The last few weeks have been really busy and heavy. I’ve felt like it’s taken everything in me to just keep going, physically. It’s those times in your life where there is so much going on that you literally can’t think. My brain was so oversaturated that even as I would sit to read, I would immediately forget what I had read. It’s been a time of trials and me fighting to do and say the right things, but still falling short. In this time I have known and experienced God more as he has called me to a deeper faith.
Titus 3:1-2 “Remind the people to be subject to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready to do whatever is good, to slander no one, to be peaceable and considerate, and always to be gentle toward everyone.”
God has been reminding me of the things in Titus 3 as I’ve faced some difficult situations at work recently. This is how the scripture breaks down for me:
“Be subject to rulers/authority” – I have a really hard time with authority figures, especially ones I do not respect or whose judgment I question. But God reminds me:
Ps 62: 7 My salvation and my honor depend on God; he is my mighty rock, my refuge.
When I don’t feel someone is supportive of me it can be hard to want to support them. Yet I am reminded that God will secure my honor and will be my refuge even if those in positions of power in my life are not for me or don’t make good judgment calls. Instead of getting frustrated and trying to take on things that are beyond me, I’m called to do right and trust that God will protect and provide because he always has. I’m called to remember that God is who He says he is: Powerful and Almighty. I am called to focus on still giving my best and supporting those above me. I am called to love everyone, not only those who love me.
“Be obedient, ready to do whatever is good” – obedience is a call to self-denial: sacrifice of self for a greater good. In moments when I can’t perceive the greater good I disobey. God reminds me:
1Sam 15:22-23 Does the Lord delight in burn offerings, and sacrifices as much as obeying the voice of the Lord? To obey is better than sacrifice.
I experience God when I obey. He experiences my character when I desire to please him more than I desire to be right. It’s that moment when you know you are right and the other person is lying or blame shifting and you can either get defensive and fight, or you can let it go or stay cool and not retaliate. Obedience in this area of my life has been learning to let it go and it’s been hard. Obedience is not shallow offerings, it’s me bending my will to God’s. It is an intimate act of trust between God and me. It says, I do not know where you are leading me, it doesn’t feel good, but I know it will be ok because you only lead me to what is for my ultimate best. When I am willing to bend my will to his I can perceive the greater good and am ready do it, even if I don’t want to.
Ultimately the situation at work has gotten better but is still difficult. However, as I have fought to do the right thing, change how I think and respond, God has been faithful and provided a way. Even when I have failed to respond and reacted out of emotion, he has been gracious. Experiencing God has meant believing Him when he tells me all things are possible with him and waiting for him to reveal the greater good that is supposed to come out of the unpleasant. It’s been fighting to hold on to and remember that this job in itself was an answered prayer from him and there are so many things that I love about it.
Matt11:19 But wisdom is proven right by her actions.
Humility breeds true, godly wisdom. When I am not living out of humility I cannot bear good fruit. In order to experience greater faith and see God work I have had to be more humble than I have ever been before. The hardest part of all has been changing my reactions. I’m being called to pray for those who are not for me. This is one way God’s love can overcome my lack of love and faith.
Many people do their testimony and witness a disservice because their ultimate reactions never change, people see them and don’t see Christ, but it’s because they are trying to change on their own power and love people on their terms. When we do this it’s because we are not experiencing God’s love and tapping into the faith He gives us to change.
I’m seeing the difference in my own life. Giving up my selfish choice for the greater good, whatever that may be in a given moment, breeds a deeper intimacy with God. Giving up the desire for recognition from people and accepting honor from God alone. It also produces the fruit of God’s love in others if I let it in me. I’ve said I’m sorry more this month than what feels like in my whole life. I’ve felt more powerless and at a loss for the right answer than I have in a long time and it has been in these very moments that I have traded in my reactions for the right thing – the hard thing and watched it bear fruit that has been beyond my faith.