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The Doctrine of Self Help

So, you prayed and prayed, went to church, and tried that super spiritual Christian stuff, but your situation did not change. Your spouse is still cheating, your children are still rebellious, people on your job are causing conflict, and the doctor just detected a mass on your lungs. Church is not working.

Then, you decide to follow your husband around town, monitor the cell phone bills, and search his briefcase. You confront him with the travel itinerary you found and the romantic cards that are not from you. He lies and continues to cheat. Your kids have been on punishment for 2 months now, however, they continue to steal the car, curse you out, and withdraw money from your bank account. This is the third job God has blessed you with, but it seems everywhere you go, your co-workers harass you, so you quit. To cope with stress, you subjected your body to years of abuse by smoking 2 packs of cigarettes a day, now you are praying that alternative medicine has the answers that God did not.

God is at work even when it seems that He is not there/close/listening. Learning to wait on God to do whatever He has purposed for our lives is a discipline that is underdeveloped in the lives of many Christians. We want/need answers right away and when we do not get them when we demand, we conclude that church does not work, God does not care, or waste time trying to figure out the formula to make God move when we want Him to move. John 15:5 (NLT) says, “Those who remain in me, and I in them, will produce much fruit. For apart from me you can do nothing.” There is nothing we can do that will alter what God has predestined for our lives no matter how many mistakes/choices/paths we opt to take.

“Waiting on God is not laziness or indifference. Waiting means I am ready to obey His command. Waiting on Him means I have so ordered the command center of my life that nothing will conflict with the will of God when He speaks or directs. Waiting means the Christian is alert, listening, dressed, and ready to obey His Master. We wait while God works” (Wil Pounds, “Waiting on the Lord”). Allowing God to work on His time and on His terms will not always look the way or turn out the way we expect either. Because, “no one's ever seen or heard anything like this, never so much as imagined anything quite like it—what God has arranged for those who love him. But you've seen and heard it because God by his Spirit has brought it all out into the open before you” (I Corinthians 2:9-10 MSG).

While we are patiently waiting for Him, He is busy working within us preparing us for whatever He has for us. During this time of preparation, we need to adjust our attitudes, thinking, and behavior to the truth we know concerning Him and His relationship with us. This is the time we are busy putting our lives in order ensuring that we are in a right relationship with Him. By waiting on God, we show our love, trust, and dependence upon Him.

“GOD is looking for obedience and submission today--which goes against the grain of the philosophy of society which is we want the quickest doctor, the most expedient car mechanic, the fastest fast food, etc...” (Pastor Jim Payne, “Waiting on the Lord: The Virtue of Patience”). When we try to work things out our way it never brings us lasting peace or joy. The only thing we can do to help ourselves is to pray and not worry. So, just stand back, prepared to trust Him completely, and watch His marvelous works unfold in your life.

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