1999-12-08 - Easy Way or Hard Way
Isaiah 30:1 "Destruction is certain for my rebellious children," says the LORD. "You make plans that are contrary to my will. You weave a web of plans that are not from my Spirit, thus piling up your sins.
For the past three years I have made plans to sell two businesses in order to simplify my world. Negotiations took place to sell my majority interest in two partnerships. My prayers to God during the past three years have been, "Lord, let me out of these stressful situations and God, the sooner the better." And I often would say, "God, I know I am doing what You want me to do, by trying to get off this crazy emotional roller coaster, because I am sick and tired of being sick and tired. You promise an abundant life, Lord, and I must be outside Your will, because I am anything but full of joy."
During the discussions with partners, there was always the possibility that I would be the one to remain with the two companies. But I kept telling God that there was no way I would stay. "No way, Lord, because I know what I am planning is right. No way, Lord, would I continue on with the two companies, because I know You want to take away my burdens."
The more confidence I placed in myself, the more miserable life became. The bigger my EGO (Edging God Out), the smaller God became. God's plan was the opposite of mine. My plan was to divest of two companies; His plan was for me to keep them. God finally made me realize, that I could do things the hard way (my way) or the easy way (His way). But one way or the other, HIS plan was going to prevail.
Do we have the power to supersede God's will for our lives? Certainly. God gives us the control to make our own choices, but we do not have the supremacy to control the outcome of our decisions. For example, I can choose to jump off a building, but I cannot choose the outcome of my fall. In other words, I can control my actions, but not the consequences.
Notice the attitude and approach I took with God? I was appealing for God to bless MY plans, not His. There is a huge difference between praying, "Lord, make me a blessing" and "Lord let me be a part of YOUR blessing." See the difference? God does not need my help. God had a design laid out long before I was even born. His blessings are already waiting for us. We just need to get out of the way and let God work. Please do not misunderstand me. There is nothing wrong with making preparations; the problem is when we rely on our preparations and not on God.
Isaiah 55:9 For just as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts higher than your thoughts.
Like the rebellious Israelites, I thought I, not God, knew what was best for my life. And like them, the harder I pushed against God, the more He loved me into realizing that perhaps my plans were wrong. God placed a hedge of Christian friends around me to counsel me and help me move from an insubordinate attitude to a submissive attitude.
Romans 12:12 Be glad for all God is planning for you. Be patient in trouble, and always be prayerful.
My prayer life changed and amazing happenings occurred. Instead of asking God to bless my plan, I prayed, "God make me a part of Your plan and Your blessing." I prayed over and over, "God get me out of Your way. Make me a new heart full of repentance and obedience." And finally the greatest prayer was and still is, "Lord, thank you for putting me through what you are putting me through. Thank you Lord for this season of preparation. Thank you for chiseling away the rough parts and molding my character to be prepared for the next test of fire down the journey."
Well, the happy ending is that I am now doing, without a doubt, what God has planned. My joy is back; the abundant life is now a reality. God has shown me remarkable confirmations of His will over the past few weeks. Will I hit bumps and roadblocks in the road again, even when I am following God's plan? Absolutely. Will I be better prepared? Extremely. I told God no to a complicated life for which I felt unprepared; He told me, "yes you can do it." He has given me the gifts, wisdom and strength to do His will. And why wouldn't He do that? What kind of God would lead you into a life that you are not talented or gifted to accomplish? He is a very loving God, not a tyrant on a throne, scheming up ways to make you miserable.
Psalm 51:12 Restore to me again the joy of your salvation, and make me willing to obey you.
So now I ask you: Are you going to do this thing called life the hard way or God's way? What are you doing to supersede God's will? What areas need repentance and submission? I have wrestled with God many times and He always wins and He is always right. His way is always the best.
If your life seems like a mess, I am sure you did not get that way overnight, and I am equally sure it will not become cleaned up overnight. It took me years to make what I thought was a mess and years for God to guide, direct, prepare and prod me along until I could see that what went before was very clearly all part of a grand design. He can do the same for you!
Father, You are Holy. We praise You and You alone. No matter what Your plan is in our life, You are still the Father, still God, and still in control. Lord, help us search our heart and confess and repent of our sins. Help us to deflate our EGOs. Edge US out of YOUR way. In Jesus' precious name, Amen.
For a related series of devotionals on Hearing God's Callings, click on the