What Have You Got to Prove?
Unfortunately, my memory isn’t always as sharp as I’d like it to be. And even though I take notes at church I don’t always write down everything I’d like to remember. Such was the case this past week in Sunday School. I’d written down the person’s name for the quote that was shared, but not the quote itself. Not one word of it. Seriously.
<Insert eye roll emoji here>
Jim Elliot was a martyred Christian missionary in Ecuador. As I was searching for the quote I couldn’t remember, I came across one I liked. Therefore, I’ll share it instead. It could be the one I can’t remember for all I know. Ha.
“The will of God is always a bigger thing than we bargain for, but we must believe that whatever it involves, it is good, acceptable and perfect.” ― Jim Elliot
We’ve talked about the will of God before. As I said then, I could write about this every week and every week it would be the same, but different, you know?
Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. I say to myself, “The Lord is my portion; therefore I will wait for him.” Lamentations 3:22-24
In faithful fashion as I was trying to gather my thoughts and praying about what God would have me share this week He directed my path to another blog I follow. I’m so thankful He speaks to me from so many different directions. He used her words and pierced my heart reminding me of the wandering thoughts that filled my mind mere seconds earlier while I was praying for God’s will. My mind had begun to wander into thoughts of a strong desire to prove myself to people. Wow. Which brings me around to the question I’d like to ask you this week. What have you got to prove? Even though my thoughts wandered from praying for God’s will to proving myself, what does one have to do with the other, you ask?
I’m glad you asked! I’ve spent the better part of my life trying to prove people wrong. Or better yet, trying to prove what I think other people think about me, wrong. Which equates to acceptance in some strange way and is why I can easily be pegged as a people pleaser. Although, I do feel like I’ve come a long way in overcoming this, I still struggle with it. Along with this proving issue I have I am also constantly on the journey of seeking God’s will for me. The situation changes daily, but with every situation or decision I face I’m constantly trying to figure out what God’s will is.
Let me ask you another question that was asked of us in Sunday School. How do you look at yourself? Are you a disciple or a deal maker? Where do you fit? Okay, that was three questions. Okay, really four when you add mine. Let’s evaluate these questions and I’ll attempt to show you what I believe each one has to do with the other. And what the will of God and proving myself have to do with each other.
Starting with a look at Mary of Bethany and Judas Iscariot. But first, allow me to go down a little rabbit trail for just a minute. As I was doing a little research on Mary of Bethany I discovered there are actually six different women named Mary who were mentioned in the New Testament. I knew there were more than one, but the discovery of six is new to me. Okay, enter the voice of Mr. Miyagi, “focus Daniel-San.” (we'll revisit this quote again here shortly).
Two very different people with something to prove.
Just by the mention of Mary of Bethany and Judas Iscariot you probably already know where I might be going with this. Mary was most certainly a disciple and Judas a deal maker. Their motives in what they had to prove were vastly different, in my opinion. With that thought I believe one sought God’s will and the other didn’t in their pursuit of having something to prove.
What proving yourself to Jesus might look like
Mary anointed Jesus’ feet with perfume that was worth about a year’s wages. She had eyes only for Jesus. She ignored the complaint of Judas about wasting it and not selling it to give to the poor. She was proving her love for Him. If she’d been trying to prove anything to people she wouldn’t have done such a thing.
What Proving yourself to people might look like
Then there’s Judas. He may not have been in the beginning, but in the end he was in it for the money. If he had eyes only for Jesus, he wouldn’t have been driven to betray Him. He wouldn’t have been driven to prove himself to others.
Even though I was attempting to be funny at the end of my previous rabbit trail with the quote from the Karate Kid, I’d like to share the rest of that quote. “Focus Daniel-San. Always look eye.” Mr. Miyagi was trying to teach Daniel to keep his focus in the right place. What are you focusing on today? Do you have your eyes on proving your love to Jesus or trying to prove yourself to people? Who's eyes are looking into? The eyes of Jesus or the eyes of people? Are you a disciple or a deal maker?
Back to Jim Elliot’s quote. “The will of God is always a bigger thing than we bargain for, but we must believe that whatever it involves, it is good, acceptable and perfect.” We must focus on proving ourselves to Jesus instead of people - on being a disciple instead of deal maker. On seeking His will instead of what other people think. I believe we all are seeking approval. Therefore, we are in hot pursuit of proving ourselves. I would go so far to say that if we’re seeking the approval of Jesus and not people then His will is therefore clear to us. At the very least with our eyes focused on Him we are trusting His plan instead of questioning it. Let me put it one more way. If we’re looking into the eyes of Jesus we’re trusting in His will, His plan and His approval of us. If we are questioning His will then we’re looking into the eyes of people and the result is confusion and mistrust because seeking the approval of people only disappoints. This requires that we believe that no matter what, God is BIGGER. Believing that whatever He has in mind you can count on it to be good. To be acceptable. To be perfect. "Focus," my friend. "Always look eye."
And with this focus, I believe your desire to prove yourself will be spent in a healthy way and the benefit of that is having a clear line of sight to God’s will for you.