He stares at me. Tail wagging, tongue hanging out of his mouth. It's almost as if he believes he can cause me to do his bidding if he uses the charm factor. Our Chesapeake Bay Retriever, Joe, IS adorable. And he's hard to resist when he cocks his head just so, and puts on a big 'smile.' Yet sometimes he forgets we're his owners and not the other way around.
Just a couple days ago, he tried pouring on the charm. I went out to spend a few minutes with both dogs. Our Golden Retriever, Precious, just wanted to cuddle. Joe, on the other hand, was ready to play. I grabbed a tennis ball and headed out to indulge him with a game of fetch. But Joe wanted to make up the rules. Instead of retrieving the ball, Joe caught it and stood looking at me expectantly. The more I coaxed him to bring me the ball, the more determined he was to get me to come get the ball from him. He wasn't interested in playing our usual game of fetch.
Much to Joe's chagrin, I stood up and headed back in the direction of his doghouse. Realizing his opportunity to play was disappearing rapidly, he streaked by me and stood in the middle of the path, tennis ball on the ground in front of him. Stooping down to scratch his head, I gave his ball a final toss. He brought it back in seconds flat. Next time I went out to play, he resembled a boomerang. We both enjoyed an invigorating game of fetch.
Joe's antics are surprisingly familiar. If I'm honest, I have to admit that sometimes I do the same thing - with God. Knowing that I'm His beloved child, sometimes I forget that He's also my Creator, and I expect Him to do my bidding. Although what He expects of me is clearly laid out in His Word, I minimize who He is, and get caught up in a 'buddy' mentality. Since He's my friend, surely He'll do ______(fill in the blank) for me! Or, since He wants what's best for me, He definitely won't allow ________(fill in the blank) to happen! I temporarily forget that God's plan for me is not to make me happy - it's to conform me to the image of His Son (Romans 8:29).
The prophet Isaiah gently reminds me, "For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts," (Isaiah 55:8-9; KJV). As the holy Creator and sustainer of everything, including me, my responsibility is to acknowledge God for who He is, and follow the instruction manual He's so graciously given me.
How could I possibly think I know what's best? Time and time again, when I've tried to bargain with God and do things my way, the results have been disastrous. Acknowledging His authority and submitting to His will for me bring wonderful blessings. The Psalmist, David, writes, "Delight thyself also in the Lord; and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart. Commit thy ways unto the Lord; trust also in him; and he shall bring it to pass," (Psalm 37:4-5). God's desire IS to bless me. My problem is that far too often I think of God's blessings in terms of material things rather than spiritual things.
God's plan for me is to, "...grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, " (2 Peter 3:18a). My prayer today, echoes that of the Apostle Paul for the believers at Colosse, "...that ye (I) might be filled with the knowledge of his will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding; That ye (I) might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God; Strengthened with all might, according to his glorious power, unto all patience and longsuffering with joyfulness; Giving thanks unto the Father..." (Colossians 1:9-12a; words in italics mine).
What about you? Do you try to charm God into doing things your way? Realize His plan is so much better than anything you could come up with - and let Him be in charge!
Prayer: Heavenly Father, forgive me when I minimize You and think I know what's best for me. Help me to remember that my life consists of so much more than things. You are what's most important. I desire to grow in my knowledge of You. Thank You for Your Word. In Jesus' name, Amen.