(By CP Cartoonist Rod Anderson)
So you have an issue do you? Welcome to the human race. What's that? You say you have several issues? OK. Try this. Ask your Creator to overwhelm your issue. And then just watch what happens.
Perhaps your issue is anger, or jealousy, or lust. Or maybe your issue is the biggest one people tend to encounter, namely, unbelief. Just know this - it's not too big for God to handle. He can rush in like a flood and overpower that thing in your life. He really can. Remember, He is God. He can do anything, anytime, anywhere. So what have you got to worry about?
Unfortunately, we tend to assume that our besetting issue is going to remain the dominant feature of our life. That's a lie. It doesn't have to stay that way. Things change. People change. God changes things everyday all over the world. Have you ever been in on one of God's amazing changes? If not, you likely are clueless to what you have been missing.
Who wouldn't be clueless unless the Lord stepped in? Without Him, we are lost at sea without a rudder, and even without a ship. But why float around in confusion when God is more than ready to bring you to a place of wisdom, grace and understanding? You don't have to stay the way you are right now. None of us do. We really can change, from the inside out. That is the sort of thing God does everyday all over this planet. His life-changing power is greater than we can fully comprehend.
You don't have to continue to be a victim of your own addictive choices. You really can be free. But do you want to be? Or would you prefer to be bound to that thing which dominates your mind and your flesh? Isn't it time to talk to God about it? What's that? Oh, you have already talked to Him about it. I see. Well, when did Jesus ever say we wouldn't have some issues which need to be brought to God over and over again? And besides, I wonder if you have ever asked the Lord to overwhelm your issue.
This could be a whole new approach for you as you consider your options. Up until now, it is possible that you have believed the lie that you can never be free of that thing. That lie is what keeps many people in bondage. Whatever your temptation, issue or addiction, Jesus is a million times more powerful than that desire in your life. Do you believe that? When we are feeling overpowered by our wrong desires, it's almost like we don't want to believe it. But it's true.
The real question is this: Will you and I be sane enough by God's grace to reach out for His help and deliverance?
I work closely with a man who had a huge drinking problem into his thirties. It almost killed him. It has now been 32 years since he last had a drink. He is a strong Christian, and a weekly attender of several AA meetings. Jesus is the One who has overwhelmed his issue for the past several decades. It no longer even tempts him, but that is because by God's grace he doesn't place himself in a position to be drawn back to it.
He is now in a "zone" where that former desire no longer has any power over him. Years ago, that desire would drag him around here and there and anywhere he could get a drink. Now he is free. The former issue is no longer controlling him.
Would you like to go 32 years being free of your issue? Would you like to get into "the free zone" so to speak? It can be done. "With God nothing is impossible." (Luke 1:37) When Jesus taught about asking God for something, He taught the principle of perseverance. He said, "Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you shall find; knock and the door will be opened to you." (Matthew 7:7) In other words, don't give up after you start praying and asking the Lord to help you. He often seems to delay His answer until we show Him that we really do believe He wants to answer our prayer according to His will. If we truly believe it, we will keep praying and not give up.
Try asking God. And then seek Him further in prayer. And when you are tempted to stop praying, start knocking with even more prayer and faith and thanksgiving. That kind of attitude and approach always gets God's full attention. Anything less on our part reveals that we don't really believe God will answer us in His perfect timing. The sky's the limit. And even then, God can do things beyond whatever limits we might think are there. We have every reason to keep on praying and not give up.
But it's so easy to talk ourselves into a life where we allow our issue to continue to dominate our existence. The way we talk to ourselves, and the way we talk to God, will lead to either continued bondage, or Spirit-filled freedom. Just because you and I cannot overwhelm our personal issues doesn't mean God can't do it. He is waiting to see if we really believe He has that much power.
And even when our struggles are not taken away from us, God provides His children with the grace to endure. The Lord told the apostle Paul, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." (2 Cor. 12:9) God's grace is overwhelming, whether our particular issued is removed, or allowed to remain.
Any issue related to temptation and sin is one God wants to remove. Anything related to fear or doubt is also something God wants to remove. There are some other issues in life, however, which God allows because they fit with His purposes for the individual. He is the Potter. We are the clay. And as He molds us into His image, He promises to never leave us or forsake us. (see Hebrews 13:5)
If you have not yet asked God to overwhelm your issue, you have no idea how He might choose to respond if you were to show Him that you really believe He can do it. Take a step of faith, and then just watch how God will step in and assist you.
For people who have been given lots of intelligence in many areas of life, we sure can be stubborn when it comes to trying to handle our issues all alone. We were not created to handle life that way. This is why a relationship with God through faith in Jesus Christ is the only path a wise person will take. So are you ready to fulfill the purpose for which God created you? Just tell the Lord what you desire, and then ask Him to change any desires which do not please Him.
If you want to "get your foot in the door" with your Creator, you can only do so through faith in Jesus the Messiah. All other roads will only add heartache to your issues today and forever. The love and power of God can literally overwhelm our issues and replace their oppressive presence with the living water of the Holy Spirit, which results in a beautiful flow of peace, joy and contentment.
Today is the first day of the rest of your life. Why not begin everyday going forward asking God to overwhelm your issue? One day you will wake up and realize that you are in the free zone, and you will give all glory and praise to God. But you will also realize the need to be vigilant, lest you fall back under the spell of your former issue.
Now it's between you and God. You can choose Him, or you can choose to remain enslaved to your issue. If it wasn't for our sinful thoughts and tendencies, this would be an incredibly easy choice. Only the power of God can deliver us from our sinful issues and even from our stubborn reluctance to ask Him to set us free. His grace is available to everyone who comes to the Father through the Son.
So are you ready to finally be free?