being pointed

Do you ever get those moments when you are aware that you are not in complete control of your life? I am not talking about those times when you feel that your life is out of control. Rather I mean those moments when you realise that God has been at work behind the scenes gently prompting, preparing, encouraging, nudging, enabling and whispering to get you to be in the right place at the right time to say the right thing to the right person.

In the past few days I have had quite a few of those moments. Occasions when I have dropped in on someone at ‘just the right time’. Or when I have been somewhere and someone I have wanted to talk with just ‘happened’ to come in. Or when I have suddenly found unexpected space in my diary at just the time when someone else needed me. Or even when I have ‘unwittingly’ preached a sermon or written some bloggerel here and it’s just what someone needed from God.

Do you ever have those moments?

Reflecting on them now I wondered whether it is fair of God to do that. He could appear to be like a puppeteer pulling the strings behind the scenes while I am the unwitting puppet who finds himself subject to the whims of the puppeteer. I am not in control because he is. That could be a scary thought.

But that’s what I have signed up for. When I said ‘yes’ to following Jesus it was not only a change of allegiance it was an act of surrender. I said, in effect, that I was giving back control of my life to the One who knows best. I want him to use me to serve and bless others in the same way that he has blessed me through others. Rather than feeling that I am not in control I rejoice that He is.

Some of you regular bloggists may be thinking back a few days to when I said that God is not in control, he is in charge. “Aha,” you say, “you’re contradicting yourself!”

Old Mittens

Well, erm, no. I was talking about God being in charge of his world but not in control (see here if you want to know what I wrote). However there are people who have given him back the control he deserves. Not in abject surrender, or having given up, but because we recognise that to live a life in opposition to the One who is in charge is as pointless as a losing entry in the Eurovision Song Contest* or a hand in a mitten.

When I have surrendered to God (and it’s something that we need to do constantly, not a one-off event) I find he points me in the direction where I can be a blessing to others more easily than when I am assuming control. It’s a wonderful feeling when it happens because you realise that it’s not about you, it’s about Him. You understand that while life can seem a series of random events there is a Designer who wants to be involved in life if we will let him. He won’t force himself on anyone, but he will readily respond to any invitations.

Be blessed, be a blessing

 

*’nul points’

**you can’t point easily wearing mittens

fruitful gifts

Dear bloggists

I hope that you did not feel too short-changed by yesterday’s bloggage. I could not resist being a bit cheeky and hope that it might have at least caused the corners of your mouth to curve upwards slightly. Today I am getting a bit more serious…

"I want yours!"
“I want yours!”

A while ago I wrote a poem about prayer-envy (it’s the prayer pome if you scroll down on that page). I could have written a similar one about preaching envy, pastoring envy, memory envy and so on… There are so many people whose gifts as Ministers are so much better than mine. I am not saying this out of false humility (my family will tell you that!). I am not saying this because I actually have the envy I have hinted at above. And I am not saying this because I am have issues around self-esteem. I am saying it because it is true: there are many Ministers who are better at these things than I am.

But while I may not be as good as them, God has still called me, equipped me and wants me to get on with being the best I can be as his Spirit encourages, trains, supports, inspires and transforms me. He has given me the array of gifts he has given me in order to fulfil the task to which he has called me: and he wants to help me to make the most of them. He wants me to learn, to grow, to improve, to emulate what I see of Jesus in others and his Spirit is at work in me to help that happen.

And that’s where the rubber hits the road. I should not try to be the other Ministers, I should not try to do things in the same way that they do them. But if I see something Christ-like in them I should ask for God’s help to be like that. It’s not about emulating behaviour, but about character-transformation.

Sometimes it seems to me that we make an unnatural division between spiritual fruit and spiritual gifts. God gives all of us gifts and talents. But believe it or not we can use them in ways that are ungodly – in ways that are unlike Jesus. He wants us to use them lovingly, joyfully, peacefully, patiently, kindly, revealing his goodness, faithfully, gently and with godly self-control. God’s spiritual gifts and fruit are intrinsically linked. If I can do that more and more I will be happy, content and relaxed.

Be blessed, be a blessing.