REAL POWER: MAXING OUT ON GOD'S LOVE
POWER TO DO HARD
THINGS YOU DONíT WANT TO DO
Near the end of his life, Jesus
prayed outdoors in the Garden of Gethsemane while his disciples
slept. Jesus had great inner turmoil, and the Bible says his soul was
in great travail. He prayed about his options as he was facing the
most painful challenge of his life.
One option was life, and the other
was death by crucifixion. He understood that he was approaching the
point of no return in his mission on planet earth. If he continued on
his present course, he would die by crucifixion. It was still
possible for him to back away from this terrifying experience.
Clearly, he didnít want to die.
Matthew recorded his words, ďMy soul
is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death.Ē Then Jesus prayed,
ďMy Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not
as I will, but as you will.Ē A second time he prayed, ďMy Father, if
it is not possible for this cup to be taken away unless I drink it,
may your will be done.Ē A third time he prayed the same thing.
Jesusí prayer has much to teach us
about the ultimate reality check, especially when everything is
hanging in the balance. The first time Jesus prayed, he asked God
what was possible. In the second prayer, he asked God what was
impossible. The third prayer was a reality check to be one hundred
percent sure he understood the message.
Our prayer life would be better if we
would pray in the same way. We need to ask God what is possible and
bring our life into conformity with his master plan. Then, we need to
ask what is impossible to make sure we are not heading in the wrong
direction. Finally, we need to ask one more time, just to make sure
we understand the message, and we are not fooling ourselves into
believing that our wishful thinking is actually Godís will for our
After Jesus did his ultimate reality
check, he knew beyond all shadow of a doubt that he must walk the
painful path to Mount Calvary. Crucifixion was the only way. When
Jesus died, he paid the ultimate price and proved to the world that
God holds nothing back. God will go to any length to redeem his
creation. His love is eternal and unconditional.
Death isnít a trivial event, and
death by crucifixion is agonizing. Itís not like slipping away in
your sleep at eighty years of age in a retirement home on the Sea of
Jesus could have had a long career
teaching people about Godís love. Instead, he chose to prove Godís
love by dying on the cross. He could have established a school, and
taught his students everything they need to know about spirituality.
Instead, he showed them what it means to live as a child of God. He
could have written books that would propagate his message of love.
Instead, he lived the message of love.
I would have chosen any of these
options before choosing death by crucifixion. I probably would not
have even prayed about such a choice. The path would be so obvious to
me. The way that would seem right and desirable to me wasnít the path
Jesus took after he finished his reality check with God.
Jesus had to know beyond all doubt
that he was not committing suicide and engaging in a self-destructive
delusion. Prayer clarifies vision when itís time for the ultimate
reality check. Jesus clarified his vision using prayer, and he
willingly trod the path of pain once he knew what he had to do.
GODíS MASTER PLAN FOR YOUR LIFE
When you become spiritually mature,
you will no longer attempt to use prayer to get things or to
manipulate God so that He will make your life into what you want it to
be. Instead, prayer becomes your ultimate reality check that
clarifies your vision and introduces you to Godís program for your
God is more than willing to show you
his master plan. When you see and understand his plan, you discover
itís better than anything you could have imagined. It will be good
for you, it will be perfect for the type of person you are, and it
will be acceptable to you. It will be awesome to live a life custom
designed for you by God. Not only that, God will be your navigator to
keep you on the right course, and He will give you the power to make
the trip. The winds of his love will fill your sails and give you the
power to sail on the ocean of your dreams. It doesnít get any better
Stop trying to fool others. Stop
trying to fool yourself. Use prayer as your ultimate reality check
and align yourself with the exciting future that God has planned for
Prayer is my ultimate reality check. I can fool some of the people
some of the time. I can fool myself some of the time. I cannot fool
God. Prayer is the place I go to find out how I am doing. If I am
getting into trouble, I can probably get straightened out in prayer.
If I pull on a long rope that connects a boat to the shore, I donít
pull the shore to the boat. Instead, I pull the boat to shore. That
is the way it is with prayer. When I pull on the rope that connects
me with God, I donít pull God to my way of doing things. I pull
myself to his way of doing things. Prayer is the way I align myself
with Godís program for my life. Prayer doesnít change God. Prayer
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