Welcome to the next episode of Simple Christians podcast, a podcast, hopefully designed to take difficult subjects and put them in more simple terms.
How many times have you told yourself, believe in yourself? Or you can do it and you’ve got this? or how many times have you been given that pep talk by friends, maybe?
Confidence is a good thing. It helps you feel good and helps you feel better about yourself. And giving yourself that pep talk sometimes helps us get things done, doesn’t it?
It lets us know that we can trust ourselves, that we’re in control of our lives: We’re in control of our destiny and our future.
Think about it. We want to believe in ourselves, but I can’t count how many times I’ve lied to myself or tried to deceive myself. A life lived by believing in myself is going to be a life of disappointment, discouragement, fear, and the big one to me, worry.
I have a lot of worry in my life lately. I didn’t even realize that I was worrying so much. There’s been some things going on with my family and I haven’t been sleeping well. I was talking with my pastor and a good Christian friend about it.
And I just mentioned that I hadn’t been sleeping well. Of course you think: “Oh, well, I’m tossing and I’m turning, I just can’t get it right.” or “my back is sore” or whatever it might be.
I started doing a deep dive into Philippians. And I love that book anyway, but I tried to read the entire book of Philippians each day for a week. And I didn’t get the whole book read each day, but I did read it seven times, I think it took about 10 or 12 days.
Philippians isn’t a big book, you can actually read the whole thing and maybe 20-30 minutes, so it doesn’t take long. And I’m talking all four chapters of Philippians. It doesn’t really take long at all.
And if we go to Philippians 4:6-7, it says “Don’t be anxious about anything, but in every situation by prayer and petition”…
Prayer and petition means praying to God and bringing your petitions to God, bring your worries to God. That’s what petition means. It’s like saying: “God, here’s what’s going on with me help me with this.”
with thanksgiving, to be thankful for what God has already given you.
“In every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
Let’s unpack that just a bit more. It says present your requests to God. Now, does it say that God will grant your requests? No. Does it say that God will magically make everything disappear? No, not at all. It says the peace of God will guard your heart.
I’ve talked before about how I have issues with people tailgating me. I was hit from behind once and so I kind of have issues with that. And sometimes I’m not the nicest person when people do tailgate me. So I’m start to give my petition to God: “God, help me with this.”
When I have a tailgater behind me, the best thing that I try now is I hit the cruise control and I flip my mirror up so I can’t see them. And God gives me the peace to not worry about what they’re doing.
Then, a little while later, I’ll put the mirror back down and see how everything’s going and check again.
But I give my petition to God. Does God stop the tailgater? Sometimes he doesn’t, sometimes the person is tailgating just like they were. But sometimes it’s interesting: The person will be tailgating for a while then all of a sudden they back off. And it’s nothing I did, I’ve had the cruise control on so those times I truly believe it’s God telling them “hey back off a little bit.”
And it’s not just in that, it’s in everything that we’ve got. My family issue hasn’t gone away, it’s still there. As a matter of fact, it’s gotten a little bit more complicated, but I have more peace about it now because I know that God’s got it, that he can do it.
God knows everything about us. Everything. He knew everything about us before we were born. I went to church some time ago, and the pastor talked about the creation, that God created this universe.
And since he is outside of this creation, he’s not subject to the laws of this creation. But it’s very possible that where God is, there’s no such thing as gravity.
And it makes sense to me that there’s no such thing as time. God created time, so he’s not subject to the laws of time. So he sees everything in the past, present, and future.
It’s interesting to me because we think we have freewill. And I believe we do have free will. But that doesn’t mean that everything that we’re going to do, hasn’t already been done for him.
He sees it all. And I do find that interesting, because most of my life, like I’ve said before, I was not a Christian. And I wonder how long (to me in time, because God isn’t subject to time) how long God was just saying to me: “Come on, you can’t stop now, you’re almost there. You’ve got it. Don’t worry about this, it’s going to be okay, you’re going to be a Christian. Yeah, you’re going to have a target on your back. And some things are going to be more difficult, but I’m going to be with you even more than I am now.”
I could just imagine him saying that looking back on it. I love hindsight, because it helps me to feel better about the future. When I was 15, I saw almost no future for myself at all. And now at 50, I see a great future, because I know that God’s got my back, that God can do it. And the god believes in me, because I believe in God.
Matthew 10 says, and this to me, tells me a lot about how God thinks about me.
Matthew 10:29-31: Are not two sparrows sold for a penny, yet not one of them will fall to the ground outside your father’s care. And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. So don’t be afraid. You’re worth more than many sparrows.
God knows every hair on our head. I’m not so sure that he cares about each and every hair on our head, but he cares about us so much that he knows that. Because he created each and every one of us.
Some people say, well, no, my parents created me. No, your parents had sex. We actually have no idea how creation happens because, if you’ll If you’ll excuse me for saying this a few times, people have sex, and they can have sex for months or years and never have a baby.
Then all of a sudden, one time, boom, baby! We don’t know why it happens or how it happens, we have no idea whatsoever.
It’s not in our control, it’s kind of like how we believe in ourselves. No, we can’t just believe and suddenly we’re going to have a baby. Even when I had my first child, my wife and I tried for I think three or four months before he was born. The first three months, nothing. Why? We were doing everything right. She wasn’t on birth control, we were trying to conceive, but no baby. Month four, baby.
And I believe he gives us free will, he does give us a limited amount of control in our lives. He gives us the ability to make mistakes because, come on, you learn from mistakes. And sometimes what might seem like the most horrendous mistake of the time, is actually one of the biggest learning opportunities.
I’ve talked before how I lived on the streets when I was a kid, that’s given me an insight that I think a lot of people don’t have. Now, I don’t recommend living on the streets; It’s not fun. But now that I’m an adult, I work with homeless teens as much as I can. It has been a lot more difficult with COVID, of course, but I have a very special affinity with homeless teens to help them see that they can get through it.
And a lot of people see homeless teens as well, they’re drug abusers, they want to be there. No, they’re people that are hurting. And they don’t know how to stop the hurting. And they need help. And sometimes they don’t want the help. And if they don’t want to help, there’s nothing you can do. But they need to know that there are people there ready to help them when they’re ready.
This is not just about homeless teens. This has to do with us talking about how we have belief in ourselves. We’ll think about it. It says knock and the door will be open to you. It doesn’t say that we’re going to open the door on our own power, God is going to open the door. For everyone who asks receives. The one who seeks finds, and the one who knocks the door will be opened.
That doesn’t mean the door is going to be opened all the time. I remember my daughter, when she was younger, she would play her Pokémon game. And a couple times I saw her suddenly jump off the couch, jump to her knees and pray. And I asked her what she was doing. She said, well, I’m praying that I can win this round of Pokémon, this area so that I can get to the next level or something like that.
And, of course I was thinking something like, oh, God’s not really going to answer that prayer. But how do I know that? I’m not in control.
God will decide whether or not he answers that prayer, not me. And he might say, Okay, I’m going to let her win that round. Who knows? But it’s God, that opens the door.
And I think that the more that our requests (back from Philippians, in every situation by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God) are given to God, then we could jump to Matthew (ask and it will be given). The more it’s in line with God’s guidance for our futures, and I do call it guidance because he gives us free will. The more it’s in line with God’s guidance toward our future, the more likely he’s going to open that door.
So when you pray, first, do me a favor, pray for God’s guidance in your life. Pray for God to show you, like a beacon, the path that he wants you to go down. And the more I think we pray that, in all honesty, and fervently, the more he will listen.
Because when we first do it, there’s going to be something in the back of our minds that says, hey, I can do this myself. I’ve got this. But we know that we don’t. So the second time we do it, maybe a little bit less was Okay, maybe God might be able to show me one step or something like that. Then I’ll get the rest of it.
Keep praying, especially if things don’t go your way. Because maybe they’re not going your way, maybe they’re going God’s way. Remember, God’s way doesn’t mean peace and joy, and happiness, and everything’s going to be okay. God’s way may be tough.
It’s more difficult for me to do this podcast than to not do it. There’s a part of me that thinks that what if a potential client hears this podcast and they say, Oh, he’s a Christian, I’m not going to hire him. That happens more and more these days. I’m putting a target on my back just by doing this podcast,
So, it doesn’t mean my life is going to be great by following God and helping other people. But it’s something I believe that God wants me to do. And so I’m taking that step to do it.
What steps can you take to get closer to God’s path in your life, rather than your own?
Hey, thanks for listening to this episode of the simple Christians. Remember to share this out and like it, give me a rating. I really appreciate it. I’d like to know what you think about the podcast. You take care