Have you ever had a time when you felt like you were failing in every area? Maybe even in your lowest moments you’ve wished you were someone else, that you had the advantages they had by birth. Then you could be a billionaire real estate mogul or a rich and famous musician.
Me too. It’s so easy to get our eyes off what we have and focus on what we don’t have. The end result is pain.
When it comes to our geneologies, it’s not that some things are too painful to talk about. The fact is that it’s healthier to focus on some details and forget about others when it comes to making peace with our origin and destination.
There’s a phrase in the bible that sums this up pretty well. Moses wrote, “Honor your mother and father. Then you will live a long, full life in the land the LORD your God is giving you (Exodus 20:12)”.
I’m going to climb out on a limb and say that there are many people who are not at peace with their past. Or their parents. God knew that we would find blame with our parents and so he recorded these words.
If you were to trace these feelings back to their origin, it all boils down to this. “God, it’s all your fault that I have the parents I have.” If you were to say that, you’re right. However, if you feel shorted because of this fact, your real problem isn’t your parents, your real problem is with God. He’s not wise enough, or loving enough, or kind….
Here’s another trap. When we don’t know what God is really like, it’s easy for us to imagine he’s just like our earthly father. Not true. While your earthly father may have godly attributes, he is not God. The fact that we all have imperfect dad’s is evidence that we all need a perfect heavenly father.
The good news is that we can all have a perfect heavenly Father. In another place, God says, “I lavish unfailing love to a thousand generations. I forgive iniquity, rebellion, and sin” (Exodus 34:7).
Does that mean that you earthly father was perfect and that you should just forgive him for all of his faults in the past. No. Does it mean that you can though if you choose to. (Gulp) Yes! That’s just my opinion. But here’s what I’ve found. When we let others off the hook, we let ourselves off the hook. Life is too short to have hangups keeping us back.
The fact is that our heavenly Father is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in him.
When we start looking to have our needs met by anyone other than God, we look bad and so does God.
For example, when we complain on the job and brag about God at the same time, God isn’t glorified. All they hear is that our God is not big enough to satisfy us.
If you have children, you know what I mean. Does it make you look good when your child has a temper tantrum at the check out line in Walmart?
Some thoughts on being satisfied with God and glorifying him.
Passions. What are they? In the words of Eric Liddel, “God made me fast and when I run I feel his pleasure.” What is it for you? Are you carving out time to do the things you enjoy or ‘grinding it out’ so that you can do what you want sometime in the future. For me, it’s being in the woods. When the pressures of daily living mount, that’s where I head to get alone with God and calm my mind, will and emotions.
Others. Last weekend my son and I went to our first Yankees game. Aaron Judge hit two homers. The next morning I watched a Youtube video to see what his response would be. When asked what he thought about hitting his longest homer of the season, he said, “Not much”. Then he went on to give his team the credit for playing so well. Something magical happens when we give others credit rather than ourselves. In contrast, have you ever been around anyone who blames everyone around them for their lack of success?
Joy. As a parent, you know that when your children are most satisfied with you, you are most satisfied with them. For example, they like a shirt you surprised them with. Or a phone that you bought them. Or a word of advice that you gave them. In contrast, when your children are miserable it makes you miserable….if you let it. As you get older you realize that your children are going to go through times and seasons of discontent. It can only bring YOU down if you let it. I can imagine some of your hearts are aching right now because your relationship with your child. God wants to use this season to strengthen you and grow you if you’ll allow him to. God wants you to reach the point where your joy is found in him, and not relationships, circumstances and income.
Work. Many people I talk to as a pastor want to know what God’s will is for them. Some even wonder what God’s perfect will for their life is. They want to know how they should spend every moment of their existence. As if God is some kind of director and there is a script floating around out there somewhere and they’re supposed to learn it and act in unison moment by moment. If God has one for me, I haven’t figured it out yet. As a pastor, I feel like saying, “If you find out, let me know.” What if we substituted the word work for will? Will seems kind of intangible. To me, work is more tangible. The work that God has for us is laid out perfectly clear in the Great Commission. Like most of the bible. He’s given us the plan and left it up to us to figure out the implementation.
I used to work construction. Every foreman had their own form of leadership and way of doing things. However, at the end of the day, they were all successful in completing their projects. Admittedly, some of the finished products were better than others. However, when everything was said and done, people were able to pull up to the gas pumps we installed and fill their cars.
Your job isn’t to be perfect. Your job is to be the best version of yourself that is possible. However, if you keep blaming your past and your parents for the state you’re in today, you’re not glorifying God. Father’s Day is a reminder to all of us to be thankful for not just our Dad’s but our heavenly Father who makes all things possible.