Figure it out

Jackson works to build his fort

Jackson works to build his fort

Jackson brought a box into the living room, and dumped all of the contents out with the intentions of building a fort that morning. After putting a few pieces together, he started getting frustrated. The angles weren’t just right, and the braces wouldn’t stay without a good bit of effort.

Mom, will you help me do this?

Of course, I would love to help him build his fort! We had worked together on several different designs before. But, I knew he could do this on his own. He had the problem-solving skills to piece it together. He just needed to exercise the patience it would take to complete it.

So, I encouraged my son to figure it out.

That wasn’t what he was expecting me to say. In fact, Jackson was frustrated with me at first. So, I gave him the space he needed to realize building his fortress was worth the work.

God often challenges us in the same way. He invites us to build right by His side. Then, He hands us the hammer, and lets us try on our own. He shows us how, then gives us hands-on opportunities to put His principles into action.

We will probably not get it at first. We may become frustrated, and ask God to bail us out or do it for us. God doesn’t always give us the answer. In some situations, He loves us too much to intervene.

God doesn’t have to give us the shortcut or fix every problem we face. Sometimes He allows us to figure it out. With the Bible as our guide, God wants us to step out in faith and put into practice what we’ve learned. We may make mistakes. We might not have instant success. Things probably won’t turn out exactly like we thought they would. But along the way, we learn lessons about perseverance, humility, gratitude and how great God really is. Through the challenges, we grow.

Jackson decided to keep building. With some trial and error, the pieces came together. He stuck with it. He persevered.

When he was close to finishing, my son called me back into the room to watch. The last piece went into place, and Jackson leaped into the air with his arms outstretched. He did it! He was so excited!! We celebrated his accomplishment together with high fives and hugs. 🙂

He did it!

He did it!

Today, stay close to God and keep going, keep trying. Listen to God in prayer and through His Word, then actively obey. Persevere!

And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation.
– Romans 5:4

Useful

What’s the use? What does it matter?

Every once in a while, we wonder if what we are doing is making a difference. We need encouragement and are receiving none. Or, we grow weary in our pursuit and question our methods and purpose.

Maybe you have been there or are struggling right now.

Let this Scripture answer your questions and propel you forward:

For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with goodness, goodness with knowledge,  knowledge with self-control, self-control with endurance, endurance with godliness,  godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love.  For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they will keep you from being useless or unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.

2 Peter 1:5-8

During a time where results seem nebulous and your footing seems unsure, take the Apostle Peter’s words of wisdom to heart. Swallow this spiritual nutritional supplement and wash it down with a fresh glass of living water.

Focus your energy, not on your uncertainty, but on these seven pursuits:

  1. Goodness: excellence in praise and virtue. Worship God and praise His name for His goodness. Let that worship spill out in virtuous living.
  2. Knowledge: knowing and understanding God. Choose to spend time with God, digging deep in His Word and talking with Him in prayer. Place priority on learning about the character of God.
  3. Self-control: temperance. Say no to what drains your spiritual drive. Pass on time-wasters and distractions from the worship and study of your loving Creator.
  4. Endurance: cheerful, hopeful and patient continuance. Stay true to your calling. Ask God everyday for a cheerful spirit and strength to continue on. Cling to the hope He has promised.
  5. Godliness: holiness. Confess the sin in your life. Pray God would reveal to you where He desires to cleanse and make you new.
  6. Brotherly Affection: love, affection and kindness toward others. Show affection to those God has placed around you. Take the initiative to shower kindness on your family, co-workers and church family members. Look for ways to encourage and extend friendship.
  7. Love: sacrificial and selfless love. Continue to give of yourself, without expectation. Place others needs above your own, demonstrating the love of Christ, who went to the cross willingly to save mankind. Love lavishly, freely and undeservedly.

Notice the promise when we make every effort to increase our faith in these seven ways. If these attributes are ours and are increasing, we will NOT be useless or unfruitful in Christ. God WILL use us and produce fruit in our life.

Claim 2 Peter 1:5-8 when the questions come and discouragement plagues your heart. You matter to God, and His will for your life is to be useful in His fully capable and strong hands. Add to your faith goodness, knowledge, self-control, endurance, godliness, brotherly affection and love. Know that in this pursuit, your life will bear spiritual fruit for God’s glory.