“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.”
I bet you’re probably wondering, “why are these messages called ‘Golden Relationships” and in the context of the great commission but we haven’t dug into relationships with others yet?” Well, I didn’t expect these messages to go this way, but that’s why it’s God’s Gold and not mine. God just keeps hitting me with this HUGE truth that before we ever step foot into what “living on mission” for Christ and building golden relationships with others looks like in the context of our lives, we must first start in the RELATIONSHIP above all relationships, and that is our relationship with Jesus.
After yesterday’s lesson about “surrender” and just how crucial it is to surrender ourselves before Jesus daily, today’s message bounces right off of that. I’ve just noticed a lot this week that as soon as I start digging into “Golden Relationships” with you, the time I’ve spent with the relationships God has placed around me has been really tough. It’s wild when we have these revelations and breakthroughs in our faith where God shows us just how important it is to live life on mission for Him, to love, encourage and share Christ with others through word and example, we even feel the fullness of what living in that surrender to selves for the glory of God brings to our hearts, we simply see that this is what this life is all about, serving Jesus by loving others and serving them. All of this has been so real to me lately but it’s been like as soon as the Lord revealed to me that this is what life is all about, that’s when life hits. It’s funny how the enemy attacks us when we begin moving in our faith towards the mission Christ has called us to. He sees that we’re getting it, we are taking more and more steps to truly being a disciple of Jesus, so he attacks us, he attacks us with distractions, busyness, temptations that urge the lusts of our flesh and the selfish/sinful desires of our old nature. Basically, Satan hits us with all he has because he wants nothing more than to stop us from following God faithfully in this Great Commission.
I want to share something I’ve learned this week though that has gotten rid of all excuses and my wants to blame these attacks of the devil to why I’ve struggled so much. Take a look at this truth found in James 1:13; “‘But each person is tempted when he is drawn away and enticed by his own evil desire.” We see here that it’s not Satan that is to blame here for the reason behind why we aren’t following God on this mission, it’s actually someone much closer to you, you see them in the mirror everyday, yep! It’s YOU!!! It’s ourselves that follow the temptations laid before us, it’s ourselves that get so caught up in our busy lives, making all these priorities that we see as “important” that are really nothing compared to our personal relationship with the Son of God or living a life on mission for Him. It sucks to realize that, I know because that’s what has hit me so deeply this week. Why would Jesus tell us to take up our cross and follow Him??? Well, it’s simple, Jesus calls us to die to self and find life in Him. That’s is what I’ve seen personally this week as the biggest barrier to why I don’t spend more time being intentional with others, spending time to love them, encourage them and serve them. It’s not easy to here but the biggest barrier we face from following Christ and being a true disciple of His, living life on mission to make disciples for Christ, that barrier is us!
So many moments I looked over my week and the time I was around others, people that God has placed in my path and given such a great opportunity to stir their hearts towards Jesus and a life with Him. My biggest struggle was myself, it wasn’t the attacks I faced or any other excuses, it’s just me. At the end of the day, Satan can attack us til he’s blue in the face, but that is no excuses because God has showed us clearly that “He who is in you is GREATER than he who is in the world. Jesus has defeated Satan already, He’s given us the victory over any scheme the devil can throw at us, the problem we face isn’t an enemy out to get us, anyone or anything else in this world, our biggest problem, enemy, and resistance is us.
This verse from Proverbs is one I refer back to often and it seemed so fitting for this exact occasion. Such wisdom is written hear, to lean on God, with ALL of our hearts. That means not just some of our hearts and then leaving some open space for some fleshly desires that we don’t want to get rid of. When God says all, He means ALL! Then it simply says, “lean not on your own understanding.” Why? Because when we lean on our own understanding, we are so suspectible to falling for the lies of temptation that the enemy dangles in front of us. When we operate out of self, our view of others is skewed completely from how God sees them and wants us to see them. Also, our understanding is filled with selfish wants, seeking out what pleases our flesh the most. When leaning on our own understanding is what we decide to do, the result is having one jacked up, sideways, sloppy life. Think about it? When you are operating off of you, what you think is right, doing what you think is best, everything is centered around you. Our priorities get so jacked up that we become so easily distracted and caught up in all of these worldly things that make us feel good and comfortable instead of being focused and completely consumed by the only One who matters, Jesus. And the only priority that matters, following Him on this adventure of life He calls us to. There is so many examples and ways that this could be spoken of and written about but I don’t want to distract you from the main point, which is, trust in the Lord with all of your heart, surrender yourself to Him completely, your wants, your desires, your want to be comfortable and feel good, all of it. Let it go, because there is nothing about this life of following Jesus that is comfortable, it’s actually the complete opposite of what our understanding tells us is good and right.
To live on mission for Christ and make disciples, we must first learn what it means to truly be a disciple of Jesus and what it really looks like to follow Him. It all begins by coming to Jesus and letting go of self, despite what you think, want or feel, your understanding is not to be leaned on here. Our goal is to follow Christ, not ourselves so everything that goes with self is out the window. Like I’ve experienced lately and so many other times in my life, and I’m sure these are experiences you’ve had to, when we lean on self and our own understanding, the path of life gets crazy, crooked and completely messy. I’m not saying that trusting in God will lead to smooth roads and no obstacles, but leaning on His understanding and acjowledging Him in all you do, He will make your path straight. There is a process in becoming a disciple of Christ where we face a life of suffering, and that suffering produces a melting away of self and in that process God forms us more into the image of His Son. It may not be easy but when we fully surrender ourselves before God, and really trust Him, that He is who He says He is and continually seek Him out in all situations we face, the path may have bumps but with God He gives us the eyes to see the direction He wants us to go. When we are living humbly under His leadership in our lives and in His ways, our perspective of everything is molded into how He sees life, people and ourselves for that matter. God shows us exactly the way He wants us to go, the suffering or you can call it “training” that He takes us under to shape and mold us, to prepare us for the mission He has in store for us ahead.
That’s what I noticed this week, it sure has been a struggle and I’ve had to endure some suffering, but when we remove ourselves, we realize quickly that God is doing something much bigger here. God is transforming us and taking us through times of humbling so we can better see that if we want to live life on mission for Him, if we want to build Golden relationships with others and leave an eternal impact on their lives, there is no place for self but only room to lean on God and God alone. The less we lean on our own understanding, the more we lean on God, He is shifting our perspective more and more to see the truth of what a disciple looks like. It’s surrender of self and God, nothing but Him!!! As we take up this verse and hold it tightly in the days to come, let’s lean in here before we move onto anything else. We first must know what being a true disciple of Jesus is and what that looks like because if we don’t how are we ever going to attack this mission that God has given us? It’s impossible to go at this mission without Christ 110% in the lead of our lives and it’s impossible to make disciples if we try to detour the route of surrender that comes with becoming a true disciple ourselves. To live more like Jesus and live on mission for Jesus, you first have to seek more of and lean on Jesus.