Romans 8:26 | Mark 6:5-6 | Deuteronomy 30:15,20a
Don’t try harder. Trust harder.
Ask yourself this question: “Do I need more of God’s love in my life?”
Of course you do. Who can get enough? The real question is: What is keeping you from it?
Before you start beating yourself up by answering, “Me…I just need to try harder to let go and let God…” take a deep, calming breath. That is not the direction we are trying to take you.
Trying harder may not be the answer–especially when the question is how to let God do more.
And the Holy Spirit helps us in our weakness. For example, we don’t know what God wants us to pray for. But the Holy Spirit prays for us with groanings that cannot be expressed in words.(Romans 8:26 NLT)
The real answer is “Trust harder.” If the Holy Spirit helps us in our weakness, then the thing to do is admit our weakness to the Holy Spirit and ask for help. And if you ask for help, trust that the Holy Spirit actually will show up to do the work–don’t try to take over because you cannot see changes happening right away.
Trust comes from belief. If we are going to trust the Spirit to help us, we have to believe what the scripture says about him. A lack of belief was what kept the people of Nazareth from receiving Jesus’ blessings during his ministry.
And because of their unbelief, he couldn’t do any miracles among them except to place his hands on a few sick people and heal them. And he was amazed at their unbelief.(Mark 6:5-6 NLT)
The Nazarenes could not believe Jesus was more than just the son of Mary and Joseph, the oldest of at least seven siblings. They had only seen him build things from wood. They could not envision him rebuilding a broken spirit.
Did this limit Jesus’ power? No. It limited their ability to receive the benefits of his power. The blessings Jesus had for the Nazarenes were a gift, and as gifts, they required the recipients to accept them.
God, as the Ultimate Loving Father, does not force us to believe. (What would that make us, if he did?) Instead, he gives us a choice: to trust him and receive his blessing, or to do our own thing and suffer the consequences.
“Now listen! Today I am giving you a choice between life and death, between prosperity and disaster. […] You can make this choice by loving the Lord your God, obeying him, and committing yourself firmly to him. This is the key to your life. ”(Deuteronomy 30:15,20a NLT)
Can we limit God? Of course not. But we can limit the benefits of his love in our own lives by choosing not to trust him.
Questions for Group Discussion
- Have you had an experience like the one in Abby’s story of rejected video game advice? Were you the one offering the advice or the one refusing?
- Why do you think God gives us a choice to limit his blessings on our lives?
- Suppose God chose not to give people a choice of how to act or what to believe. What would be different? Would it matter what people did?
- Why might God choose to limit a person’s blessings based on their belief or trust in him?
Challenge: Mentee Fresh
Let’s get limited!
Does the idea of being a mentor excite you? Maybe so, maybe not. But this little stunt will give you an idea of what it feels like to have your positive influence limited. This mentoring experience can also provide insight into your relationship with God, especially as it pertains to his influence in your life.
Here’s what you do:
- Pick an area in which you have some expertise and considerable experience. This could be babysitting, playing a particular video game, solving algebraic equations, or just about anything.
- Find someone to mentor (act as teacher/coach to) in this area of expertise, and offer to help them.*
- Write down your observations directly after each session. Be sure to answer the following questions each time:
- What is your hope for your mentee’s growth progress at this point?
- How willing were they to receive your coaching this time?
- How able were they to put your advice into practice this time?
- What are you learning about accepting help through this experience?
* Don’t be discouraged if your intended mentee (the person you offer to help) is not open to accepting your coaching. You can learn a lot from this too, and you can find someone else to offer mentorship.
- Try not to make your mentorship too formal. You don’t need to make plans to meet at specific times or spell out the mentor/mentee relationship too fully. Casual is easier and better.
- The best approach is to offer help to someone, and look for ways to continue doing so with that person.
- If you do set up something formal (specific times, etc.), it may be helpful to offer your mentorship for a specified period of time, as opposed to an open-ended, ongoing arrangement.