January 20, 2011
"Anyone who isn't with me opposes me, and anyone who isn't working with me is actually working against me." Matthew 12:30 (NLT)
Confession: I have a control issue. More often than not, I take life's situations in my hands. I try to control and manipulate the outcome, then dare to ask God to bless it. In recent days the Lord has taught me a simple but profound truth: when I don't work with Him, I am actually working against Him.
This truth came to light during an early morning quiet time as I read Oswald Chambers' words in My Utmost for His Highest:
"Are we playing the part of an amateur providence, trying to play God's role in the lives of others? Are we so noisy in our instruction of other people that God cannot get near them? We must learn to keep our mouths shut and our spirits alert."
Chambers defines an "amateur providence" as someone who tries to play the role of God in the lives of others. These words pierced my heart as I identified myself as an amateur providence in another's life. Whose? My husband's.
You see, when the vow "I do" did not instantly morph my husband into the spiritual leader I thought he should be, I took it upon myself to help him. Yes, I played the role of "Holy Spirit" for my husband quite nicely. Manipulating situations, quoting the Bible, and using the silent treatment became an art.
Even with all the masterful skills I had developed over our years of marriage, my husband still wasn't the spiritual leader I wanted him to be. I prayed and worked harder at crafting my skills to no avail. Why weren't all my efforts paying off? What else could I do? The day I read Oswald's words I got my answer. I shut my mouth and boy, was my spirit on alert.
Manipulating, Bible quoting, and giving silent treatments hadn't helped my husband at all. My role as "Holy Spirit" in my husband's life was so noisy, God's whispers to him could not be heard. My obsession with improving my husband's spirituality was working against God.
I grew blinded to the man my husband had become, the man God wanted him to be. Somehow I had missed the benevolence of his heart. I failed to notice the way he was drawn to taking care of widows and quietly helping those who are less fortunate and in need.
Quickly I took the Spirit's alert to heart. Confessing my sin, I asked the Lord to forgive me for trying to do His job in my husband's life. I invited Him to change my heart and help me see my husband through His eyes.
Retiring the lead role of "Holy Spirit" to my husband was not easy. Controlling things is a real issue for me. There are people who I believe I can help and situations I believe need my assistance. However, discovering the lead role is best played by God and submitting to this truth has brought great peace to my life and marriage.
Have you cast yourself in a role you weren't meant to play? Are you working with God or against Him in the lives of those you love? Retire that role today. The view from the front row is more awesome than the one from center stage!
Dear Lord, God forgive me for trying to control the lives of those around me. Today I release control into Your very capable hands. In Jesus' Name, Amen.
What to do in the W.A.I.T: Finding Contentment in God's Pauses and Plans (CD) by Wendy Pope
My Utmost for His Highest by Oswald Chambers
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Ask the Lord to forgive you for trying to control the lives of those you love. As you do, lift your hands in prayer, opening them toward heaven, demonstrating the release of control.
Who do I try to control?
What is the Lord teaching me through today's devotion?
Matthew 19:26, "Jesus looked at them and said, 'With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.'" (NIV)
Mark 9:23, "'If you can?' said Jesus. ‘Everything is possible for him who believes.'" (NIV)
Philippians 4:13, "I can do everything through him who gives me strength." (NIV)
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