she also gave some to her husband who was with her, and he ate.” Genesis 3:6
When we attempt to satisfy our own desires with our own ways and wisdom, we may feel powerful for a time, but this is impossible to maintain indefinitely, since we aren’t all wise or all powerful. Sooner or later, we are faced with the unavoidable truth that we are weak and foolish.
A refusal to trust God wholeheartedly leaves us with no other option than to try and manage our own lives with our own resources.
We erect illusive structures of control that, when threatened, must be responded to decisively so we will not be ‘found out.’ We avoid vulnerability at all costs. Preservation of our image of control is key so that we can continue avoiding our pain and fear. Eventually, it will leave us broken-hearted, bewildered, and exhausted. Oh, if we would only Lift Our Eyes to our heavenly Father! He will always respond in love when we seek His guidance and help!
“A bruised reed he will not break, and a faintly burning wick he will not quench; he will faithfully bring forth justice.” Isaiah 42:3
“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” 1 John 1:9
“Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him and he will make straight your paths.” Proverbs 3:5-6
If I had a child to whom I had given a specific directive, and that child came to me the next day and asked me to remind him of what I’d said, I would be more than happy to do it. Continuing to come to me for help would convey the child’s respect, trust, and sincere desire to obey me, as someone older and wiser who knows what is best. It would be a pleasure to help, no matter how many times reminders were needed. My child’s desire to obey is proof of their love for me.
“If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him.” James 1:5
“If you love me, keep my commands.” John 14:15
But, if that same child willfully disobeyed what I’d asked, since I am not a parent that asks or acts arbitrarily, I would have to respond with discipline if I loved that child. Otherwise, my child would feel powerful for a short time, thinking they were getting exactly what they wanted. But, in their immaturity, they would soon find themselves exhausted and confused about limits and boundaries. I would be seen as undependable and dishonest, and rightfully so. It would be unloving to allow a child to continue on in this manner.
“My son, do not despise the LORD’s discipline, and do not resent his rebuke, because the LORD disciplines those he loves, as a father the son he delights in.” Proverbs 3:11-12
“No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.” Hebrews 12:11
Administering discipline is a grace to the child because he learns that the parent means what he says and therefore can be trusted. Even though painful at times, boundaries that are reinforced are a sweet relief to the child, meeting his needs of reliable love and protection, and teaching him how to trust.
“LORD, you alone are my portion and my cup; you make my lot secure. The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; surely I have a delightful inheritance. I will praise the LORD who counsels me; even at night my heart instructs me.” Psalm 16:5-7
At different points in my life, I have attempted to satisfy my own desires or find peace apart from God. It was a complete, abysmal failure. Every. Single. Time.
Other times, I put up walls between myself and those closest to me in an attempt to avoid feelings of shame or fear. But, avoiding some emotion meant avoiding every emotion. It was exceedingly lonely. And exhausting work – all that wall building!
By admitting my life is unmanageable apart from God, I Lift My Eyes to His truth. It is a continual process, choosing to trust Him daily with my decisions, my emotions, my healing, my every need. He is a faithful, loving, patient, and reliable Father Who can be trusted. You can take my word for it, but there’s only one way to know for certain. Will you trust Him to meet you where you are?
“I will keep my eyes always on the LORD. With him at my right hand, I will not be shaken.” Psalm 16:8
Until next time – peace & joy to you!