A lazy person will do what needs to be done. A disciplined person does what ought to be done - the way it ought to be done.
I have often said things like, "The Lord has been good..." or "The Lord was faithful..." regarding various circumstances of life. Perhaps you have said something along those lines as well lifting up one of God's attributes. You may have said, even in response to a question, "God sure has been good lately."
This is probably not a big deal, but we would do well to think such comments through. We might say that the Lord was faithful in getting us from one place to another or for getting us through a particular trial, and it's as if He could be otherwise. Are we also implying then that if we had not made it from one place to another or that if God, as far as we can tell, did not get us through a particular trial that in that situation He was not good - that He was not faithful. We must understand and embrace the fact that God is what He is always and at all times and in all situations. God is good regardless of your situation or circumstances. God is faithful. God is merciful. The list goes on, and none of His attributes or characteristics are on trial.
The problem is that we are such self centered creatures that we have a tendency to see God and often filter Him through the lens of our own personal experience. James 1:1-4 becomes very helpful in this light. We know that when things are good we are to count it all joy, but this passage says that we are to count it all joy when we fall into various trials as well (I'm not quoting). Why would we do this? Often this is the time to question God's goodness. The reason joy is because it is through trials that our faith is tested and patience or endurance is built up in us. Again it is during this time that our nature inclines us to resist what God is doing. We either walk away blaming God for the "bad" that we are experiencing, or we take matters into our own hands. Instead, though, James says not to resist. Rather we are to let patience have her perfect work. Why? That we may be perfect (complete or entire), wanting nothing.
The fact is that God is always good, and the reason not all experiences are pleasant is because God wants us to know what real peace and contentment are like. This comes when we choose to trust God, that His goodness and His Godness (to try to be concise) are constant - when He becomes enough. I'm out of time and so this may seem fragmented, but hopefully this will be a helpful thought nonetheless.
I am currently (still...) reading a biography of Adolf Hitler. I began this book because Hitler's story intrigued me. He was a man that went from absolute poverty to being one of the most powerful men of his time. Now before you jump to any conclusions, I too am of the opinion that Hilter was a wicked and evil man, and I do not throw those words around lightly, but aside from all of the evil surrounding him, his rise to power is remarkable to say the least. Regardless though, of his ability to master the mob he still ended a failure (thankfully). His aspirations were left unfulfilled.
It seems to me that Hitler had at his disposal the resources to accomplish all that he desired. The one thing that thwarted him time and again, however, was his inability to listen to those around him. Constantly his naval command tried to suggest courses of action that he would ignore. History shows that they were right just about every time. Hitler was deceived by his previous successes in diplomacy. He was lifted up by pride and blind to the value of the counsel his military advisers offered.
That is something I feel that the Lord has highlighted for me as I read this book. Hitler was a gifted leader. He had vision, determination, and passion. He was also a man of great intuition. I feel awkward acknowledging these attributes in such a tyrant. I am not praising him. Rather these are merely observations about his ability as a leader. The greatest weakness of a leader, however, can be too much dependence upon his greatest strengths. That was certainly Hitler's weakness. His strengths had lead to great success, but they also lead him to disregard the counsel of others. This lead to even greater failure.
One very important attribute of leadership that Hitler seemed to be lacking is the ability to understand, acknowledge and even embrace the idea that we all have limitations. No leader is capable of having all of the right answers, nor will he/she be able to consider all angles, and all leaders would do well to consider the counsel of others - especially those particularly qualified to counsel in specific areas due to certification or experience. Don't make Hitler's folly your own. His work needed to fail. Our Lord's work needs to go forward.
This song blessed my soul this morning. Never underestimate God's ability to minister in music... So powerful.
I was reading my Bible this morning in Jeremiah about the Babylonians sacking Jerusalem. As I was reading, a thought occurred to me. God used several nations at different times for the purpose of judging His people. All of these nations quite probably were acting, as far as they were concerned, of their own accord, and according to their own agenda. They would have had little regard for God or His plan. It wasn't as if they were trying to serve God - it was probably quite the opposite, if the thought of God crossed their mind at all. They had their minds on land or power or whatever. Yet in reality God was behind the scenes in control the entire time working His plan and His purpose for His people.
Inordinate ego is most clearly manifest by one's regard for others or the lack thereof.
Walk as if you are going to battle, not coming from it.
Do not become just a self self-appointed guardian of the Faith, or a defender of the Faith. It must always be 'defense and propagation.' Let there be this balance, and let there be more propagation than defense. Build up the people, give them a balanced message, preach 'the whole counsel of God' to them.
It ought not to be so, but it has often happened that the student in college has gathered fuel, but lost the fire which is to kindle it. It will be our everlasting disgrace if we bury our flame beneath the fagots which are intended to sustain it. If we degenerate into bookworms it will be to the old serpent's delight, and to our own misery. ~ Charles Haddon Spurgeon
Jesus is not valued at all until He is valued above all.