Each of us experiences some level of pain throughout our lives, each with a different cause. However, while the causes may be different, the pain feels the same. It hurts and leaves us all asking the same question, “why, God?”
Have you ever grabbed a rose thinking the thorns had been removed? Or go to tackle those pesky weeds taking over your lawn or garden? The result is a pins-and-needles poke followed by a throbbing reminder of your mistake. The throbbing lasts for hours and seems like it will never cease.
Paul. Where do we start with him? A man who experienced such pain in his life from loss of family, persecution, imprisonment, and finally execution. Yet, he remained steadfast in his devotion to God and his task.
In his letters to the church in Corinth, Paul talks about the pain he is going through and past struggles. He describes how pain and weakness were not seldom occurrences of weakness but rather a steady companion. Paul explains the trial he was going through was given to him as a strategy to poke a hole in his ego. Suffering so that God’s work could not be claimed as his own. In essence, his perpetual pain was a gift revealing God’s nature. Pain reveals God’s “together-strength” that transforms our failure into His perfection.
When God seemed inattentive to Paul’s pain, he could have assumed God was either absent or abusive. Instead, he recognized that pain put him in good company.
Think of the last time you questioned God. What were the thorns and weeds like? What were the flowers and garden like after going through the thorns and weeds?
Change the perspective. Instead of removing the trial before you, seek how God’s strength can be revealed.
God’s will. Think about that phrase and the countless times it has been used throughout history. You may be thinking, “I want God to guide me, but I still get confused. I don’t know what to do.” Often the problem is we’re looking for the wrong thing. If we look throughout history we will see countless examples of God’s will and the people who have done things in His name. It can become rather confusing to understand just what the will is. Well, I have reached the conclusion that you need to know what you’re looking for before you can find it. Chances are you may have been looking in the wrong place.
Today, let us thank God for being the Lord of our lives and ask Him to show us areas where He is not yet Lord over certain areas of our lives. Also, lets ask Him to help us in areas of self control and other areas where our passions dominate our lives and soul.
To me, the best way to tackle this concept is through playing a game with family or friends, for instance charades. It is fun to do things we enjoy. They give us pleasure and comfort because they make us happy and release us from the stress of work and ordinary life. However, there comes a time when our pleasures take control of our lives and they eventually dictate our daily lives. When something you enjoy doing becomes something you are driven to do, it may have control over you and at this point you have lost your ability to choose what is best. It is important to remember that we have one master, God.
Look over 1 Corinthians 6:12 and Matthew 6:24 and consider these questions: what do you enjoy doing in your free time? Name a few characteristics of a “master.” How can you tell if something in your life is becoming master over you? Discuss some ways that you can develop more self-control through God, friends, and family.