Fire never dies till it has eaten away the substance of its own heart.”
–Ernest Haycox (The Feudists)
“Look here, you rich people: Weep and groan with anguish because of all the terrible troubles ahead of you. Your wealth is rotting away, and your fine clothes are moth-eaten rags. Your gold and silver are corroded. The very wealth you were counting on will eat away your flesh like fire…”
–James 5:1-3 (NLT)
What Haycox said is so true. If man follows his own way it will sooner or later control him and consume him. Look at the cause of people’s death; it often is the result of their lifestyle. Just a couple of examples: the smoker–lung cancer, the consumer of alchohol–destruction of liver. With that in mind we should come to realize that God is in charge. Ask yourself this one question: what is the secret to your happiness? Hmmmm, I’m sure there were various answers.
One of the biggest cause of problems, anxieties, and depression come from the fact that we often choose roles for which we are not suited. I like what Stephen Brown says, “Almost all frustration and anxiety come from a refusal to be what one is. Frustration and anxiety are the result of playing a part other than the one you’ve been given.”
First of all, man was created to glorify God. Augustine said, “Thou hast created us for Thyself, and our hearts are restless until they find their rest in Thee.” When man realizes and does this “there is a sense of rightness, a sense of rest, a sense of reality that doesn’t come from any other source.” It is important to realize that you cannot glorify God and yourself at the same time. “It is the desire ‘to be’ God rather than to ‘worship’ God that creates an almost unbearable tension in the Christian.” (Brown) Meditate on the words of the Psalmist:
“Whom have I in heaven but You?
And there is none upon earth that I desire besides You.
My flesh and my heart fail;
But God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.”
–Psalm 73:25-26 (NKJV)
Second, it is time to realize that you are not God, and you will never be God. Man will not and has never been autonomous no matter how much he desires to be so. You are not self-made. One of the worst songs from Frank Sinatra is “I Did It My Way”. No! Every life is controlled by a series of various unavoidable events, environments, and heriditary factors. No matter what happens in your life, God is there, whether you are a believer or not. He never relieves Himself of His responsibility.
There is therefore, a choice. You can get angry that you are not in control or you can submit to a sovereign God. We get caught in the thinking of “I have my rights!” No! Everything is God’s. There is a false belief that we have a right to everything good in the world. It is a shock to man to know that God really doesn’t need me, and He doesn’t need you. This hurts our ego for we have a great desire to be needed. Read Ecclesiastes, when we die, nothing is changed. God can run His universe without us.
Ponder these final words from Stephen Brown.
“Because there is a sovereign God, we have only three choices: We can ignore God, we can fight God, or we can submit to God. To ignore Him is foolish, to fight Him is silly, and to submit to Him is exciting.”