Release from Self-condemnation

Devotions for those who are weary of feeling not good enough, regardless of the source of those feelings.

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

That Slender Cord of Willfulness

Week 4  Obey and Submit

Day 26

That Slender Cord of Willfulness

You are putting forth the wrong kind of effort. You aren’t working hard to conform yourself to God’s plan, you are attempting to arrive at His outcome by another path, a path of your own making.


he addiction that must be broken in order for God to have His way in our lives is not love for food, but the strength of our desire to have our own way. We feel determined to keep at least some rights; at the very least, we want to reserve the freedom to choose what we eat and when we will eat it. This is the sin the Israelites committed when they demanded meat rather than the manna God had given. The Lord provided them quail, but then made them eat it until it came out their noses. [i] 

We desperately want to make ourselves right in our own strength, and thus we hope to reserve for ourselves the credit for anticipated weight loss. We dream of being told how wonderful we look, envisioning a deprecatory smile and perhaps a modest comment of how it certainly was a lot of work. Maybe we will even say, “Well, the Lord helped me.” We bargain with God and tell Him we will give Him the glory if only He lets us have what we want.

I had a specific number I wanted to see on the scale and cherished a vision of a stronger, more youthful version of myself, but this is not the vision the Lord wanted me to have; He must fill all our vision if He is to assume His rightful place in our lives. In response to my whining complaint that I had to have goals in mind if I was ever going to lose weight, it was as though the Lord replied, “Plan to abide. Plan to obey. Plan to abstain from influences not of Me. But don't plan how you are going to obey, or your goals for your day will take preeminence over Mine.”

The problem with a plan of our own making is that in the midst of a busy and stressful day we feel free to depart from our self-made rules as whim or perceived need strikes (I’m feeling hungry right now and can’t concentrate, and so I’ll just have a snack now and start my diet tomorrow…”). If we create our own blueprint, then it is ok for us to edit the plan. When we have submitted our will to God’s, we certainly do not have freedom to edit His direction, and there’s the rub. 

We try so hard to make ourselves right in our own strength, and God waits patiently as we fail and fail again. Blessedly, we don't have to cut the stubborn strands of disobedience ourselves, because the Lord has purchased our freedom from sin. The warmth of His great love melts resistance to His rule in our lives. It always comes back to abiding in that great love.   

Pray: Lord, forgive me for clinging to my right to eat what I want when I want; I have no rights but those You have allowed. Forgive me for trying to find a path other than Your path to take me to the outcomes You desire for me; I can go no place You’ve not ordained. I release to You the number on the scale. I release to You how much I eat and when. Teach me to abide in Your love as I submit my plans for my days to You. Amen. 

How foolish can you be? After starting your new lives in the Spirit, why are you now trying to become perfect by your own human effort? Have you experienced so much for nothing? Surely it was not in vain, was it?
 I ask you again, does God give you the Holy Spirit and work miracles among you because you obey the law? Of course not! It is because you believe the message you heard about Christ.
Galatians 3:3-5 NLT

For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace.

[i] Numbers 11:19-20

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