1 Thessalonians 5:16-18, “Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.”
Have you ever tried to change someone or something, but felt you failed miserably? Maybe bringing someone so far along only to have them turn their back and return to where they were? Worse yet, reaching out to a friend or family member to have that hand slapped away?
I’m not sure if changing yourself or someone else is more difficult. Most of us are our own worst enemies when it comes to confronting behavior that should be modified and are pros at self-denial. I know that the more alterations I make to myself I find more that should be addressed, but in the end it comes down to choice. We have to decide that we want to make a change and then of course then follow through and actually do it.
Since I have rededicated my life to Christ several years ago I have been able to make positive changes in many areas of my life. There was one side effect I was not prepared for, a level of happiness that is difficult to explain. When I am walking on God’s path with His Spirit by my side I feel so alive and empowered. If you have experienced this then you know to enjoy it because the enemy is always looking to spoil your peace and joy.
What do we do once we reach this place in our walk with Christ? It doesn’t matter if we are a believer who can cite scripture complete with chapter and verse or one that is so new that you are not sure what the four Gospels are, we need to share with others the good news. It was not long ago that I was afraid to do this till a bible study that included Matthew 28: 18-20 on the “Great Commission.”
“And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Amen.
This is when I began to open up and share more of the gift God has given me in the form of the words in the poems and the commentary I am led to write. The journey so far has been both exciting and humbling as I can not thank Him enough for everything He has given me and I look forward to what He has in store for me around the next corner or over that hilltop in front of me.
As I continue to look for the opportunities to share the message of God’s love and to reach out to those in need, I encounter many interesting conversations. One recent one began as a question. How can I make someone listen to me? The question wasn’t made out of anger or with malicious intent, but more out of a frustrating concern one would have for a friend or family member. I had a very short answer that left them staring at me, “You can’t.” After a long pause and the confused look continued, I expanded on my answer. I explained that no matter what you say and no matter what that person witnesses it is still their choice to change.
Our conversation continued and I found out that the situation was a little deeper that just someone not taking advice. I was told that a friend had finally accepted an invitation to attend church and it was a great service with a powerful message. Afterwards the friend only said it was a nice service, but he wasn’t sure if he was going to attend again. This is where the frustration came to a head and the disagreement began with questions like, “You were sitting next to me, weren’t you listening?” and the old standby, “Don’t you care if you’re going to Heaven?”
As what happens frequently, the friend just walked away. How many of us have been in this situation? It could be a friend or a family member. It could be about God or any number of other issues where you are reaching out trying to help someone. The unfortunate bottom line is that what another person believes or decides to change is their choice. We can not make a person love God or choose what we are suggesting unless they want to. We can plead with them for two hours, but like his friend they could just walk away.
In the end, is it really our fight? In a way you could say yes, but not how you would think. We can be there for them, we can answer their questions, and we can pray for them. Many times we let our concern turn to worry, frustration, and sometimes even anger, but is that how the Lord would want us to act?
Let us start by accepting people where they are as Jesus did. We are taught that no matter what a person has done, He is there for all who asks. That is the key, they must come to Him and ask for forgiveness. This is the message that we should be delivering and not one of judgement and condemnation. I know I am not qualified to pick up the first stone, are you?
One of our greatest weapons is the example that we set for others to see. Our words, our actions, and especially how we interact with others. When we become frustrated or portray a miserable mood, then we are not backing up the words we are speaking. Place it in God’s hands and pray for them. Not just for five seconds, but pray throughout the day.
Many times it is difficult to remain calm and be that shining example we are supposed to be, but we have to keep in mind that we should value people where they are at and not how we want them to be. Join me in prayer for all those who are still searching so they may find His open door. Now please enjoy the latest poem, “My Calm and Peaceful Joy.”
MY CALM AND PEACEFUL JOY
Lord I prayed to you to show me those around me who are in need,
But how can I help someone who does not want to concede?
I have reached down to pick them up to stand upon their feet,
Then they leave without a thank you and return to their defeat.
I know I may not know what they are going through or feel deep inside,
If they would just listen to Your words they would no longer have to hide.
It is frustrating to see them hurt when I know they have a choice,
I am not sure why they don’t hear me and finally be able to rejoice.
I’ve met them where they are at and led where I thought they should be,
I have always tried to be Your example, what else do You want from me?
Child, it is not for you to judge where they are at or feel it is a fight,
Just keep on fanning at their embers and their fire inside may light.
You can not make someone else love Me or force that person to change,
Keep walking with them on their path and do what you can arrange.
Remember that My love never changes and is there for all who ask,
Fore if they finally come to me, then in my glory they will bask.
As you keep on reaching out in faith and they remain within your prayers,
Then you will not only be telling them, but showing a God who cares.
So don’t become disheartened or let others keep you from a life you can enjoy,
You are a better witness when you keep inside My Calm and Peaceful Joy.