So what went wrong in my life in my 20's and into my 30's? Because something did go wrong. I was messing up my life. Making wrong choices.
Don't ever make the mistake of looking at other Christians, wishing you could be like them: then all would be well. Big mistake. Without exception - NO exceptions. Those other people have struggled and continue to struggle with their own battles, just as you do. They haven't made it to perfection yet. No...not church leaders, not pastors, not Billy Graham. No One. The Lord made each of us unique, and he has a plan for each of our lives, individually. He wants you to be exactly you. Transformed, yes ... but YOU. The one He created.
So what's the problem with us? Why do we continue to mess up? Because we haven't learned the secret. It's the title of an old hymn. Trust and Obey. These are the two ingredients we leave out of our lives all too often, even as Christians.
We take our problems to the Lord, pray about them, and then what do we do? We take them right back and continue to fret and worry about them. Why? Because we don't really trust Him. Does He really get it - our problem? Does He realize this? Has He thought of that? If we really trust Him, we will give Him our cares and truly leave them with Him. Our god is too small only because we place limits on Him by our own lack of faith and trust.
And it's not possible to obey if we don't trust, because we can't even hear the instructions. He will not speak to us if we have no faith and trust. We can't hear His voice. Of course, let's be honest. Many times we don't want to hear His voice because it frequently tells us things that we are not eager to hear.
Many times I have heard this tiny voice telling me something that just makes me groan...isn't there an easier way, Lord? Can't we try something else? I often now recognize His voice because it's often so 'outside the box' and usually addresses some tiny section of my heart that I have held onto, not quite trusting to give it up to Him. So, when He speaks, sometimes it's a dead giveaway (not always), and I occasionally deny that it's really Him...just a throw-away crazy thought of my own, I think ... like I'm in His league?! Then I usually smile, and since He knows anyway, we talk about it. "Lord, maybe there's a better plan? What about this? What about that?" We both know that I'm going to end up doing it His way, and we smile, the Lord and I.
The Lord has a sense of irony and humor. There have been times when some totally unexpected solutions came right out of left field and were highly amusing.
Jesus' own suffering and ultimate death while in this earthly life are the perfect example of trust and obedience. Even our Lord was called upon to trust that this unlikely plan for Him in the flesh was indeed the necessary one. He was called upon to obey, even to the cross. His trust led to obedience to His death on the cross: the means of our salvation - and to His resurrection: the reason for our hope.
He offers us the abundant life if we will follow His example. We must be willing to die to our old god: SELF. We must die to our own will and subject it to His. After all, He is our creator and He has a unique purpose for which He created each of us to specifically fulfill.
Trust and obey, for there is indeed no other way to the abundant life in Jesus Christ.