October 24, 2013

My agenda isn’t working . . .

I would never call myself a Judas, at least not until this morning.

The Bible indicates that Judas betrayed Jesus for money and at this point, I’m not concerned about money. However, what if his underlying motive had more to do with being impatient? What If he thought he knew better than Jesus and wasn’t willing to wait for Jesus to do the things he thought should be done? What if Judas decided that instead of trusting Jesus, he tried to force His hand by putting Him in a situation that would ‘make’ Him do what he thought should happen?

Every Christian I know has testified to being impatient with God and His unhurried ways. We take matters into our own hands thinking we can “help” Him in some way, motivated by pride in our ideas rather than faith in His plans and timing.

None of the rulers of this age understood this, for if they had, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. (1 Corinthians 2:8)

Am I any better than Judas? I’ve some friends whose lives are a mess because they seem oblivious to the ways of God and the power of their sinful habits. I want to fix this, to explain how some of their actions are destructive to the Christian life they want to live, and even though I’m keeping my mouth shut, I’m praying for them and eager that God gets on with the task of waking them up, teaching them, changing their lives so they will be joyful instead of struggling. They are going to church and attending Bible studies, but that doesn’t seem like enough to me. I impatiently pray, Do it now, God, and do it this way or that way, as if I know better than God.

Today’s devotional reading asks if the church is ever free from a “half-bewildered, half-fretful impatience that can’t trust to the steady drip, drip of the weekly services soaking into people’s souls” or deal with the seeming lack of results from God’s slow and steady method? I understand that impatience.

I want the power of God to break on us like a flood. We want all Christians to be mature, alert because God has done amazing things, a swift, immediate revival not at God’s time but now, in my time. I sometimes pray with a fervency that thinks my efforts will bring God more swiftly to the rescue.

But God isn’t doing what I tell Him to do. These solutions that I think are so wise and good and clever always end in nothing. I can see that my plans would rob people of what is in God’s mind to give them. If He listened to me and my silly efforts all could be ruined. For these friends, I need to learn greater patience as well as how to pray in His will.

God’s ways are not my ways. He works in his own time, in His own manner. If I try to dictate, to demand it must be now and in my way, He silently waits until I shut up. If I stopped my engineering, organizing, talking and constant manipulating, and instead sat quietly in God’s presence and worshiped Him, waiting for His voice to reach people — instead of mine — how much more I might see Him at work in the lives of those on my prayer list.

My fussing and clever ideas do nothing. Like Judas, I get in Christ’s way and hinder Him. I mean to help and in that eagerness become certain I can do it. I think of ways to make things happen, but am really just impatient with God and His methods, thinking that I know better than He does, and then running ahead of Him.

Some interpret this as the root problem and sin of Judas. That sin brought Christ to the cross and is one more sinful way in which I am guilty of doing the same thing.

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