Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Such a Brat! - Lenten Journey Day 12



When I was a child, I spoke and thought and reasoned like a child.  But when I grew up, I put away childish things.” – 1 Corinthians 13:11

One of my favorite movies of all time is Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory; from the Oompa-Loompa song to the Everlasting Gobstoppers, I’m a huge fan.  Each characters was so endearing to me…except one annoying little girl – Veruca Salt.  Whoa, was a piece of work!  Always demanding 
everything she saw.

She wanted it “NOWWWW DADDDYYYYYY!”  And what did her sugar-daddy father do throughout the story? 

Get it, of course.  He scurries behind her with his checkbook.  The world belongs to little Miss Veruca. 

Even as a child I would shake my head and think “what a brat!”  And she was.  She was intentionally so.  As she pranced around the Factory with her outrageous demands, the story ultimately demonstrates the overindulgent, manipulative, and spoiled don’t get what they want.  They end up rejected – a hefty warning to children of all ages, huh? 

Well what about us adults?

We may not prance around a Chocolate Factory demanding Golden Eggs, but how many times do we pray selfish desires and not God’s will. We see a job, a car, a house, a relationship and we cry out “I want it NOWWWWW DADDY!”  We don’t like waiting.  We don’t like hearing “no” or even “wait”.  We pursue our passions with fervor, and when they’re not indulged we cross our arms and stop our feet.  When circumstances get a little uncomfortable we demand that God show up in the ways that WE desire. 

Those are light-hearted examples, but let’s take it a bit deeper.  Every season is for a reason – our mountaintops are just as necessary as our valleys.  So, when we encounter illness, joblessness, infertility, loss, our response tends to be very similar.  We pout…..we complain…..we whine to Daddy.

“Why Lord, whyyyyyy!?”

But God wants more for us than just immediate gratification and many of us are spiritual “Veruca Salts”.
Many of our messages have infused us with a sense of entitlement.  Rather than being prepared and equipped for spiritual warfare and endurance, we’ve turned the spiritual battlefield into a country club and in the process reduced God’s role in our lives.

Let me speak to the Veruca in all of us right now.

God is not our spiritual vending machine: we don’t insert prayers or noble deeds like coins and hold our hand out for goodies. 

Nor is God our sugar-daddy.

He is the omnipotent, all-powerful, God.  The Alpha and Omega.  The Great “I AM”.  Our Redeemer: the one pulled us from Hell itself and seated us in heavenly places. 

He is the one who owes us nothing, and we owe EVERYTHING.

We are His children, but that doesn’t mean we have to be “childish”.  So, when we don’t get what we want, what should our response be?

In James 1:2, it encourages us, “when troubles come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy.

I know. I know.  You probably want to grab me through this screen -- that’s the last thing you want to hear.  But our faith teaches us that we have an opportunity to exercise joy and patience even in unpleasant and uncomfortable circumstances. 

Why?

Because when we face troubles (those that strengthen our character, not those brought about by our indulgence in temptations or sin) and overcome, our spiritual muscles become stronger.  We become more fit for God’s use.  We come into closer alignment with our purpose – His glory, and not our indulgences. 

When you feel a “woe is me” coming, ask “God, what are You trying to do in these circumstances? How do 
You want to use this for Your glory?”

Then silence the Veruca in yourself and listen.

When you allow the master conductor, God, a chance to tune you as the instruments you were designed to be, you will find the most beautiful melody playing from your life.

Additional Reading: Hebrews 5:11 - 14


Let’s pray: Dear Lord, I know I come to You with so many petitions.  Most of my prayers are to ask YOU for things.  But, right at this moment I want to instead express my gratitude to You for all You have done in my life.  Lord, Your faithfulness has sustained me when I didn’t deserve it. It is by your grace and mercy that I am even allowed to call you “Daddy”. So Daddy help me to listen to you more intently.  Even now, there are circumstances in my life that I don’t like.  Some circumstances hurt me to my very soul, and You know that. It even says in your word in Hebrews 4:15 that you sympathize with me in these moments.  Yet, I will choose to count it all joy when these seasons come. Give me wisdom as I walk through these moments and help me to develop patience and endurance.  Use me Lord, in the ways that You see fit so that I may bring glory to Your name.  In Jesus name, Amen.

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