April 24, 2007

 

Trusting the Method or the Master

By Marybeth Whalen 

 

“But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness and all these things will be given to you as well.” Matthew 6:33 (NIV)

         

Devotion:

It used to be that whenever I talked to women who were feeling overwhelmed by life, I asked them some key questions. I shared with them how God taught me through several key people and resources to live a more intentional, more organized life. Sometimes I would share some of the more specific methods I used personally. I would challenge them to determine what methods would work specifically for their personality and situation. For a long time, I was satisfied that leading women to the right methods was sufficient for getting them organized and helping them to stay that way. Then recently God got my attention. I realized that although my intentions were good and noble enough, I was missing the mark. I had inadvertently put my trust in the methods and not the Master Himself.

 

One day as I was crying out to God in the shower (my prayer closet), He whispered to my heart that I was stressed and dissatisfied because I was looking for the answers within the systems I had in place in my life. I was playing the “if only game.” You know the one: If only I had more space in my house, I could be more organized. If only I had more time, I could get more done. If only I had older kids, younger kids, fewer kids, no kids, a kid… Whatever your “if only game” sounds like, I am sure you can admit to having played it before. That day I was lamenting the failure of my methods by looking for a way out—instead of looking for God’s face in the midst of my crazy life.

 

Now don’t get me wrong. God is not a God of disorder, but of peace. (I Corinthians 14:33) He tells us “to number our days aright, that we may gain a heart of wisdom” (Psalm 90:12). He wants us to have orderly, sane lives and to live productively so that we can bring honor to Him. If we are meeting ourselves coming and going and live in a state of perennial slovenliness, that hardly brings honor and glory to His name. So I am not advocating letting the chips fall where they may. On the contrary, as in everything in life, I am sharing what God taught me—and that is to not put too much stock in being “on top of our game.” When this happens, our ego gets bigger. I heard a preacher recently say that EGO stands for “Edging God Out.” We edge Him out when we think we have it all figured out! I foolishly thought my methods would enable me to figure it all out.

 

Whether you are in a place of needing God to help you find methods that work for you, or in a place where you need to surrender the methods so you can seek the Master first, I challenge you to press in close to God. Listen for the sound of His voice amidst all the noise of life. Ask Him to show you just where you need to make changes and bring balance. Methods are good, but a close relationship with the Master is infinitely better. Let God take care of all the needs in your life and put your trust where it belongs.

 

Dear Lord, Please show me where I need to make changes in my life so that I can trust fully in You. I want to listen for your voice and not try to answer all the questions of life on my own. Please help me find the balance I need. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

 

Related Resources:

Home Management Tips for Hot Food & Clean Clothes, ETC Article

 

Becoming a Woman Who Listens To God by Sharon Jaynes

 

Do You Know Him?

 

Application Steps: 

Spend some time today evaluating your methods for dealing with life. Where can you make changes to either: 1) lead a more orderly life that enables you to give glory to God or 2) surrender some control to give Him more room to work in your life.

 

Reflections: 

Do you have methods/systems in place in your life that edge God out and make Him less necessary for you?

 

How can you allow God to take a more active role in ordering your steps each day?

 

Power Verses:

James 3:16, “For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice.” (NIV)

 

Jeremiah 29:13, “You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all of your heart.” (NIV)

 

Proverbs 19:21, “Many are the plans in a man’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails.”

 

Proverbs 31 Ministries

616-G, Matthews-Mint Hill Road

Matthews, NC 28105

www.Proverbs31.org