Thursday, July 13, 2023

Getting Ahead of God

Getting Ahead of God 
by David Brenneman 

When we walk with the Lord
in the light of his word,
what a glory he sheds on our way!
While we do his good will,
he abides with us still,
and with all who will trust and obey.

Trust and obey, for there's no other way
to be happy in Jesus, but to trust and obey.

Not a burden we bear,
not a sorrow we share,
but our toil he doth richly repay;
not a grief or a loss,
not a frown or a cross,
but is blest if we trust and obey.

Trust and obey, for there's no other way
to be happy in Jesus, but to trust and obey.

But we never can prove
the delights of his love
until all on the altar we lay;
for the favor he shows,
for the joy he bestows,
are for them who will trust and obey.

Trust and obey, for there's no other way
to be happy in Jesus, but to trust and obey.

Then in fellowship sweet
we will sit at his feet,
or we'll walk by his side in the way;
what he says we will do,
where he sends we will go;
never fear, only trust and obey. 

Trust and obey, for there's no other way
to be happy in Jesus, but to trust and obey.
- "Trust and Obey" 1887 John. H. Sammis.

Walking with the Lord.  Not ahead of Him that we find ourselves lost. Not near Him that we excitedly run towards things not for us or not yet prepared for us yet.

That last one has been me more times than I can count.  Too close to a supposed dream coming true that I jumped out to grab ahold of it before learning the hard way that it wasn't for me yet.

Just because we are in the presence of a possibly interpreted answer to a prayer, doesn't immediately follow that it's OUR answer.

Oh how this hymn comes back time and time again.   It's not that in this moment in my life that I am anxious about things or my current situation.  I just do not want the consequences of getting ahead of God again. 

Might this be you today?  I do not write of my own volition. Whatever I am prompted to write comes to this digital 'paper'. 

We sometimes do get ahead of God and in all truthfulness we are seen as being potentially selfish.  We don't see it because our supposed joy is blinding us to what we think is ours when it's not yet.
We've never been so close and are afraid of it not coming back again. 

Again, been there, done that.  Just don't have a t-shirt to prove it. 

A disciple is a follower.  One that follows Christ mimics Christ. Not just in word and deed but in thinking.  Christ Jesus wants us to follow Him in speech, in love, and conduct.  

When we get ahead of God we lose sight of those characteristics. 

We are to be exhibits of the character of Christ to all.  When we stand before Jesus, it's what we did for Him that will be what becomes the gold of the crowns we give back to Jesus.  It's not going to be about our personal desires, personal hopes, personal aspirations.  

So many Christians will be ashamed standing before Jesus because their lives were spent in selfishness that they refused to acknowledge while they yet lived.  Splitting up marriages over perceptions that were, in all truthfulness, based in selfishness. Splitting up relationships that God brought together for good. Ruined friendships because words were spoken in anger rather than in a Christ follower way. 

We ruin so many people by neglecting to remember that our sin nature is full of deception.  It's going to try any way it can to bear the fruit of selfishness.  When Timothy is told that in the last days people will be lovers of self, he's being told of Christians.  People who are supposed to be Christ-followers.  

Oh my memory isn't like many.  I am both blessed and cursed with a memory that I forget so many good things yet do remember the bad.  Not everything that was bad but enough.  I have ruined lives by my actions and my words.  This I confess with profound sadness.  I have let what is only selfishness get the best of me and it's cost me dearly. 

Someone reading this is either in this stage of life or has been there.  They aren't seeking first His kingdom but their own. 

They have what they think they want and maybe, just maybe, it's earlier than when God's prepared to allow it. 

The Prodigal Son had everything he thought he wanted at first. Wouldn't listen even to his father.  Wouldn't listen to others along the way.  It wasn't until he had nobody that he finally got it. 

Jesus is the God of second chances. 
He is not one that ever ever wants to see destroyed relationships that He was the architect of creating.  

Oh how deep the blindness of selfishness is!  I have 20-20 vision looking in my rear view mirror.  I have no words to express my feelings in regards to whomever I have failed in regards to relationships that I ruined.  

In this day I press on.  I can't fix the past, but I can be sensitive to the temptation of selfishness in today.  

Proverbs 3:5-6 tells us to lean not on our own understanding. Trust in the Lord with all your heart.  It means letting go of self to do so.  

We are to present and live in the character of Christ in our lives.  Being His follower means following so closely that people cannot tell us apart.  Way more than being a mini-me to Him.

What relationships have you cast aside because of selfishness that you aren't acknowledging as such?  

What lives have you inadvertently brushed aside that Jesus was instrumental in bringing into contact with yours?

When you survey your to-do it about self or do you see Jesus in it?

That skit that I saw the other day sticks with me.  A man says he was new to a church in serving.  Was making calls from the church to people in the church.  One lady he calls starts off on a curse laden rant about who was this and where did they get the number.  He paused, then introduced himself as someone from the CHURCH.  All the sudden her demeanor changed to "Well hello there Brother! It's such a blessed day!".  He referred to such people as part time Christians. 

Oh the dangers of the depths of selfishness.  People may think it is only skin deep but oh the Bible teaches differently.  

"I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me." Galatians 2:20 NASB95. 

I think that at times I am so reminded of my failures in relationships in order to cherish the ones that I have now.  I can't fix the relationships of my past but I can do better with the ones I have now. 

I can't pretend to be happy in Jesus if the truth is its a facade.  We can't live for Jesus on a Sunday and for self the rest of the week.  We should never cast aside those whom He brings into our lives at the expense of wanting what's best for ourselves. So what we may have to hold off on something we have dreamed about most of our lives.  If it's really meant to be, God will bring it around again in its proper time.  Deny self, take up our own cross, and follow Him. 

Our lives are not our own, we were bought with a price, the shed blood of Jesus Christ.  We owe Him to live for Him.

The danger of selfishness.  The greater danger of getting ahead of God.  Lives are the treasure we store up in Heaven where moth and rust do not destroy.  We were created in the image of God for a right relationship with Jesus. We are to live lives that show that image to a lost world. 

You, my Dear Reader, can't take back words you use.  You can, however, not use words and therefore have no regrets. 

We cannot seek first His kingdom and His righteousness and seek our own. 

Trust and obey for there's no other way to be happy in Jesus, but to trust and obey. 

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