It’s amazing how God can use the ordinary things to stir something within our heart. This past week I have been reading “Learning” by Karen Kingsbury. (If you haven’t read any of her books….they’re phenomenal!) One of the characters in this book is called Bailey…and in this book she has to face some hard and difficult issues. In the midst of her hardship, failure, and discouragement she consistently spends time with the Lord and He would speak to heart.
As with any book lover…the story you read comes alive and you become part of it. Well, I was a bit jealous of Bailey….I know, it sounds so silly…but it was true. I wanted God to speak to my heart like He was speaking to Bailey’s heart.
So, I grabbed my Bible, notebook, and pen and sat on my front porch. I prayed, “Lord, I know Bailey isn’t a real person…but will you speak to me like you speak to her.” You all may think I am crazy right now…off my rocker…“She’s praying that God would speak to her like He does to some made up character in a book!?”
Well, guess what? He spoke to me! I felt like He wanted me to turn to Philippians and I started reading in 2:14…it says:
“Do everything without grumbling or arguing”
I thought….”Wow! What a pretty easy task….I don’t grumble or argue very much….O.K. God…..I can do this.” What God spoke to me next really caused me to want to grumble and argue….He said, “Cherie, I want you to give up your rights.”
What the mess? Seriously? Seriously!?!
Let me explain what God was telling me. Over the past few years, my marriage has been struggling and through the hurt, pain, and brokenness in my marriage, I put up barriers and walls….I created a “Bill of Rights” that I lived by in my marriage.
Here are just a few of my “Bill of Rights”
I have a right to speak and to be heard.
I have a right to be justified in my pain.
I have a right to justice, for those who hurt me to be punished.
I have a right to be loved unconditionally.
I have a right to guard my heart.
And these are just a few of the rights I had.
See, all of us…whether we realize it or not have created a “Bill of Rights” that we live by in our lives, and relationships. Some of those rights may be valid, some may stem from the hurt and pain we have experienced. However, our “Bill of Rights”…or at least mine…has created a barrier between me and my husband. It has created disunity.
I’m not going to say this is going to be an easy task for me…even writing this down is causing my stomach to turn and anger to spill over. I would love to throw this computer across the room and yell at God…but He told me not to grumble and argue. He really does have a great sense of humor doesn’t He?
I had no idea what He would tell me after I agreed to not grumble or argue…I thought He meant for me to not grumble or argue with my husband and family…I didn’t think He meant for me to not argue and grumble with Him!
The beautiful thing about God is that He never tells us to do something without a blessing or promise attached to it…read Philippians 2:14-15 and you will see.
When I finally settled down my emotions and anger long enough to listen to what else God had to speak…he led me to Philippians 2:5-8
In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus:
6 Who, being in very natureof God,
did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage;
7 rather, he made himself nothing
by taking the very nature of a servant,
being made in human likeness.
8 And being found in appearance as a man,
he humbled himself
by becoming obedient to death—
even death on a cross!
God reminded me that Christ came to serve…He was obedient to God even to the point of death. When God calls us to do something…not only is a promise secured in our obedience…a death happens. We must die to our flesh…to our rights!
Jesus didn’t come to this earth with a “Bill of Rights” attached…He gave up His rights and took on the form of a human. Even writing these words cause conviction in my heart. We are called to walk as Christ walked on this earth…and despite the hurt, abuse, and hardship that Christ faced…He still gave of Himself…even to the point of death!
Lord, this will not be an easy task for me to do…to give up my rights…to give up the right to be hurt, to give up the right to guard myself against more hurt. Lord, help me today to give up and surrender to your way of being in a relationship with (enter the person’s name). Jesus, help me to walk the way you walked here on earth, by being a servant, by being obedient even to the point of death. God, I’m sorry for doing things my way…forgive me and wash over me with your forgiveness. I know your grace is sufficient for me to be obedient to Your Word. I trust You God!