Dinnertime at the Martinez house. We had prepared Italian Chicken Pasta Bake. Yummy! Multigrain Penne pasta, lightly seasoned chicken, fresh spinach and diced tomatoes all tossed in creamy alfredo sauce and baked to perfection. Forgive me for sounding like a Lean Cuisine commercial. Lol. Though the description of the dish may be commercial worthy the events that followed were not.
We all sat down to eat and the younger two of my four children looked at it and one said, “I don’t like spinach!” then the other, “I don’t like tomatoes!” Despite the encouragement of both their father and I to eat, they refused. There they sat while the rest of us enjoyed our meal with scowls on their little faces. We decided to allow them to leave the table when we were finished, with the understanding they would not receive anything else the rest of the evening. No dessert, no snack, nothing. They began to cry, they wanted dessert. Though typically these type of tantrums result in some form of punishment (that’s another blog) but I thought they were doing a pretty good job of punishing themselves. This carried on for about 15 minutes when my daughter finally decided her desire for dessert trumped her lack of desire for her dinner. She began to eat her food, spinach and all, suddenly something funny happened. Her eyebrows that had been so drawn raised, and a little grin came upon her tear stained face. Then she said, “mmm, this is good.” I laughed and told her, “see it was good all along you did all that crying for nothing.” Ultimately she and her baby brother cleaned their plates and were able to enjoy a bowl of ice cream.
My first question is how often do we find ourselves in this very position spiritually? Our Father sets something before us, asks us to partake in Him and what He is doing and we grumble, scowl and sadly even throw a tantrum. Complaining about the task set before us. Being completely miserable while we resist Him. Maybe that task is obedience, sacrifice, a call to ministry, even being disciplined in prayer or the reading of God’s word.
My second question is why do we not answer the call? Many times I have found from personal experience, and testimony of several others that the number one answer is fear. With laziness coming close behind at second. We are afraid to do the work He is asking us to do. Afraid of what it might “taste” like. Then I am reminded of what Paul said in Phillipians 2: 13 For it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure. We don’t have to be afraid we just have to be willing to partake with Him. He gives the will to act, and then as we answer and make ourselves available it is amazing how He will do the work in and through us by the power of the Holy Spirit.
How much time have we wasted in miserable resistance? Hungry. Just as the children had at dinner. When all along it was good, nourishment for their bodies and once completed received an even tastier reward.
This is truth for us as believers. If we would simply, “taste and see that the Lord is good.” His plan is to prosper, for His word says, He works all things together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. Romans 8:28. In doing so we would be nourished in our growth as a follower of Jesus, others around us would be encouraged to do the same, propelling the gospel. Then we receive the reward for our obedience, He gives us His joy!
Oswald Chambers once said, “God is the source of your will, therefore you are able to work out His will. Obstinacy is an unintelligent “wadge” that refuses to be enlightened; the only thing is for it to be blown up with dynamite, and the dynamite is obedience to the Holy Spirit.”
“ Do I believe that almighty God is the source of my will? Do you? God not only expects me to do His will, but He is in me to do it.”
Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations forever and ever. Amen! Epesians 3:20
Let us live to make His name famous among the nations!