Path to Miracle: Goes Through Uncomfortable Territory
BY RICK WARREN — JUNE 26, 2014
“Then the LORD spoke his word to Elijah, ‘Go to Zarephath in Sidon and live there. I have commanded a widow there to take care of you.’ So Elijah went to Zarephath.” (1 Kings 17:8-10a NCV)
When you’re scared to death and vulnerable, you don’t know where you’re going, you don’t know how long it’s going to take, and you don’t know what’s going to happen when you get there, what do you do?
You remember that the path to a miracle is always through uncomfortable territory.
The Bible gives an illustration in 1 Kings 17:8-10: “Then the LORD spoke his word to Elijah, ‘Go to Zarephath in Sidon and live there. I have commanded a widow there to take care of you.’ So Elijah went to Zarephath” (NCV).
God told Elijah to walk more than 100 miles during a drought through dangerous territory, where everyone knew who he was, and everyone knew King Ahab had a price on Elijah’s head. When Elijah finally made it to Zarephath, he met a poor widow who was going to feed him, but how could she help defend or protect him from a pagan town full of people who wouldn’t hesitate to kill him?
Miracles don’t happen when things are comfortable. Miracles happen when things are uncomfortable. Elijah didn’t say, “God, there are three things wrong with this plan. One, you’re sending me in the wrong direction. Two, you’re sending me to the wrong location. And three, you’re sending me to the wrong protection.”
Elijah just obeyed.
The path to a miracle is always through uncomfortable territory.
For instance —
When Moses led the Israelites out of slavery to the Promised Land, they had to go through the Red Sea first.
Before David could slay Goliath, he had to walk onto the battlefield.
God told Jehoshaphat to put the choir before the army, and he’d win the victory. How much faith do you think that took?
Miracles never happen in your comfort zone, when everything’s great and convenient. You don’t need a miracle when everything is settled in your life. You only need a miracle when you’re on the edge, when you’re scared to death, when you’re insecure, when you can get hit at any angle.
Are you at a place right now in your life where things are a little uncomfortable — financially, emotionally, relationally, or physically? You’re a little nervous, a little on the edge, a little insecure. Congratulations. You’re on the path to a miracle!
Just like Elijah, God wants you to obey, so you can see his miracle at the end of the road.
Talk It Over
What is God asking you to do that makes you uncomfortable?
What do you want God to do in your life? How have you expressed your anticipation of his miracle in your life?
Who are the people who can encourage you on the uncomfortable road you may be walking right now?
Don’t Let Pride Be Your Guide
by Rick Warren
“Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves.” (Philippians 2:3 NIV)
Every conflict that you go through in a relationship has an element of pride mixed into it. What is the middle letter of the word “pride”? I. What’s the middle letter of the word “crime”? I. What’s the middle letter of the word “sin”? I.
We have an “I” problem! “I” want what “I” want and “I” want it now, and that causes all kinds of problems. In any relationship, never let pride be your guide, because pride is the root of every other sin.
The Bible says in Philippians 2:3 “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves” (NIV). Paul says that there are two conflict-creating kinds of pride. One of them is selfish ambition and the other is vain conceit. Selfish ambition says, “It’s all about me” and vain conceit means, “I’m always right.”
Selfish ambition causes all kinds of problems. James 3:16 says, “Where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice.” When you find confusion at your workplace, your church, your home, in your marriage, and even in the government, you can know that selfish ambition and jealousy are causing it.
Vain conceit is the attitude that you are always right. The Living Bible translation of Philippians 2:3 says, “Don’t live to make a good impression on others.” We do this in every area of our lives, but especially on social media. It’s a great temptation to make yourself look better on the Internet than you are.
In Galatians, Paul lists about 17 effects of living with pride. He says when we live a self-centered life, it shows up in all kinds of ways. He starts off by saying things like self-indulgence shows up in sexual immorality and wild partying and getting drunk. You would expect those things.
But most of the things on the list are actually relational sins. Galatians 5:19-21 says, “When you follow the desires of your sinful nature, the results are very clear … quarreling, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish ambition, dissension, division, envy…. Let me tell you again, as I have before, that anyone living that sort of life will not inherit the Kingdom of God” (NLT).
If you want to be happy in your relationships, you’ve got to have harmony. And if you’re going to have harmony, you’ve got to have humility. Never let pride be your guide.
Talk It Over
How would you describe the basis of your relationships? Are you in the relationship to serve yourself or others?
What are practical ways you can maintain humility in a relationship?
How have you seen pride destroy relationships? What can you do today to help restore those connections?
Cure for Procrastination
The Bible gives us five actions we can take to stop procrastinating.
Stop making excuses — What have you been saying you’re going to do — one of these days? Things will never settle down. You must make a choice to priorities what is important.
Start today — Not next month, next week, or tomorrow. I want you to write down three things you know God wants you to do. Choose one of those three and decide to start today.
Establish a planned schedule — If you fail to plan, you’re planning to fail. You need to designate some specific time slots each week for the things you need to do.
Face your fears — We hate to admit we have fears because we think they are a sign of weakness. But fear is a sign of humanity. Only fools are not afraid.
Focus on what you gain, not the pain — There are very few things in life that are easy. You must push through the frustration and look at the gain beyond the pain.
Don’t ask, “What do I feel like doing?” Instead ask, “What does God want me to do?”
Jesus never said life would be easy. There will be sacrifice and commitment. But there is tremendous reward when we do the things he calls us to do.
The Cost of Procrastination
When you procrastinate you’re saying one of two things to yourself, “It’s easier to avoid this than to face it” and that’s wrong. The other one is “It will be easier to handle this tomorrow (or later)” and that’s wrong too.
The Bible tells us that there is a cost to procrastination.
Procrastination causes problems — Procrastination takes a problem and makes it a crisis. The longer you wait to start, the harder it is to begin.
Procrastination wastes opportunities - “If you won’t plow in the cold, you won’t eat at harvest.” (Proverbs 20:4 LB) When opportunity knocks, open the door! Take the advantage while you’ve got it. If you don’t, you’ll miss it.
Procrastination hurts people — Laziness prevents us from being loving. Love requires commitment, energy, and work. A lot of people just don’t want to work at being loving; it’s easier to be lazy. Many marriages break up because one spouse — perhaps both spouses - are unwilling to make the effort necessary to save the marriage.
Prayerfully consider the price you may be paying for procrastination.
Why Do I Procrastinate?
The Bible says you procrastinate for one of five reasons.
Indecision. “A double minded man is unstable in all he does.” (James 1:8 LB) Indecision causes you to postpone buying a car, choosing a college, getting married, buying new clothes, changing a job.
Perfectionism. “If you wait for perfect conditions, you’ll never get anything done!” (Ecclesiastes 11:4 LB) If you wait for things to be perfect, you’re going to wait a long time.
Fear. “The fear of man is a trap.” (Proverbs 29:25 LB) Have you been postponing going to the dentist? Or getting into marriage counseling? Ask yourself, “What am I afraid of?”
Anger. “A lazy person is as bad as someone who is destructive.” (Proverbs 18:9 GNT) Procrastination is passive resistance. I don’t want to do it because I don’t like you telling me to do what I have to do. Anger causes us to put things off.
Laziness. “Lazy people want much but get little, while the diligent are prospering.” (Proverbs 13:4 LB) One of the most popular words in America is “easy.” If it’s easy, we like it. If it’s hard, we don’t like it.
The next time you find yourself procrastinating, stop and ask yourself why. Then ask God to help you overcome it so you can move forward and do what you need to do.