Oh, I have tried and failed at this. You and I can’t make people change.
Not our friends, our parents, our spouses, or our children. This can feel scary and overwhelming at times.
We can’t make people have a change of heart. We can’t control their decisions. We can’t “preach” at them enough to change their mind or speak out our disappointment enough or scare them into “right” acting or argue them into a new mindset. The results of these actions damage relationships more than help.
If you are anything like me, those things did not change you for the good either.
Love did. Grace did. Prayer did. God did.
We can’t enforce enough rules, although we all need to see clearly the lines we should not cross (like the Ten Commandments). . . But, only God can change the heart and open spiritual eyes to see.
That we cannot do my friend!
God works in all kinds of wild ways. He uses a mama’s prayers, he uses our circumstances, and he even uses the right guy sitting in my parents house, on Christmas Day, to get the attention of this 17 year old girl. God sent the courage needed to choose a new path, from the one I wondered down.
God knows what it will take my friend. Trust Him, never stop praying, and never under-estimate who and what God will use to get the attention of those He loves.
Think about how God got your attention?
We can pray, not force our way.
“It is not by force nor by strength, but by my Spirit, says the Lord of Heaven’s Armies” (Zechariah 4:6). Believe this. Know this. Pray this.
We can build relationships where people can have a chance to know, like, and trust us. Where we can share God’s Word as it flows out from our lives by living it first and speaking it when necessary.
We can be there for them even when they make mistakes and try to push us away.
We can show love when others rather point fingers.
We can believe the best about them and call out the greatness in them, when others may be tempted to condemn.
We can stay steadfast in our convictions, know His word, and be a constant light by living out the wisdom God gives. They are looking for those who are not easily swayed, those who stay the course with their exposed cracks and brokenness and yet, their faith is vivid, alive, and strong.
“Be on guard. Stand true to what you believe. Be courageous. Be strong. And everything you do must be done in love” (2nd Cor. 16:13).
We can love and listen, when others judge and move on.
We can pray scripture over our lives and theirs, as God’s word does not return void.
We can’t expect perfection as none of us are perfect. Their process will look different to ours and that is ok, and normal and God has got it all under control.
We can show heaps of grace upon grace. For most of us have walked through the stickiness of temptation and the illusion of running from God.
Maybe we have even attended church, received salvation, and still tried to live life on our own terms? Yep, that was me and is me from time to time. We all try it, right?
Life happens no matter what. Thank goodness I come back to not wanting to live out the “what” without a God who IS ever faithful and who IS always reaching out for us in love—molding us for the best, not the worst.
We can forgive much as we have been forgiven of much.
Don’t be discouraged my friend. God will finish what he has begun. “And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns” (Phil. 1:6).
Whether you are praying for family members, friends, loved ones, co-workers, or someone you just met, know that being the light is also being a safe place for people to come to.
There is healing in trustworthy relationships, in sharing our weaknesses so they are exposed in the light and no longer held over our heads in the darkness of condemnation, from the accuser – the enemy.
Be a light, be a safe place, be the open arms of Jesus.
His way of softening the ground of our hearts, of lovingly convicting us, and leading us to surrender is powerful.
Don’t get me wrong, it is not easy to watch others walk their own road, especially those we love deeply. I fall short and you will too. I want to tidy up all the loose ends with a “quick fix” and make things right so I can move on. I am the opposite of God.
He is not bothered by tension, He is not constrained by time, or worried about the future or how long it takes for those he loves to turn to Him. He is God.
God is patient. He is not into quick fixes and easy answers. He wants lasting, life changing results. He’s in this with you and I, and everyone else, for the long haul. Aren’t you glad? He sees eternity.
If he’s not given up on you and I. If He is still working on us, day by day, he’s not giving up on the “others” in our lives either. Be confident of this.
Yes, let’s fight for those God has entrusted to us, but let’s do it God’s way—not our way. Let’s know our lane and stay there until God gives us further instructions. This is hard my friends. This takes a lot of God discipline and asking our Heavenly Father for divine wisdom and restraint. We won’t do it perfectly I promise, but we can do our best with God’s help.
Let’s know the weapons God has given us to use and practice using them! Pray, fast, have faith for what we cannot see, know and repeat the truth of God’s Word-not our circumstances, and stand on God’s promises until the fear lessons, because we’ve stopped feeding the monster.
Let’s choose to step into the rest and peace that God has waiting for us. Let’s realize that our human weapons will NOT conquer spiritual battles. Can I hear a yes, and Amen? They will only leave us defeated and depleted.
If we move forward with God and refuse to settle in the traps the enemy prepares for us, just watch what God will do. “Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and HE WILL FLEE FROM YOU” (James 4:7). Refuse the defaults of overwhelm, an anxious heart, and acting out of fear. We can do this friend!
Battles are not the enemy. If we fight battles God’s way they can prepare us for the very desires of our heart. The things God has called us to do, will give us more freedom and joy than we thought possible.
When we fight God’s way he gives us new territory and new authority spiritually. A new confidence and strength, in Him, in the very places we use to lack and allow our human weaknesses to rule.
The battle we are fighting on the behalf of others, is just as much meant to change us, as it is for God to change them. Let’s do what most are scared to do. Embrace the battle, fight God’s way, and trust His heart–not our own. Are you with me?
Watch fear and overwhelm crumble. Watch joy bust through. Watch peace reign. Watch a new God confidence pour out of you. This is living in freedom my sweet friend.
In It With You friends!
P.S. God has got you and those you love. The battle is His. We are His.