2015 – February – Growing Forward – Abandon Ship

Trying to keep your boat afloat?

Most of us make some kind of resolution at the start of a new year. Quite often, those resolutions have to do with our health. We resolve to lose weight. To eat more healthful foods. To work out regularly.

We make resolutions toward our spiritual life as well. We might resolve to pray every day, or to read through the Bible in a year.

Some spiritual resolutions are good. We should, of course, pray frequently and renew our minds through God’s word. But at the same time, we should take care that we don’t make resolutions that focus on “improving” our walk with God. We can fall into the trap of “doing more” in an effort to show God how much we love him and how committed we are to changing our lives for him.

More resolutions. More commitments. More willpower. And still, there’s the frustration of falling short. Perhaps your top resolution this year should be to abandon ship—that is, to forsake everything that has to do with your effort to show God how good you can be while trying to persuade Him to fix up your life.

Imagine that your life is a sinking rowboat compared to the sleek new ocean liner that God wants you aboard. He knows you are in trouble in this leaky little boat of yours out on the sea. He is calling to you, telling you to abandon your rowboat and come aboard his ocean liner. But you’re too busy trying to keep the water out of your leaky little boat so you’ll be presentable. You’re so preoccupied by your own effort that you can’t hear God calling you to abandon ship and climb onboard with Him.

What about you? Has your “boat” drifted from the truth and become a fix-it-up project that you offer to God? Or have you totally abandoned the sinking ship of self-improvement for God’s perfect provision?

Here are some ways to tell. Does your prayer life focus on asking God to “fix up” your life, such as “Lord, please fix my finances, fix my spouse, fix my children, fix my job, fix my church, fix my health, fix my parents, fix my anger, fix my addiction, fix my loneliness, fix my feelings of rejection, fix my feelings of not being good enough”?

Do you focus on getting God to give you power, such as “Lord, give me strength to persevere. Lord, give me power over these addictions. Lord, help me to endure. Lord, give me what I need to keep going forward with you”? Or maybe your prayers focus on getting God to protect you from the storms of life, such as “Lord, change my circumstances. Why have you abandoned me in this storm?”

If you have truly abandoned your self-life ship for the life God offers, your prayers will probably sound more like this: “Lord, thank you that you have a perfect and complete solution for every situation I face. Your power indwells me every moment. You are my perfect strength. Thank you for leading and directing me. I rest in your faithfulness, knowing that no matter what circumstance I face, you are with me and you have all the provision for my needs, ready and waiting to be applied. I trust you completely in all things, and I rest in you.”

There is no neutral ground; you’re either trying to save your life by fixing it up or you’ve abandoned your life for God’s perfect plan and provision. Jesus says in Matthew 10:29, “Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.”

Listen to your self-talk. Listen to your prayers. Are you finding your life or losing it? Are you clinging to a sinking rowboat or enjoying the ride aboard God’s ocean liner?

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