Struggles of Life
Key Scripture: 1 Corinthians 14:40 Let all things be done decently and in order. (NKJV)
As life unfolds we find ourselves in various roles. Sometimes we are in charge and at other times we serve by following and supporting others who are in charge.
The challenges of life often serve opportunities to differ in theory and practice from those we find in some capacity of leadership which affects us. In government, family, church or social settings, differing opinions arise on various issues we commonly face.
Knowing how to treat these differences will help the Believer to stay true to their convictions while not displeasing God by creating chaos, confusion or unnecessary conflict.
My son was facing a dilemma at one point in his military career when he found a perspective of truth that helped him decide what he should do when at odds with others in his world. He told me that he needed know who represented a King Saul in his life and who his Goliaths were.
He was referring of course to two distinct characters, enemies if you will, in the life and times of David.
Both of these enemies David faced were capable of and committed to killing him and neither of them was shy about their intent.
What was the difference between Goliath and King Saul in David’s life?
Goliath was an enemy of David who held no God given position of authority over David or those whom David sought to free. Goliath was attempting to rule over those whom God had not made him ruler over. Goliath only exercised usurped authority.
David was appalled by the injustice of Goliath’s threats and claims and inspired by God’s Spirit he went forward and killed Goliath.
While King Saul was also a sworn enemy of David, he nonetheless occupied a God recognized position of legitimate authority in David’s life. While David was allowed to keep himself from being killed by the King, he was disallowed by the Spirit of God to kill the King himself.
Even when David had opportunity and received counsel to stretch out his hand and deliver himself from King Saul, David would not.
1 Samuel 24:12 May the LORD judge between you and me. And may the LORD avenge the wrongs you have done to me, but my hand will not touch you. (NIV)
The word of God is filled with stories of people in difficult situations of life who made right decisions and there are those who also made wrong and very costly decisions. Those who were wrong often had one thing in common … They took matters into their own hands and out of the hands of God.
You see there is a distinct difference between a revolution and a rebellion, in principle, in practice and in productivity.
There is a marked difference between King Saul and Goliath; between Moses standing up against Pharaoh in delivering God’s children from Egypt and Korah who led a rebellion against Moses’ leadership in attempts to take the children of Israel back to Egypt.
In both situations people were frustrated and felt as if they were being treated wrongly by others in control. While one man’s frustrations inspired him to lead a revolution, another’s provoked him to rebellion.
We see this difference played out throughout history in many affairs of life. There is a clear difference between the American Revolution and the Civil War. These wars were both fought by people who were tired of following their leaders but were not fought from the same motivation or for the same causes.
Neither following nor leading is easy. They are both fraught with their own burdens and filled their own frustrations. However, once called by God, we Believers owe our duty not to man but to God who rules in the affairs of man.
We must stand above the fray of common temptations to rebel and trust the measures of our life into God’s hands knowing that He can inspire at any moment and break the chains of our slavery by our hand or by another’s.
The key is to know what to do in each moment of life. Who represents your King Saul and who are your Goliaths.
Allow me to lay some simple, yet stable foundation stones of life for us so that we can have firm guidelines to aid us in our hour of decision.
Look with me into the book of Ephesians, Chapter 5. We will be reading from the New International Version.
21 ¶ Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.
First may I say that this is the overriding thought for all relationships. Here we understand that we are to live and work and act in harmony and a spirit of unity, mutually respecting one another. However, God knowing that man may not always agree and yet must move forward in order and unity, He gives continued instruction beyond His overriding hope. He continues:
22 Wives, submit to your husbands as to the Lord.
Notice what we do not read and can not find anywhere in the bible … the commandment for a husband to make his wife submit! Neither does this passage say, “women, submit to men!” That’s not to be found either.
Submission must be given it can never be taken.
Submission is a precious gift one gives when their yield their strength and support to another beyond what they may prefer for themselves.
We are given reason to understand this from God’s perspective …
23 For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Saviour.
24 Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything.
I am not leaving out the man’s proper response to the wife for any reason other than we are discussing the foundation of what to do when we don’t want to do what we may be faced with doing cause someone else told us to do it.
Husbands, if you are faced with having to do what your wife tells you to do or else pay hell for it and you don’t know what to do, then that’s material for another sermon, not this one. But believe me buddy, you need to seek some spiritual help.
Lets continue with Ephesians, Chapter 6. (NIV)
1 ¶ Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right.
2 "Honour your father and mother"—which is the first commandment with a promise—
3 "that it may go well with you and that you may enjoy long life on the earth."
4 Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord.
5 Slaves, obey your earthly masters with respect and fear, and with sincerity of heart, just as you would obey Christ.
6 Obey them not only to win their favour when their eye is on you, but like slaves of Christ, doing the will of God from your heart.
7 Serve wholeheartedly, as if you were serving the Lord, not men,
8 because you know that the Lord will reward everyone for whatever good he does, whether he is slave or free.
It is evident that God has set positions of recognized legitimate authority in our lives and He expects us to follow their rules and guidelines whether legal, moral, spiritual, social, over our work place or in our homes. We should pay our proper respect to God’s divine order of life.
9 And masters, treat your slaves in the same way. Do not threaten them, since you know that he who is both their Master and yours is in heaven, and there is no favouritism with him.
God has full intention and will take His eternal opportunity to deal with those who wrongfully use their God ordained positions of leadership to work their own advantage. Right now, He expects us to follow His word.
So, suffice it to say that God has much to say about how we are to treat those whom He has placed in positions of legitimate authority in our lives.
In order to break rank and go another direction from this foundation there must be clearly understood instructions, direct from the Lord. And believe, me we will not receive that direction from God in the form of simple frustration with our authority’s decisions or perceived lack of their sensitivity or intelligence.
When God inspires someone to depart from His foundational truths in principle and practice, it is a serious matter with serious and necessary results. Only God can be God.
So basically, we must learn to live joyfully within the framework of the simple word of God and, let me give you these simple guidelines.
1. When you know the will of God and you have the authority … you make the decision.
2. When you know the will of God and you do not have the authority … you give counsel.
3. When you do not know the will of God and you do have the authority … you seek counsel.
4. When you do not know the will of God and you do not have the authority … you pray for and support those who do.
We must seek to know the difference between God’s will and our will. What serves God’s purposes and what only serves our own.
Like our key scripture said:
1 Corinthians 14:40 Let all things be done decently and in order.