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forest - Called to Thrive
Apr 21

Fighting God’s Will: Get Out Of The Way

By dougl1kj | Blog , Life

forest - Called to Thrive

Something you’ll probably notice if you walk into The Grace Wellness Center or follow any of our social media pages or blogs, is the emphasis on living an abundant life. As Christians, we are called to not just muddle through our days, but to live abundantly. We are born again in Christ, and are promised that God will provide for our needs and has a specific plan for our lives. So why does it seem that so many Christians are just waltzing through life, and struggling to find peace, joy, and purpose? Why are we not thriving?

Simon Peter was a good man. He was an apostle. He walked with Jesus and learned from Him first hand. Peter was the first to see Christ and the only apostle to have an individual meeting with Jesus following the resurrection. He was “the rock” that Jesus trusted to build the early Church. Yet when we look at Peter’s story throughout the Bible, there is a pattern; a pattern that I believe holds true in the lives of many Christians today. Peter couldn’t get out of the way.

Peter had a habit of being impetuous. He often spoke or acted without putting much thought into what he was doing and saying. He let his human emotions and personal thoughts cloud his perception, and he got in the way of God’s will. A good example of this is his questioning of Jesus in Matthew 16:23. Peter rebukes Christ and resists that the Messiah must suffer. Jesus responds by telling Peter, “you are not setting your mind on the things of God, but on the things of man”. Other examples of Peter’s struggles include drawing his sword in anger when Jesus was arrested, and denying Christ in the courtyard of the high priest to protect himself. These were both actions that were driven by human emotions and personal thoughts and interests, instead of Spiritual wisdom.

If selfish thoughts and human emotions can trip Peter up, then it’s safe to assume Christians today can be stumped by similar thoughts and emotions. Think about your own life for a minute. In what areas of your life are you getting in the way of God’s will? What is preventing you from living an abundant life? What is preventing you from thriving?

Sometimes life is difficult. We all go through different struggles. Selfishly, we ask God, “why?” Here is something to remember. We only have our own understanding; a human understanding. We are ignorant of God’s plan and ways. We often decide to do what is in our own best interest, which is self-promoting. We interfere with God’s will because of our own limited self-perception, and therefore, we find it difficult to find this abundant life that God promises in Christ. So what can we do? Get out of the way.

Easier said than done, right? How do we get out of the way, start living abundantly and really thriving the way God wants us to? I have an idea on that. Prayer is a vital part of connecting with God. Constantly talking to God and seeking Him, we gain discernment and are able to separate our selfish thoughts and emotions, from His will and His plan for our lives. But even in prayer, many Christians allow their insecurities and negative thoughts to get in the way of their connecting with God, worrying about the right time to pray or what words to say. Scripture gives us guidance on this. In Matthew 6:9-13, Jesus teaches the disciples to pray (the Lord’s Prayer), with the focus being on God’s will coming to fruition. “Thy will be done,” is a powerful prayer that Jesus used even in Gethsemane when He set His own desires aside to accept and become God’s plan of salvation for humanity (Luke 22:42). God has given us a guidebook in the Bible, and an example to live by in Christ. Being in the Word consistently is also important for spiritual growth. God provides examples and stories in the Bible that teach us how to live and how to connect with Him. The more we connect with Him, the more we grow to trust Him, and the easier it becomes to get out of the way.

me looking into the sky - called to thrive
Jul 08

Are You A “Man’s Man” Or A “Man Of God”?

By dougl1kj | Blog , Coaching


me looking into the sky - called to thrive

Are you a “Man’s Man” or a “Man of God”?

Many men are concerned about being what is called a “Man’s Man”. This often consists of descriptions such as being tough, good at “picking up” women, unrealistically physically fit, emotionally shut down, and not requiring help from anyone. We see this image of what men are supposed to be everywhere on television, in movies, in advertisements, even from some of our friends and family. How are we supposed to know what it means to be a man when we consistently get so many differentand often conflicting messages about who and what we are supposed to be?

The issue with the image of men described above is that it does not always match up with what the Bible teaches us about God’s design for men. It usually isn’t even what we value about the important men in our own lives! Working with men in counseling I almost always see that the qualities that they value in their male role models contradict what they believe they are supposed to act like themselves. They believe that men are supposed to have these unrealistic character traits as I’ve listed above, however, they value the fact that the men in their lives are caring, compassionate, good listeners, self-sacrificing, and (the big one) PRESENT. Unfortunately it appears to be a growing trend for many men to leave their families, be involved in affairs, pornography, and other idols that cause them and their families to self-destruct. But the good news is that you did not fall too far from God’s grace and mercy! Christ can take you right where you are, and mold you to become a “Man of God”.

There are many ways to look at how the Bible teaches us to be men, but I would like to start at the beginning. How did God originally design us to be men when He created us? The short answer to that question is that He created us in His image.

“Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness” (Genesis 1:26, ESV)

We were made in the image of a perfect Creator and I believe He showed us several characteristics through His creation that can help us to do a better job at being more like Him.

1. Working and creating- God worked during creation making everything. He made us to work and create! Working and creating are essential to what it means to be a man made in the image of God. Sometimes we may get lazy, but that is something we need to fight off. Many times this is the source of much of our conflict in our relationships. We simply are just not working hard enough or may have just given up. We are made to go to bed tired from the day!

2. Resting- God rested on the seventh day not because he was tired but to complete his creation. God created rest so that we can stop and take in His Grace and Mercy. Meditate upon His word and rest in Christ! Some of the time our conflicts are not coming from not working hard enough but from being too busy to rest in the peace that Christ promised us in His Grace. Take some time and focus on the Grace and Mercy of Christ and allow that to renew your mind!

3. Caring- Many times we are shown that a “man’s man” doesn’t care or show that he cares. All throughout the account of Creation in Genesis God shows that He cares about His creation even before He created man! It does not make a man weak to care and sometimes that is all others in our lives want. Sometimes we need to show or tell others that we care about them.

Pray today that God guides you and helps you to become the man that He wants you to be. There is hope for all of us. No matter how far we fall, God and OUR FATHER LOVES TO WORK AND CREATE IN YOU, HIS FAVORITE CREATION!