Since Jesus went through everything you’re going through and more, learn to think like him. Think of your sufferings as a weaning from that old sinful habit of always expecting to get your own way. Then you’ll be able to live out your days free to pursue what God wants instead of being tyrannized by what you want. 1 Peter 4:1-2, MSG*
I’m not suffering right now, and I’m glad of it. But I’m also glad God is working to free me from being tyrannized by self: my will, my opinions, my perspective.
Self-focus comes naturally and we can spend our lives encouraging it, but really it’s a prison. And the jailer, self, gets harsher over time.
There’s a reason God asks us to trust Him wholeheartedly and not rely on our own limited, darkened perceptions. His way is life everlasting and we miss it by keeping to our rigid, self-imposed choices.
“Free to pursue what God wants instead of … what you want.” At first glance this looks backward. Aren’t I free when I don’t have anyone telling me what to do, when I can do my own thing?
Maybe, but… life has shown me I’m not a kind taskmaster to myself. And relationship with God has shown me that I can trust Him.
“Free to pursue what God wants….” Well, what does the Bible say He wants? Cruel dominion over all people, wars, suffering?
What did Jesus say?
God’s Spirit is on me;
he’s chosen me to preach the Message of good news to the poor,
Sent me to announce pardon to prisoners and
recovery of sight to the blind,
To set the burdened and battered free,
to announce, “This is God’s year to act!”
Luke 4:18-19, MSG*
He came to save us from our brokenness and to reconcile us with God. He asks us to receive what He gives and to pass it on.
Sounds more liberating than fighting with the universe to get my own way. Especially when my own way, like too much chocolate, is not a good thing.