Want to Build a Fire?—Let Go of the Wood!

Two recently cut sections of a small tree

The woodpile grew rapidly as Leo and his dad finally cut up the old tree in the far end of the backyard. The huge tree fell eight years ago after a Nor’easter hit the region. It did not really obstruct anything, but had become an eyesore and home for many critters that raided the trash bin. Leo felt torn between holding onto the old tree and breaking it down for the fire pit. He had lots of fond memories of climbing and hiding between the various crevices of its larger branches. Sometimes when he was upset, he would sit on its large trunk pondering the meaning of life, or, at least, what little he knew of it.

The crisp Fall morning grew warmer as the sun climbed across the sky. Leo’s dad urged him to pick up his pace if they were to finish the tree before sunset. As Leo picked up a small bundle of cut branches, his mind wandered back to the time when the tree became his snow fort. It was impenetrable as long as he kept below the trunk. One time he failed to, just as a hard-packed snowball slammed into his forehead. Then he recalled the five-hour emergency room visit and head bandage.

A chain saw cutting a tree trunk

“Leo!” shouted his father over the chain saw growl, “if you don’t get that wood stacked immediately, I’m going to….” His voice disappeared as the growl changed back to a snarling roar. Leo quickly abandoned reminiscing and resumed his vigorous collecting and stacking of cut branches. Then the noon chime sounded on his watch, and he recalled the day when the neighbor’s dog slipped into his yard, chasing what Leo thought was a black cat with a white stripe. After a few minutes assisting the dog, a pungent ‘fragrance’ filled the air. Leo grabbed a broken branch from the tree and chased the dog instead, shouting, “Get away from here, you crazy dog! That’s not a cat!” but to little avail.

Lunch was a brief break before he and his dad prepared a crude fire pit in a sandy clearing. “That ought to help keep the fire in one place,” his dad remarked, while turning toward the house. “Leo, start stacking those logs while I go for the water hose and then get the fire underway. And I want results this time.”

Leo grabbed a tiny section of trunk. The day had become quite warm by then. This, along with his dad getting the hose, reminded him of the time when his friend came over to help build their version of a water park. They drilled holes in the newly-fallen tree, and were going to put sprinklers in at various intervals—until he broke the drill.

“Leo! What is taking so long? What’s going on in your head?” his dad angrily interrupted. “Stack the logs in the pit so I can get a fire going! How hard is that?”

Leo sighed, grabbed more logs, and stacked them down while his dad stuffed wood scraps all around the logs in the pit. He then turned one branch into a torch, lit it, and started setting the scraps on fire. Initially, Leo kept adding more of the old tree to the pile, but before long, strangely enough, he decided to take a few logs back and lay them aside nearby. Then he just stood staring at the newly-started fire and retrieved a few more branches that by now had begun to catch fire. It seemed like he wanted to get rid of the tree and all of the problems it caused, but at the same time, he didn’t want to completely let go of it.

A bonfire at night with large flames

“Leo! Come over here for a moment,” his dad motioned. Leo hesitantly walked a short distance from the fire. “Now you and I, along with everyone else around here, want this tree removed, right? Yet ever since we began, you have been daydreaming and taking your time. I’ve finally reached the point where we are able to burn the tree and get rid of it. But here you are, holding onto some of the logs. You’ve even gone so far as to pick them back up from the fire!”

“But I…” Leo started his defense.

“Look,” his dad interrupted, “we can’t get this fire going if you won’t let go of the logs!”

As believers in Christ, we are often guilty of doing the same thing with God—not with wood and a fire, but with leaving our problems and concerns at His altar. So often we want God to take care of our situation, but our unbelief won’t let Him. We go to the altar, commit our needs before Him, and leave. Then, after a few days, weeks, or even just a couple of hours, we return to the altar to retrieve what we left there. We never give God a chance to do much of anything. As a result, we become down in spirit or depressed. We may even complain that the problem doesn’t go away. Maybe we never truly wanted to give up the concern in the first place. We were moved in our heart to let go, but our old self, or “the flesh,” rose up and overruled—denying us the victory.

As our Heavenly Father, God wants us to come to Him with our needs and concerns. In fact, He will often allow, or even bring about, problems to affect us, to bring us to the point of committing them over to Him. In His love for us, He wants us to come to Him first and leave all of these things with Him. When we take them back (or never give them up in the first place) we are not allowing God to work in our lives. In essence, we tell God that we want to be free of the situation—but only on our terms and in our time frame.

Looking up a a stone cross with clouds behind

When Jesus died on the cross as a sacrifice for us, it was a complete, finished work. There will never be a return trip and another sacrifice, much less multiple sacrifices. He did everything required and was victorious, so that we can be victorious. But we must lay our concerns on the altar and leave them there, putting our complete faith and trust in Him and His victory at the cross. Don’t be like Leo, and hold onto, or, worse yet, retrieve the logs from the fire. How can we start a fire, if we don’t let go of the wood?

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Much Effort; No Results

sprial tablet new ysr's resolutions

At the beginning of each year, we always seem determined to make ourselves better than we were the year before. What great endeavors we make to fulfill whatever resolutions we think will improve our life; yet, for so many, these efforts yield little or no results. Why can’t we accomplish all we set out to do? Or why do we sometimes succeed at something, then later see our success dwindle away? Why does it seem that for every two or three steps forward, we end up moving one or two steps back? How is that we work so hard to achieve so little—or even nothing at all?

For some, the answer lies in laziness, or just lack of initiative. Now if our success resulted solely from the monumental plans we have conceived in our minds, there would be prosperity and happiness in every corner! But, when it comes to walking with God, the real answer is that we are trying to accomplish all of these plans by our own strength and effort. We want to please God. We know we need to be healthy. We try to be abundantly prosperous. But we continue to do it all in our self. Without even realizing it, we leave God out of the picture. Or we do ‘include’ Him, but it ends up being conditional—on our terms. It’s like trying to drive a vehicle with an engine whose output is severely restricted. We make all of these great efforts on our own to get the vehicle moving and keep it going, but in the end, we’ve hardly traveled anywhere. Or, even worse, we boast of our great strides to go nowhere as if we actually accomplished something!

woman exercising in athletic field

God never intended for us to live our lives without Him. He wants us to look to Him for our strength and guidance. When we go forward on our own, we exhibit pride and self-righteousness. We are, in essence, displaying to God that we don’t need Him to solve the problem at hand. Or we are actually telling God that we know more than He does. Children and teenagers exhibit such an attitude at times when they are struggling to assemble an object, or have a difficult school assignment to complete. Rather than allowing (or even going to and asking!) one of their parents to assist them with it, they often angrily and hastily whisk the item away and move to another location. They may even order the parent to leave the room. Such actions naturally make the parent feel hurt. Then the child often does poorly or fails on the project, because he took it all on himself, even though he didn’t fully understand what he was to do.

Obviously, God does not view this or any form of pride and self-righteousness favorably. How could He, when His own creation has just declared themselves to be superior over Him! Our Heavenly Father loves us in a way greater than we, as a physical being, could ever understand. He knows that, due to sin, we are incapable of making ourselves totally right and complete before Him. In fact, it is impossible to make our sinful, mortal self perfect enough to stand before Him. That is one reason why He sent His Son, Jesus Christ, who willingly came to this earth to be our perfect substitute. Since He was without any sin, He was the only one qualified for this position. Jesus fulfilled everything that the heavenly Father required in order for us to be able to freely and boldly come before Him—all the way to the point where He sacrificed Himself on a cross. All of this He did on our behalf. We could never reach the position, by our own efforts, where God could declare us to be pure, righteous, not guilty, and without blame.

We therefore need to stop trying by our own efforts to make ourselves acceptable and perfect to God (or anyone else, for that matter). Success will only come when we yield to Jesus and accept His sacrifice on the cross for our sins as our own. All of our resolutions and efforts, whenever they are made and attempted, will not make us any better before God—unless they are done through Christ. We need to commit ourself to Him and then let Him work through us by His Spirit. Even though we are children of God, we cannot just come boldly before Him as we are, due to our inherent sin nature (or sinful self). We must go before Him through His Son, who covers us and cleanses us of all our sins or unrighteousness with His blood that was shed on the cross. While exercise, prayer, budgeting, Bible reading, eating better, etc., are all good in themselves, if our true motive is to improve our self to gain the favor of God, then we will make much effort with no results.

At the Feet of Jesus

Christ in the house of Mary and Martha
By Johannes VermeerfwE2zem7WDcSlA at Google Cultural Institute Public Domain, Link

Jesus “…entered into a certain village: and a certain woman named Martha received him into her house. And she had a sister called Mary, who also sat at Jesus’ feet, and heard his word. But Martha was cumbered about much serving, and came up to him, and said, Lord, dost thou not care that my sister hath left me to serve alone? bid her therefore that she help me. And Jesus answered…Martha, Martha, thou art careful and troubled about many things: but one thing is needful: for Mary hath chosen the good part, which shall not be taken away from her” (Luke 10:38-42).

By this time in His ministry, many had rejected Jesus and no longer welcomed Him, much less entertained Him. Everywhere in the region, people were speaking against Him. Yet, to the true believers in Him, Jesus was still dear, just as they were to Him. At one particular house in Bethany, He’d certainly still be welcome. Martha was expecting Him to visit her and Mary and Lazarus. She knew that receiving Jesus and those in His company would involve much food preparation and serving. Curious crowds from the local village also came and surrounded the house to see Jesus. Imagine the great sense of anticipation when they heard that He was on His way! And how enormous the crowd would be that was about to descend for a meal at the house of Martha, Mary and Lazarus!

Lazarus welcomed Jesus and the others when they arrived at his house. The sisters were busily preparing to serve them. Both had the same love for Jesus, since each of them had received Him into her heart. Then Martha became troubled, since Mary had left her alone to serve the people. Martha became so busy and anxious trying to serve the Lord and His many followers that she was frantic. Surely she thought, “What is this? My sister sits herself down at the feet of Jesus, while I’m left here alone to cook for and serve all these people!” How this vexed and irritated her.

Her attitude toward Mary made her forget that what she was doing was really for the sake of Jesus, who had come to spend time with them.

She was opening a way for the enemy to come into her heart and inject discord, jealousy, and aggravation into the situation without recognizing it. And this opened a way for him to hinder her walk with Jesus.

Throughout all of this, Mary was complacent—which really troubled her sister. Martha must have fumed, “Why doesn’t Mary respond to me and help serve these guests?” Such thoughts surrounded and troubled her. If she had focused instead on Jesus being there, she would have been less likely to dictate to Him or to complain about Mary. Instead Martha “…came to him, and said, Lord, dost thou not care that my sister hath left me to serve alone? bid her therefore that she help me” (Luke 10:40).

Jesus responded, “…Martha, Martha, thou art careful and troubled about many things: But one thing is needful: and Mary has chosen that good part, which will not be taken away from her” (Luke 10:40-42).

He approved of and appreciated the fact that Mary had chosen to sit at His feet and learn from Him. When we try to please Jesus today, our concern more often is about doing things to serve God rather than about being in His presence. We get so busy in activities for Him that we end up in Martha’s frantic condition. Then we worry and feel weighed down in serving the Lord. How easily we forget the one “thing most needful”—simply to sit at Jesus’ feet and learn from Him. We make time to fulfill our desires for ourselves. What about making time for His spiritual presence in our lives? May the Lord keep us from falling into the same trap of over-involvement in service that Martha did, so that we don’t have time to just sit and learn of Him!

Martha had a heart for others. She really did care. Her work for the Lord was acceptable in its proper place. But something was more needful at this occasion which should have been done first.

She expected Jesus to blame Mary for not doing what Martha felt she was supposed to do concerning the meal. Instead, Jesus indirectly blamed Martha for not doing what Mary did, because her sister had chosen the best part of life—learning His Word. In the end, her choice will be justified, along with all who make the same choice and then live by it. Mary chose Christ and sought to honor and please Him, while Martha chose only to provide for His bodily, temporary needs to honor and please Him.

Over two thousand years after this event, Mary is still being praised for her choice, as she also will be in the resurrection. She wept at Jesus’ feet when He came to her house after Lazarus died and He comforted her. She was found at His feet when she later came and anointed Him with oil. He was her Prophet, Priest, and King for whom she humbly and lavishly shared her love.

Mary yielded herself to the absolute guidance of Christ. Jesus declared that she had chosen the best part—the “one thing [that] is needful…” (Luke 10:42). Someday we’ll be separated from all of our loved ones and belongings of this lifetime. But if we have this same love of Christ that Mary had, nothing can separate us from Him. We need to have this same love of His presence in our hearts today while we sit at His feet. Then Christ will not be taken away, because He is the best part.

Lost at Humbardy Drive and Wakins Lane

roadmap of northwest U.S.

I got up early this morning to get ready for my trip. After packing the car with clothes, food, and reading material, I head out. As I leave the driveway and start heading down the main road, I begin to list in my head some of the things that I might have forgotten:

  • Did I cover the trashcans? No, I couldn’t; the trash guys threw them away by accident last week.
  • Were all of the faucets turned off? They should be off—they make so much noise when they are on that I could never forget them! What about the sprinkler? Well, after six inches of rain, I’m truly certain I did not turn it on! Wait! The leaking faucet in the laundry room! I don’t think I—that’s right—the plumber eliminated that faucet months ago when he fixed the drain on that sink! (Note to self: ask plumber why that faucet was eliminated months ago.)
  • Did I adjust the thermostat? Think, think, think! Of course I did—it was set so cold last night that I had to turn it up.
  • Maps! Where are the maps (I’m too frugal to buy a GPS unit)? They are not in the glove compartment. They are not in the map holder on the door! WHY are they not in the map holder and WHERE did I put them and WHAT is this lump I’m sitting on? Oh. Never mind! The maps are found! I’m sure I put them on the seat so I wouldn’t forget them! Hey, what do you know?—it worked!
  • Did I remember to give the neighbor the key to feed the dogs? Oh, no! I left the keys in the kitchen drawer! No, no, no—I brought the dogs over to the neighbor instead!
  • Were the lights turned off? Definitely! This one I know I did!
  • Did I turn off the lawnmower and put it away? OK, brain—why would I be using the mower at 5 o’clock in the morning on the day I leave for a trip in the first place! (Not to mention, why would I leave the mower running unattended, anyway?)
  • Were the clothes removed from the dryer and folded? (Hmm, why did that thought occur?) I had to pack them last night for today’s trip!
  • The iron! I forgot to turn off the iron! I knew I’d forget something! It seems like everybody forgets the iron.

I am only several miles from home, and I am turning around and heading back already for one little iron! Wait! Wait! Wait! Stop everything! I don’t own an iron! The last one quit working after it fell out of the second floor bedroom window onto the sidewalk below (don’t ask why) and I never bothered to replace it (again, don’t ask what I am now using for an iron). Well, now, with all of the potential concerns mentally resolved, I turn back around and head on my way.

folded road mapLet’s see—I turn left onto 24th Street and then right at Dunkirk, or was that left at Dunkirk and 23rd Avenue? Wait—I just passed the expressway! I wasn’t supposed to pass it; I’m supposed to be driving to it. (Or was that another expressway!) OK, what city am I in anyway? There goes a 3rd Avenue, now I’m crossing Humbardy Drive, Wakins Lane, Harvest, Crumfeld. Humbardy? Crumfeld? I don’t remember any seeing ANY of these streets! It’s time to look at the map again! I pull over at the outskirts of the city and start scanning the maps. After looking through several maps in bewilderment, I get out and start looking around, trying figure out where I am. Following what seemed like a few moments of somewhat aimless wandering, an older man approaches me.

“Ya look lost,” he says in a hesitant tone.

“I am,” I reply without much enthusiasm.

“Where ya headed?” he casually inquires.

“I don’t know,” I reply, this time with a bit of bewilderment in my voice.

“Well, ya must’ve been going someplace. Where ya from?” He seems a bit upset in his response now.

“Home,” I said, without much thought of what I am saying.

“Son, you ARE lost. You’d better find some REAL help soon!” And with that, while shaking his head and muttering to himself, he walks back toward where he had mysteriously appeared from.

At this point, I interrupt this story to ask if you have ever felt like this. Or do you feel like this now? We all reach this point in our lives, sometimes early in life, and sometimes near the end. We become lost in our way. We get confused or disoriented. We plan out our life, often to the finest details, only to have it fall apart later on. We search and search for answers to the confusion that is all around us, yet the results are either short-lived with little satisfaction, or they cause us to be even more lost.

We may hear someone tell us, with great flamboyancy and optimism, how wonderful we are, or that we just need a little boost in our self-esteem. Yet, just a short time after hearing this, after we have our self-worth all pumped up, everything goes sour again.

We become deflated like a flat tire. Depression sets in and despair begins pulling us down. We go to a church, or stumble across a program on TV, and hear a phrase from the Bible like, “For all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.” Or the person speaking tells us that “we are hopelessly lost.” We travel on and on looking for that expressway or road that was supposed to bring us away from all of this, and yet we get farther and farther away. It seems like the maps are all wrong, or there is no map for where we are. Our GPS unit keeps repeating “recalculating…” and never gives us another route. We get to the point that we don’t really know where we are going, and we hardly know where we came from.dead end road sign

Do you know that this is just where God wants us to be? Huh? God wants me to be lost and at the point of no hope? Yes! He wants you to see that you can’t make it on your own abilities or with your own ‘self’. If you don’t give up and let Him take over, He will keep on pushing and pulling and prodding. We think we can run down the middle of the road with God on one side and the Devil on the other. But it doesn’t work that way. You are either on one side or the other; there is no middle road. The Devil is a very hard taskmaster who makes only one payment for your toil and your self-gratifying pleasure—death!

On the other hand, God pays wages of eternal riches and eternal life!

“For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” (Romans 6:23).

God is not some sadistic dictator who gets great pleasure from seeing us beaten around, struggling and kicked about, or bound by depression and despair. He sent His only Son to pay the penalty that we deserve, death. And not only was He sent, His Son also chose to die in our place!

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life” (John 3:16).

This is like a lighthouse operator seeing a small ship struggling and floundering in a narrow and shallow strait, with waves crashing upon sharp, jagged rocks on either side. He can tell that the ship’s captain is determined to get through that strait on his own. It is obvious to him that the captain is focused on himself, not on the passengers or the cargo. The captain refused to believe that something much larger than himself could take his life soon.

traffic-sign-yield_to_god

God knows you are lost and confused, and He knows your future. He wants to lead you through it, if you will let Him. He knows what is best for you, but, at the same time, He will only push so far. It’s your choice whether to have faith in Jesus and surrender to Him, or not. Will you give your life to Him right now and let Him guide your path, or will you just keep traveling on with no real hope or direction? It doesn’t take a college degree or a pilgrimage to a foreign land to find Jesus. Just admit to Him that you are lost and a sinner (wrongdoer), that you can’t make it on your own. Let Him know that you accept His sacrifice (His death at the Cross) as the payment for your sins, declare to Him that you will forsake all of your sins totally, and let Him be the head or ruler of your life (not you or the Devil) from now on.

If you want to know more about yielding to God, or if you want additional information, click here to find out more.

Talking Lamps (well… not exactly)

light_bulb_1

“Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid. Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.” (Matthew 5:14-16)

When you get a moment, go find a light and turn it on. It doesn’t matter what kind of light: a desk lamp, a night-light, the lights inside your car, or a flashlight (as long as the area around it is dark enough to see the difference). Now while it is on, take a look at it (don’t stare at the bulb itself!) and notice how much light it produces. Next, put your ear as close as you can to the light and listen. Do you hear it talking to you? Does it say something to the effect of: “I am a light bulb. Look at me shine”?

Does it describe what kind of light it produces, or how you look under its glow? No. It never will. A lamp, or the light source itself, does not talk. Lamps shine their light into the darkness without a word.

No matter what the circumstances or situation, no matter what time of day or night, they dutifully let their light shine. When they are shining, there is no question as to what they are.

As believers in Christ we need to let our light shine in full brilliance. Our lamps should show forth His light without a word being spoken. So often we go out into this world with His light only partially shining, much like a flashlight or a low-wattage bulb. Other times we hide or disguise His light so that we can be with unbelievers unnoticed. Most of the time, we hide His light because we are embarrassed or ashamed of Him. The Bible warns us about such actions. When we are not full of Christ, then our light is less and less, or we don’t even see the need to let it shine.

lamp_night_1

When we accept Jesus Christ into our hearts as Lord and Savior, we have to let Him in for His light to shine out through us. It is like asking some friends to ignite your charcoal grill with one of their matches. When they strike the match and attempt to drop it into the grill, you suddenly close the lid and refuse to let the match in. You wonder why the grill doesn’t work, and then plead with them again and again to drop the match inside. Every time thereafter, you close the lid before the match reaches the grill. After much agonizing, you feel down and discouraged because there is nothing happening inside the grill, when actually, you are the problem! When you yield to Christ and let Him work inside of you though His Spirit, you will openly allow the Light to shine out.

When we don’t let Him fully work in our lives, our flesh, our natural ‘self’ that is resistant to God, rises up and blocks or restricts His light from shining out of us. If we are afraid to let His light shine, then we don’t have enough of Him in our lives.

If we don’t want His light shining at all, then obviously we don’t have Him at all in our lives. His Spirit is not going to stay if we don’t want Him in us!

God wants the light to shine, not talk or speak. Lamps don’t talk—they shine. They illuminate the darkness. Darkness needs light for one to see. When you talk in the dark, your voice illuminates nothing. Even if I talk in the dark until I’m hoarse, somebody will still stumble and fall, since there is no light to see by. When you have to tell someone that you are a Christian, the lamp is talking and the light is not really shining. When you eagerly watch a crude DVD or movie with your old, non-Christian friends, your lamp is talking and the light is not shining. When you listen to your old worldly music, or go to a rock concert, or watch a vulgar comedian with your old ‘friends’, your lamp is talking and not shining. If Christ and His work on the Cross is not the target of your faith (we all have faith; we need a target or object for that faith), and you are trying to be right before God on your own, then your lamp is talking and the light is hardly shining. Don’t let your light or lamp talk, let go and let Christ work in you so that you will shine in this dark world!

 

A Tool Yielded

collection of antiques

“Nevertheless the foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal, The Lord knoweth them that are his. And, Let every one that nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquity. But in a great house there are not only vessels of gold and of silver, but also of wood and of earth; and some to honour, and some to dishonour. If a man therefore purge himself from these, he shall be a vessel unto honour, sanctified, and meet for the master’s use, and prepared unto every good work.” 2 Tim. 2:19-21

When was the last time you used a tool? If you are like many individuals, you would probably say it was when you repaired _______ [fill in the blank] with a screwdriver, hammer, wrench, saw, etc. a few days, or weeks, or even months ago. Yet many do not realize that they actually use tools all the time. As I type this illustration, I am using a tool commonly known as a computer; even the keyboard I am typing on is a tool. When you looked at your social media site today or called someone, you probably used another common tool—a cell-phone (or mobile phone).

When you write something, whether it is with a pen, pencil, marker, crayon, or the stylus on a smart phone, you are using a tool. If you are cutting carrots, mixing together a cake batter, sawing a tree, laying asphalt for a road, or sewing on a button, you are again using a tool (or multiple ones).

old pipe wrench

When you give your heart to Jesus and establish a personal relationship with Him, you are allowing God to use you as His tool. This means that you need to yield to Him for the best results. Since man-made tools are inanimate objects, when you use a tool for the purpose it was designed for, it naturally yields itself to that purpose. A screwdriver doesn’t suddenly bend its shaft into a U-shape as you press it against a screw head, and then restore itself back to its original position afterward. A pen won’t draw the ink back into itself in the middle of writing a note. A computer or smart phone won’t jump out of your hand or off of your lap or desk and change the oil in someone’s vehicle. Neither will a golf club jump out of your hands in the middle of a swing and start chasing the birds around the golf course.

When we resist doing what God intends to do with us, it is like a blender full of liquid refusing to spin when the power is applied. All that will happen is that the motor will burn out, or a fuse or circuit breaker will stop the power from operating it. It seemed to think it had a right to decide for itself and refused to spin its blades. All that is affected is us (or the blender).

God is not affected and neither is the operator of the blender. Unless we give up and yield to God, He will just use someone else to accomplish the work and will put us though this process again and again at a later time until we do ultimately yield to Him.

quill pen

Many times we think we can ‘help’ God more if we do His work without Him or without His approval. Ever seen a doorknob fall out of a door, roll over, and start pumping out someone’s swimming pool? How about a fire extinguisher that jumps off of a wall and starts sewing your clothes? These examples may sound humorously absurd, but that, in essence, is what we do with God. He may use us as a tool in one area, and then we decide that we know what will help Him even more, and go work on something entirely different and unrelated in another area.

When we do something for God, or reach out to someone for Him without seeking His will first, we are no longer yielding to Him, but are putting our own interests before His instead.

We are no longer putting our total trust in what He is doing in or through us, His tool. We should be living our lives with so much concentration on Christ that we are not even aware that we are being used as God’s tool.

Yield yourself as a tool to God your Heavenly Father, and He will use you in the way that He knows is best for the benefit of His kingdom. Don’t resist or flee from Him (read the book of Jonah in the Bible) and miss out on the blessing He has for you.

–James Pangburn