Alpha Ministries, Inc
All of us are confronted with a multitude of choices to make daily. Many of them seem small and almost inconsequential while others seem overwhelming and life threatening. What makes life so complicated and hard is not just the choices we make but often it seems we really have no choice at all. Much of our confusion and frustration in life comes from the fact that we are not sure what choices we have, if we even have a choice, and exactly what choice we should make in any given situation. Welcome to the world of a control freak!
Seeking to control the people and circumstances in our life comes from a deep need to make ourselves secure in an insecure world. There is no guarantee that we will be unconditionally loved, accepted, and forgiven in this dog-eat-dog and often hostile world. In fact, chances are that we will be neglected, abandoned, or even abused. Likewise, unless we can control the people and circumstances in the chaos of this world it is impossible to find a real sense of importance, purpose, and competence. Wrong or bad choices seem naturally to lead to a meaningless and unsatisfying life.
Underlying all other choices we must make is the most important and basic choice. It is the choice the Bible urges us to make daily and describes it in a variety of terms. Jesus invites us to take his “yoke” upon us (Matthew 11: 28-30). Paul urges us to “present our bodies as living sacrifices unto God” (Romans 12: 1-2). James tells us to ask for wisdom from above (James 1: 5). Peter calls on us to “humble ourselves under the mighty hand of God” (1 Peter 5: 6). All these directives (and many more) have one thing in common…surrender. We give up trying to make it happen and let God do for us what we cannot do for ourselves.
In the AA program of recovery the 3rd step describes this kind of surrender as deciding to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God. Making the choice to surrender all our decisions as well as our very lives to the control and care of God is the foundation and start of a new and satisfying lifestyle of grace in which God, through his indwelling Spirit, leads us, guides us into all truth, comforts us in our choices, reminds us who we are, and produces the very character of Christ in us. As Paul instructed the Philippians 2: 12-13, “Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have obeyed, not in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling. For it is God which works in you both to will and do of his good pleasure. “
The fundamental choice we all must make each day is whether we want to let God control our lives. It is really a no-brainer since he is the sovereign creator and sustainer of the universe and loves us so much he gave his life for us. For me it boils down to one simple prayer each morning, “Lord please remind me of who you made me to be in your son and guide me in how you want me to love others around me today”. I really do not have any other choice that makes sense.
|Posted on 13 January, 2021 at 13:05|
In his sermon on the mount Jesus spoke to an issue that concerns us all, our money. After telling us to quit trying to get rich on earth and instead get rich in heaven he explains, “For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.” He further explains that what we focus on will determine our understanding and tells us bluntly, “No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one and love the other; or else he will hold to the one and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.”
All of us have been conditioned by this world to trust our money for not only our physical needs for food, clothing, and shelter, but also our personal needs for worth. In fact, when we ask the question concerning a man’s “net worth” we are asking how much money does he have? In reality our personal need for worth has nothing to do with our money or wealth but rather a sense of security from knowing we are loved unconditionally and a sense of significance from knowing we are important. Although money provides a false sense of security and significance in this world, it never really satisfies these deep personal needs. “Serving mammon” as Jesus put it is the slavery of relying on money for our physical and personal needs and prevents us from serving God. The two are mutually exclusive.
Paul gives us more insight on the subject in his first letter to his disciple Timothy. He writes, “For they that will be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into may foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in destruction and perdition. For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.” Note that Paul said it was the love of money, not simply the money itself, that is the root of all evil. Trusting money rather than God to meet our physical and personal needs is where the danger lies. So Paul further writes, “Charge them that are rich in this world, that they be not high-minded, nor trust in uncertain riches, but in the living God, who gives us richly all things to enjoy; That they do good, that they be rich in good works; ready to distribute, willing to communicate”. (1Timothy 6)
The present evil in our world is due to a failure to trust God to provide for our personal needs. Whether it be on a national level or a personal level the love of money and the associated power that comes with it betrays a lack of trust in the living God. Trusting mammon to meet our needs is not just a problem for those we consider to be rich in this world, but for those who we may consider poor as well. Both the rich and the poor may think they need more than what God provides for them. In his sermon Jesus went on to address the poor saying don’t worry about tomorrow, “But seek ye first the kingdom of God and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you”. And to the rich Paul says use your riches to bless others and share what you have.
No matter whether we are rich or poor our faith in God’s provisions for our physical and personal needs will be demonstrated in a joyful confidence about our own future that frees us to love others. Our faith in God is not that he will give us more money, but that he will lead us by his Spirit to do what he wants us to do with what money we have. Rather than the normal attitude of using people and loving money, we are free to use our money to love people.