Friday, July 31, 2015

Pineapple and Cheese

Pineapple and Cheese

For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments; and His commandments are not burdensome. 1 John 5:3 (NASB)

I remember the first time I heard about pineapple and ham topping on pizza. “Yuck!”was my immediate reaction. Pineapple with cheese?

Many years and a move to Georgia later, I attended a potluck dinner at my church. One of the dishes was a pineapple and cheese casserole. I was skeptical, but tried it. Who knew it would be delicious? Apparently someone did.

Pineapple has continued to be a source of surprises. A few years ago, in the midst of a zucchini population explosion, Mom didn't have raisins to put in the zucchini bread, but she did have a can of crushed pineapple. Zucchini and pineapple cake. Surprisingly good.

There are other things that don't sound like they would be good together. Bacon and chocolate. Peanut butter and banana. Pickles and peppermint sticks (for real - do a Google search!)

In the spiritual realm there are combinations that don't seem to go together. Die so you can live. Be poor so you can be rich. Be last so you can be first.

God's will and my will.

Whoa. That can be a tough one. Most Christians give lip service to wanting God's will for their lives, but if push came to shove and a choice had to be made, the lip would start trembling. Most of us have struggled some time in our lives with knowing God's will. It seems like a deep, dark mystery. What's the secret? What are the 10 easy steps?

There's no mystery. No secret. No 10 easy steps. Trust me, I've read countless books, heard numerous sermons, but what it boils down to is by all human interpretations an odd combination. God's will and my will. Can they be one and the same? Can they exist together in harmony?

After many trials and multiple errors, I've become convinced that in the Christian life they MUST be one and the same. Isn't that what it means to pray in Jesus' name? Isn't that the essence of being filled with the Spirit? It sounds so simple. And it is simple. It's just not easy. Each of us must come to the point in our lives where we're able to say, “Whatever you want me to do, Lord, I'm yours. I'll do it. I'll go there. I'll be what you want me to be.” No reservations. No qualifications. No discussions.

That's a scary thing. It's scary to say, “Lord, if you want me to sell our family farm and move to Georgia, I'll do it.” “Lord, if you want me to write a book, I'll do it.” Those were two of my moments of surrender. For everyone it will be different. God might ask you to go into the ministry. Or go to Africa as a missionary. Or stay at that job you hate because there are people there who need the Lord. He might ask you to walk across the street and share Christ with your neighbor. Yikes!

And yet, He asks us to say, “Anything, Lord. Anything.”

But how do we know what God's asking us to do? He speaks to us in many ways. There are two important ways. First, is His Word. The Bible is filled with details about His will for us. Maybe not what job you should have or who you should marry, but it gives us principles for life and it's the first place to look when seeking His will. If you're not obeying His will as it's revealed in the Bible, how can you expect Him to trust you with any additional information?

The second place to start when seeking God's will is prayer. Obvious, right? Don't forget that prayer is a conversation. It's not just the time you lay out your wish list, then go on. Stop. Wait. Meditate on God's Word. Listen for a word of confirmation or direction.

What if I don't like what God is asking of me? Examine your heart. And never say never. Twenty-odd years ago when my brother and his family moved to Georgia, people asked me, “When are you moving to Georgia?” My response was always the same. “Never!”

In 2008, my mom and I moved to Georgia. And you know what? I WANTED to. God works in our hearts if we let Him. If we are willing to be molded and used, at some point our will becomes what He wills. And it is the best place in the world to be.

My will and God's will. They go together quite nicely. Sort of like pineapple and cheese.

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