Do you know why we experience so much defeat in life?
It’s because we love to be in control!
Jesus knew about our tendency and He warned us about it: “I tell you the truth, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds.” (John 12:24 NIV)
If we hunger for the fruit of the Spirit (See Gal 5:22) but we are not seeing any results, maybe it’s because we are trying to stay in control. Unless we die (relinquishing control), we cannot “produce many seeds”!
This is confirmed once again by Jesus: “Remain in me, and I will remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.” (John 15:4 NIV)
And again here: “And anyone who does not carry his cross and follow me cannot be my disciple.” (Luke 14:27 NIV)
Carrying a cross was not a piece of cake in Jesus’ days. It always led to the death of the individual! In other words, we cannot pretend to be disciples of the Most High if we insist on staying in control of our lives!
Unfortunately however, we are often very stubborn about letting go and dying to self. We are far too comfortable trying to stay in control. We don’t mind accepting Jesus as our Saviour, but we have difficulty accepting Him as Lord of our lives. But the one cannot go without the other, and this is where we run into trouble!
The other day I was desperately searching for my wife’s passport. She was supposed to pick her mother up from the airport the next day, and the trip involved an international border crossing. She would definitely need her passport, but for the life of me, I couldn’t remember where I had put it! She had taken it with her two weeks earlier when she had driven her mother to the airport, and I clearly remembered her giving it to me for safekeeping as soon as she returned. And I could clearly remember heading downstairs with the passport in hand to put it with the others! But it wasn’t there! Memory loss is quite common to me these days, especially since I crossed the half-century mark a few years ago …
As I desperately searched the office, all the drawers in the house, my briefcases, the filing cabinets, the walk-in closet, the bathroom-literally everywhere-I kept muttering over and over again: “God, help me!” But it was to no avail. The passport was nowhere to be found.
After over an hour of this frantic search, I finally realized that I was trying to stay in control of the situation. In other words, “I” was trying to locate my wife’s passport. It was a logical response. After all, wasn’t “I” responsible for losing it in the first place? But as long as “I” relied on my OWN efforts, aggravation and defeat where the only fruits of my labours.
That’s when I did what I should have done in the first place. I bowed down my head and said: “Lord I have NO IDEA where that passport could be. Please lead us to it. You are the specialist of lost causes. In You I trust.”
Not even a minute later my wife exclaimed: “I found it!”
And found it she had. In the basement, lying on top of one of the bookcases. What on earth was it doing there?
The sad part of it all is that I too often forget my own fiascos, and the same vicious cycle of relying on “me” instead of letting God be in control repeats itself over and over. The times I do remember to let Him be first, these are the times when I don’t end up frustrated, as He clearly leads me all the way.
Do you know where your keys are?
If not, there’s no need to panic. Ask your caring Father. He is the specialist of lost causes, and this includes bearing fruit for the Kingdom!
(To access the entire “Awake!” devotional series, please click here.)