In the last blog, I talked about the most important question that you can ask and revealed that we need not only understand that God owns it all but that we need to do what He wants us do with His property and possessions. This blog is similar and may make the “most important question” easier.
We all have our troubles and problems whether rich or poor. Each specific to what God has given you. Jesus says the gate to heaven is narrow and that we have to go through this suffering and angst to get through the gate. But there are times when we just find that road almost impossible and we either get depressed or angry or we escape through sedatives of one sort or another or we become victims. Why is it so hard and why does the flesh win so often, you ask?
Approximately 44 years ago I came to a conversion in thinking and accepting Jesus as the Sacrifice for my sin. It was a birth and the first choice in my conversion, but the conversion is not complete until you make a second choice, which I would like to call THE CHOICE.
We must choose Jesus as our Way, our Truth and our Life.
So what does all that mean? It took me 40 years (wandering in the desert) to discover what I had to do. So don’t think you are alone. I would call these the wilderness years, and for some of those years, the dark night of the soul. In those years I knew Jesus as my savior and the most important person in my life, yet I was weak in the flesh and fell often and sometimes hard. In the beginning, I read a book about St Frances of Assisi and I thought I wanted to be just like him! The problem was not the desire but how I attempted it. I tried to act just like him and more specifically just like Christ.
I deceived myself into thinking that I retained some strength, held some solution, and possessed some power at my disposal that would help me act like Frances/Jesus. Yet, I also held onto many secrets and desires which I did not want to give up or allow Jesus to invade…or maybe I just rationalized their existence. I discreetly trusted false idols of alcohol, drugs, money and success to resolve my daily issues and enable me to imitate Jesus.
When this went well, I was confident, proud and full of myself. When things went bad or fell apart, I would blame others or myself for not working harder or not staying focused and then I would get depressed or angry. The time between the two choices for me was a time of bruises and pain. I was truly wandering in a desert.
The problem was I did not understand what the second choice was. It is not about imitating Frances or Jesus. Man is created to be a VESSEL OF THE LIVING JESUS. In the second choice – THE CHOICE – we are confronted with all the other choices we have to make and all the advice that is available. If only I could learn more Scripture or spend more time in prayer or take more time to study or witness more or have a stronger resolve, then I could be more like Jesus. There is a real tension in all of this trusting self (a self that prefers its reign to the reign of Jesus in our life) for the provision to act like Jesus is absurd and will eventually cause the believer to break to pieces like it did me. The power of self has all the old methods of performing and coping at its disposal, which only try to displace self. How absurd!
What I failed to realize was that wanting to act like Jesus in the flesh and at the same time have flesh that despises the potential rule of Jesus creates guilt which might be called the UNDERTAKER’S FRIEND.
The enemy has a field day with this whispering in our ear, “You cannot change. You cannot choose a better way. You are stuck!” It is at this time (for me 40 years) that we decide to make the second choice – THE CHOICE- that imitating Jesus is not the answer but PARTICIPATING IN HIS LIFE, BEING ATTACHED TO THE VINE, AND HAVING HIS LIFE FLOW THROUGH US.
Then the Holy Spirit can bring constant revelation, peace and grace to help us get through life’s journey with all of its worries, angst, pain, and tensions. You cannot ever do it yourself no matter how strong you are. It is only through the grace of God manifested through His Spirit that you have a chance. We are abiding, Christ in us, and apart from Him we can do nothing. Jesus is now accepted as life, and THE CHOICE is made.
Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.”
Download The Master’s Plan!
This is a book about transforming your family legacy – both today and in generations to come. It is for Christian families who want to eliminate estate and capital gains taxes, maintain their current lifestyle, pass on an appropriate inheritance to their heirs, maximize giving to worthy ministries, create healthier family relationships and leave a lasting legacy to impact God’s kingdom.
By Joe Sturniolo
Christian Family Legacy and Wealth Planning
Joe believes that stronger families are the vehicle God uses to bring about significant impact for His Kingdom.