Does it seem that your entire life seems to be on the verge of crashing down on you? That your good intentions seem to cause pain to others, and sometimes end up causing an inhibition of growth in your friends and family?
I tend to like the first option. To feel like you are always in God's will, always encouraging people, and you feel good about yourself. I mean, who doesn't like to be liked, have joy all the time, and to be full of life?
It makes you love to be a Christian.
But as we look at the life of Christ's disciples, we see that no one who follows the Father ever seem to have any life in this world. Peter went from being a fisherman to a "fisher of men (which wasn't a popular job as we can see in Acts)" and also denied the very one he swore under oath to protect, Paul became so hated that he was flogged multiple times, shipwrecked, and killed for his faith. Doesn't seem like a very fulfilling life, now does it?
Then there is God. He used Peter's experience in denying Him to cause Peter to learn to deny his own strength in himself. How often do I deny my own self and not know if I do love Christ and can only answer
Him "only you know." That is when we feel the power of His love, when we are weak in ourselves.
He is our strength and help in hard times.
God used Paul's experience before he ever knew Christ. He made a way for Paul to really fear himself. He caused a major stir in everyone when he became one of the very people he persecuted. Paul mentioned later to people that were trying to become perfected in the flesh that he was. I mean, he did have everything before he became a disciple of the Way. He was highly respected by Romans and many Jews alike. He was good in the eyes of man. He'd be the guy who thinks that he is doing God's work, zealous to do what he thinks is of God.....
The very person he thinks that he is serving he finds out that he is persecuting. I just wrote this paragraph and automatically flashed back to my past. I was a "zealous" servant of God, looked good in many people's eyes(LOL),and went through an experience that I thought made me a good person who God was proud of. Then, one day, I woke up to find that all of my zeal was gone, my love for others "mysteriously" disappeared, and I saw a little of the person who I was. He then chose to spread his cloak of Love over me.
The feeling of him is like no other thing. There is no human word to explain it. Now outside of Him, there is no life.
He should be our focus everyday.
I over heard a good friend say to someone the other day, "Don't ask if God will let you do something, ask if it would be pleasing to Him."
Thank you so much Shammah.
I hope that that would be true of all of us.