There’s no doubt and no denying that we are in a self-driven culture. A self-sufficient, self-reliant culture. This life, each and every day, tells us to figure what I can do, to make life work for me. Achieve success. Achieve, win, go faster, be on top. You get the idea. Living and working in two different worlds has led me to learn that it does not matter what line of work we are in or what, the self, the ego, if you will, is always right there to give us a nudge and push us along.
Over the past couple of years, I have been blessed to begin counseling with individuals and couples and also to work with a solid team of to host men’s ministry weekends or boot camps as we have called them. While it has been hard burning the candle at both ends, maintaining my long-term work in the process, it has been some very fruitful and fulfilling work to see individuals and families transformed come alive in a variety of ways.
In the midst of it all, however, I always think back to the first night of our first boot camp. We didn’t know what we were doing. We had a plan, felt led by the Spirit, and were going to execute it as best we could. That first night and the next morning, however, events happened, that God used to tell me, “When are you going to remember that I am in control?” It was as clear as can be. We prayed through that and allowed God to take more and more control, which was the best thing we could have done.
Now fast-forward. We’ve held 3 weekends, my wife helped lead a weekend for women, and we are planning our fourth men’s weekend this Fall. What has been very obvious is the ministry that has sort of morphed out of all of this and the thoughts for continued growth that has come from all of this. We are in the planning the stages of something new to be birthed and will be so pumped to share about it as it all comes together.
As I think about it this, I guess I’m writing this post as a reminder to myself, just as much as it is for all of you. This is not about me or any of you. This life is not about us. It is about God, as the author, creator, and perfecter of our story and lives, through Jesus Christ. Every morning, as a part of my prayer, I pray that God helps me to remember that this is all about Him and not about me, that He is the Hero of this story and that I belong to Him.
So, I started this post, but talking about the self-fulfilling culture we live in. I was led to Galatians 5:16, where Paul writes (out of The Message), “My counsel is this: Live freely, animated and motivated by God’s Spirit. Then you won’t feed the compulsions of selfishness.” He goes on to write, “For there is a root of sinful self-interest in us that is at odds with a free spirit, just as the free spirit is incompatible with selfishness. These two ways of life are antithetical, so that you cannot live at times one way and at times another way according to how you feel on any given day.”
Learning from this is very important for all of us. God places desires in our heart for living, but those desires from Him are out of desire to live a life with God. When we go to try to make life work on our own, pursuing self-fulfilling desires that are driven by the false-self, we will be derailed and life cannot be found there. John Eldredge wrote, “Faith looks back and draws courage; hope looks ahead, and keeps desire alive.”
So what are you looking to. What are the ambitions that drive you ahead? Is it purely out of what this life will bring you, or do you look ahead to the hope that is head by pursing the Great Adventure with God? Do you seek His will or your own? As Paul write, the free spirit, which we have in Christ is at odds with self-interest or the false-self.
The false-self says, how can I make life work for me. The true-self or the free spirit as Peterson put it, seeks and desires the ultimate life, that comes only with God and through Jesus Christ. Paul wrote in Ephesians 4 to put off our old-self, our sinful and false nature (this is the nature that is self-driven) and put on our new nature, our true-self, that is created to be like God, truly holy and righteous.
We have a great hope that lies ahead with the coming of Christ and restoration of all things. I urge you brothers and sisters, do not spend your life trying to make life work for just yourself. There is no life to be found there. This is not about us. It is about God first. Choose a life with Him. Don’t be so short sighted to strive for the worlds standards or your own standards of success. You will miss the mark big time.
Align yourself with God and allow the Holy Spirit to overwhelm you and lead you in the way you should go. God is trying to grow us and train us in this life in order to perfect us for His Kingdom. Choose the, with God, life.