More Than Mediocre
Nicole admits to being a “happy-ending addict.” I knew I related to Nicole…well, mostly. I do LOVE a happy ending, but I also like to be surprised. I read lots of novels but always from front to back.
I love it that she says Jesus really is the happy ending we’ve been looking for — He is all about our salvation. He’s all about our life-ever-after, as in eternity. But what we forget is that He’s not ONLY about salvation. He’s also about our here-and-now, about “the work He can do to change you as a person.”
It’s kind of a tough sell — “to follow Jesus you have to change your life.” In fact, some of the people I love and pray for the most won’t surrender to Jesus because they think they don’t want to change. But I think it’s the order of things that matters.
It’s not, change then follow Jesus. He loves us the way we are. And we can’t DO anything to make Him love us any more than He already does (or less for that matter). Our pastor says Jesus is a true fisherman. He doesn’t clean his fish until they’re caught.
This chapter, our lives as believers here on earth — they come down to loving Jesus then surrendering to Him as He works change in our lives. But we have to be willing.
That’s how Nicole can come right out and say, “To follow Jesus is to agree to change.”
Follow Him. Give Him your heart, your life. Then watch the work He does to change your life…for the better!
Why does He want to change us?
Does He think we’re not good enough? Does He want to control us?
God is our Creator, our Daddy-God.
He knows what will bring us the most joy and the fullest expression of his presence while we are on earth. The commandments He sets in place for us are actually for our good.
He desires change for our lives because He wants us to have life to the fullest while we’re here on earth. He wants change for us because He knows what will fulfill us and give us greatest joy…better than we know ourselves.
Nicole is right, though. We tend to be stubborn. We like doing things our own way. The battle within us rages — left punch: I want to surrender to God’s work in my life. Right punch: I want to do life my way.
If you’re like me, you’re ready for change. I’m ready to be less selfish and more generous. I’m ready to look to God every time life gets hard instead of pouting or complaining or wallowing in self-pity. So how do we do change?
Nicole identifies three foundational truths that will help lead us to deeper places of spiritual growth…toward the change we desire.
The first truth is that we’re crazy…at least a little bit! If we’re honest with ourselves and with God, we’ll uncover those things about ourselves that are weird or crazy, broken or messed up. And we can’t grow or change until we see those things for what they are.
I love that Nicole points out that the Bible is full of people who are crazy. David, for instance.
In the story of David we find every aspect of the human condition, every emotion of the heart. In the Psalms, David lives inside out, throwing open the door of his heart and mind–and encouraging us to do the same. He looks honestly at himself and leaves us an example of the incredible results of facing issues head-on.
The next truth is that we can’t fix ourselves. After we are honest with ourselves about who and what we are (remember, we’re a little crazy…), we must admit to ourselves and to God that we aren’t strong enough to change by ourselves.
Here’s another Nicole-phrase I love: “too often we resign ourselves to the ache of the ordinary.” The ache of the ordinary. We give in. We settle. We live with the less-than-us when we have a choice — we can humble ourselves before God and admit we need Him! (see Isaiah 66:2)
The third truth is our hope — God can transform us!
But here’s the catch, “Even if you can accept the fact that He can solve your problems, you may not be ready for complete surrender.” Knowing and doing are two different things, but there’s help…even for the most stubborn of us.
Isaiah 55:8 quotes God as saying, “My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways.” It’s oh-so good for us to keep that in mind as we try to step through the surrender thing. Each of us needs to accept that He’s not going to change us according to our plans!
We’re letting go of control and giving it to God. Here’s how:
- Admit you have a problem.
- Realize you can’t solve that problem.
We must accept these two realities if we want to reach for the next–
3. God is willing and interested in meeting you at these issues and using them to change you!
Word Up — John 1:12-14, 16
God’s way is rebirth. Birth takes work.
The change in our heart that we seek is a rebirth and it WILL take work!
It is only your utter dependence upon Him, your complete rebirth into His way that will change you. …He’s interested in moving through our issues so we can understand just how desperate we are for a constant inflow of His love into our hearts.
More good news — this isn’t about perfection or being better. It’s about being changed…”remade every single day into the likeness of Christ.”
The best news — God loves us too much to leave us wallowing in our issues, missing out on His presence and peace.
So. It’s decision time.
Are you ready to surrender? Ready to extend your hands out, face up to the heavens and say, “God, do your will!”? If so, let’s tackle the first issue on the list — CONTROL. Next week we’ll get down like Janet Jackson and do some control moves. Read chapters 3 & 4 and meet back here!
Till then…take that Space Bar — pray everyday to God that you’re ready to be honest, ready to give control to Him even though most days you try to take that control back. Ask God to mold you into the woman He wants you to be. Ask for your eyes to be opened, the chains to be broken, so you can be set free from that ache of the ordinary that keeps you from experiencing life and love to the fullest. We want more than mediocre!
Nicole’s reminder — You are loved. You are worthy. And so you will be changed.
Letting it all go,