Daily Devotion #2

Pushed to the Limit

"Get out of here, Satan," Jesus told him. "For the Scriptures say, 'You must worship the LORD your God and serve only him.'"  Matthew 4:10 NLT

I hate the hair scrunchies that get stretched out.  Because once you've used them too much, on that last stretch…POP!  And in my case I usually have to scramble to find another one or doctor on that one till I can get another one.  We all get to that place where we have been stretched, pulled, pushed, forced, and pummeled beyond our limits.  I realized last night (Thanks Dad bka God) that once we get fed up, we finally have the guts to do whatever it takes to get out of that situation.  It is at the point of being fed up, the cliffhanger syndrome, that we can have the courage to do whatever part God needs us to do.  That's right–after you have been pushed too far, used too much, trampled on and beat on too many times, you finally have had enough and are willing to do something, albeit anything to make your situation change.

But ask yourself, at that point, have you called on God, or used His word to change your situation?  You see here in the passage above, Jesus had been in the wilderness for 40 days, being tempted by satan.  So on the last straw, Jesus told satan to get away from Him–using His God-given authority and coupling it with the Word–He trusted and rested in God's promises, submitting all to Him, remaining in God's will for His life even after His resurrection.

Many days during these last few months I have cried tears from anger to my best friends and my mom, and even God.  I have quoted scriptures to myself, which worked to change my mood and mindset for that time frame, but nothing seemed to fully break it.  The enemy has been determined to deter me from this place that God is leading me to…by employing a 'by any means necessary' tactic–stopping me from writing devotions, some days blocking me from reading the devotions I get daily, putting up all sorts of road blocks, even knocking my feet from under me, so to speak.  And I finally had enough last Friday.  I have been pushed too far.  Its time for me to do something.

But in reading, I realized that I had neglected to do one thing.  I had not fully submitted my problems to God.  I had prayed about it, cursed satan, prayed for the people coming against me, employed a 'kill em with kindness' attitude, and even forgave each person.  In reading a devotion from Dr. Charles Stanley, I realized I had allowed my need to control and fix my problems (my problem solver syndrome in overdrive) to block me from fulling giving my issues over to God.  You see, I thanked God for the revelation and asked Him to continue to show me myself, but I had not fully submitted to Him to finish the process.

Once you get fed up, you submit to God.  You recall His Word and promises to you; you pray and pray and pray and pray some more.  You go to church, you link up with other Christians, and you pursue a deeper relationship with God.  But if you are anything like me, you forget to submit to Him.  James 4:7 says "Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you." (NIV)  How could I expect the spawn of all things evil to really leave me alone when I'm still holding on to my problems?  With full hands you cannot grab hold of God's hand.

God told Paul in 2 Cor 12:10 that "And He has said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness." Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me."  I was and am still weak but I tried to do God's job rather than letting Him strengthen me in my weakness to get through.  It took me getting fed up, sick and tired of being sick and tired (as the 'seasoned' folks say, lol) to finally open my hands.

I firmly try to live life by the Serenity prayer's first stanza:

God grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change;
the courage to change the things I can;
and the wisdom to know the difference.

In living my life by this, I acknowledge things that are out of my control, and make an action on the things I can control.  But being in control also means knowing when something is outside of your control, when you have to take it to God.  Its only when you get pushed to the limit that we all cry out to God to fix it.  If we start taking things–scratch that, EVERYTHING, to God and get His will on the way ahead, we can always have the 'Upper' hand.

"we are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not despairing; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; always carrying about in the body the dying of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body."  2 Cor 4:8-10 NASB

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