The disciples following Jesus once asked, “What must we do to do the works God requires?” Jesus answered quite simply, “The work of God is this; to believe in the one he has sent.” John 6:28-29
We tend to make pleasing God pretty complicated embracing “shoulds” of all sorts; I should go to church more, I should read my Bible more, I should pray more, I should keep the ten commandments better, I should give more of my money…….on and on the list goes. Jesus says this is the way to please the Father, Believe that Jesus came to offer you grace. Believe that he knows, loves, forgives, empowers and pursues you. If you believe that, then how about taking this challenge? Drop your “shoulds!” I believe your “shoulds” get in the way of you internalizing God’s grace.
The performer has a lot of them – I know, because for years my “shoulds” ruled my life. But telling myself “I should” inflicts guilt and bondage. Experience has taught me I will never live up to all my “shoulds.” So, I’ve begun to drop my “I shoulds.” Instead I’ve adopted, “I want”. For example, instead of saying I should read my Bible more – I tell myself I want to read my Bible more because it is life giving. Or, instead of saying, “I should” call _________. (the name of whoever is waiting, or needing a call from me.) I say, “I want to call them back but my energy level is low tonight. Lord show me the right time to make that phone call.” By consistently changing my “shoulds” to “I want”…….I am finding freedom.
Now granted, sometimes I don’t want to do something because it is something someone has put pressure on me to do. As a child of god I cannot allow others to set God’s vision for my life. I must listen for His voice and allow Him to direct my paths. In those moments, I tell myself – that person is telling me “I should” but I realize “I mustn’t”. God is pleased with me, so it is okay if that person is disappointed in me! I must continually ask myself – “What is most life giving for me?”
At other times I don’t want to do the thing that is the most life giving. In those moments, I have asked the Holy Spirit to align my will with His. But – we’ll get to the Holy Spirit tomorrow. For today – try it. Drop your “shoulds”! Every time you are tempted to say “I should”, change your self talk and say, “I want!” Or ask yourself, “Is this life giving for me?”
Leave a comment and let me know how it works!