We all do it, to some degree or another, at some time or another, we all take a message we have been given and try to manage it instead of just receive it.
When we were kids we spent one month each summer camping. Oh what fun we always had. The memories of spending time out exploring and adventuring with my six best friends are memories I deeply treasure.
As a silly and fun task for us when we would arrive at the campground and while mom and dad were setting up the campsite, they would send us out to look for the perfect spanking stick. What a time that was, each sibling out in the woods searching high and low for a stick that would be used when the others misbehaved. Some looked for one that would sting, others searching for one that would look intimidating and yet others looked for a stick that would be sure not to hurt should the one who chose it receive a swat.
With the hunt complete we returned to the campsite and presented our findings to our parents. Dad would pick the one he deemed most worthy and would hang it from a tree nearby. Now please understand, this whole thing was all for fun and we all knew it. In fact throughout all the years
He never had to use the instrument, not once. You see, the message my dad had given us was simply to remind us that the expectations we had at home did not go away because we found ourselves in a new situation, because we were out in the woods.
In the same way, we as believers must remember that whatever the situation, and wherever we find ourselves we have a responsibility to live rightly, to reflect Christ.
The lesson this stick exercise taught us was a lesson that changed throughout the years. In the beginning the focus was on self and what would be the least likely to hurt me. Then as I got older and became less selfish it became about the others and what would be least likely to hurt them should they receive a spanking. And as I matured the understanding of my parent’s message became clearer and I realized that as long as my purpose was to enjoy, love, help, contribute, and give to the family as a unit, the whole experience would be much more enjoyable.
How similar to the Christian walk is this! It is interesting to reflect on the parallels.
Paul writes in his letter to the Philippians. ” Whatever happens, conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ. Philippians 1:27a”
In other words, be a reflection of the greatest love; and that let that love be a reflection of Christ in us.
How are you receiving the message that God is sending you, are you resting in His promises and listening to His word? Or are you manipulating the message to make it say what you want to hear?