We like control. We crave control. Our first reaction when life starts to spin is find a way to fix it. Control. Manage it. Control. And when we can’t fix it, and can’t manage it, we block it out and begin to focus on what we can control in the moment (or at least, what we think we’re controlling).
I have discovered that God doesn’t just “allow” pain – he uses it, on purpose, in each and every one of us. There are some lessons that cannot be learned through ease and comfort. And there are some things we’ll never change, some sin we’ll never forsake, until God uses pain to get our attention. Therefore, pain is not just inevitable; it is necessary.
Our response to pain reveals what we truly believe about God.
[Excerpt] We just learned the importance of submission in marriage, and the responsibility a wife has to encourage, bless, and benefit her husband. But what about the exceptions, those cases where a husband is abusive, passive, or just plain ol’ dumb?
[Excerpt] Submission is a sensitive topic, especially when it comes to marriage. However, that does not mean we should avoid it. Rather, we must work hard to make sure we have a biblical understanding of submission – who we are to submit to, why we are to submit, and what that looks like.
[Excerpt] God gave Eve a great responsibility to help her husband. And He gives us that same responsibility today. But far too many women are more interested in taking from their husband than giving to him. This reveals idolatry – countless women place unrealistic expectations on their husbands that are rooted in their own selfish desires.
[EXCERPT] Have you heard the phrase, “Giving the devil a foothold?” It comes from Ephesians 4:27, and it’s in the context of holding on to hurt and anger. When you indulge in those things, it’s like taking your armor off while you’re at war – it’s going to kill you. And not just those sins, but any sin that you indulge, or as Romans 13:14 says, that you make provision for, opens you up to be destroyed. And the devil does not wait for you to have a vulnerability to come up with an attack – he’s already pursuing you. 1 Peter 5:8 warns us to be alert, because the devil is on the prowl, and he’s looking at us for his next meal.
I think too many people dismiss the importance of cultivating their relationship with God through personal worship simply because they’ve lost sight of the bigger picture of spiritual warfare going on in our lives on a daily basis.
[EXCERPT] How did Jesus know what to do? The Father told him.
How did Jesus know where to go? The Father told him.
How did Jesus know what to say? The Father told him.
How did Jesus know when His time was up? He had finished the work His Father gave him.
You know what we don’t see in Jesus’ example? We don’t see Jesus being reactionary to the people around him. He doesn’t do what the people ask him to; in fact, there are many times when he did the opposite. The people wanted him to stay, and he left. The people wanted him to perform miracles, and he refused. Why would he do this? Because He was getting direction from His Father. It didn’t matter what people said or did to Him, because His purpose and identity were tied to His father, not his friends, family, peers, or enemies.
[EXCERPT] I’ve heard people comment that they feel like they’re already experiencing Hell here on earth. And to a point, I believe they are. But it’s only a taste… a foreshadowing. Covered up, but never warm. Never quite making out shapes or figures. Always waiting… but afraid of the light — or rather, what the light will expose. So we hide in fear, afraid to let anyone near, afraid to be real, afraid to be honest. We play the game and as a result become angry, anxious, or depressed.
But then suddenly, the pain of being in the darkness reaches a breaking point. We get tired of being controlled by fear, by the darkness. Suddenly the fear of the light isn’t as strong. Because with the light comes hope. We don’t have play a game any longer. We can just be real. Honest. To be us.
So we come to Jesus – we step out of the darkness and into the light. We let him see us as we are… in all our filth. And we let him wash us clean, and in response we follow Him in the light for the rest of our days. We’re now free.