Thursday, June 5, 2014

living as an insult or an inspiration

Once upon a time there was a man, a husband, a king. Unfortunately, this man was not a strong leader or a follower of God. Rather, this man proved to be spiritually weak and emotionally childish. Worse yet, this weak-minded man married a domineering, self-centered woman and allowed her to rule over him in their home, their kingdom, their life.

Once upon a time there was a man who did not follow God's original plan for marriage. He was not a loving husband who cared for his wife like Christ loves and cares for His church. Instead, this man's life was spiritually messy. As such, his home was in disarray and his kingdom was corrupt.

His chosen queen was a hard-hearted woman who did not respect his position, nor did she encourage him to live godly. In fact, she was a woman who wanted nothing to do with God. Rather, she wanted everything to be to her liking - to her own way. She craved control, prestige, entitlement and used her push-over husband to live exactly as she wished.

Once upon a time, there was an evil woman who took the bull by the horns and mothered over a flimsy man to get her own way. She made every effort to control every situation, and chose not to submit to her husband as to the Lord. Furthermore, she held no reverence for God or His holiness.

Once upon a time, there was a lazy king and a spoiled queen who ruled a chaotic country and lived exactly as they pleased.

Soooo...

One day, this king noticed a nearby vineyard situated close to his kingdom. It was a beautiful little plot of land. The king impulsively decided he wanted to own the vineyard and began dreaming of all he could develop it into. How nice it would be to plant an herb or vegetable garden there. How lovely it would be to own and enjoy it! With his spoiled sense of entitlement, the king brazenly approached the owner of the land and demanded, "Give me your vineyard since it is close to my palace. I want it and will pay whatever it is worth to you. Let's make this deal happen NOW!"

The owner of the vineyard was a righteous man who graciously refused the king's offer. For this little patch of land was worth much more to him than the king's money. His vineyard was a precious inheritance from his father. It was a place that had been passed down for generations in his family. It wasn't much, but it was, well... home. So respectfully, the vineyard owner declined to sell his land. The selfish king would not get his way.

What do you do when you don't get your way?
How do you act when God clearly says no to something you desperately desire?

Once upon a time, a spoiled king ran home sullen and angry. Furious, moody, and dramatic, he stopped eating and curled up in his bed - mourning over the loss of a small piece of property that could have been so much. Why wouldn't the vineyard owner comply? Why couldn't he just do what the king wanted? Oh, what a horrible, hopeless situation! Life was spinning out of control. Poor, poor king without his vineyard. Forget that you have an entire kingdom at your disposal. Forget that you could probably purchase ten other vineyards tomorrow... vineyards with even better conditions! Even so, they would never be THIS vineyard. So, how can you ever be happy without it, little king? How on earth, can life go on?

Realizing that her meal-ticket (uh, I mean husband) was having an "episode", the queen entered their bedroom. Rolling her eyes at his pitifulness, she asked, "Why aren't you eating, dear? What is wrong NOW?"

The king whined to his wife about losing the vineyard, and how his offer to purchase it was graciously declined. Sure, the owner had an honorable reason to say no. But upon hearing the news, it was clear to the queen that her husband really wanted THAT vineyard... and they were being told no! Her ego took over. Who did this vineyard owner think he was?... denying her husband... denying HER? Suddenly, life could no longer continue without the small plot of land becoming their possession! But clearly her useless spouse was mentally incapable of getting the job done. Men!! So, the queen began to scheme while the king continued to fester and boo hoo.

What do you do when you realize you are not in control of a situation?
How do you act when God is clearly asking you to be humble and pass something up?

The story I am telling you is actually from the archives of King Ahab and Jezebel, his queen. (Read 1 Kings 21.) It is a story of two selfish people so consumed by their own desires that they would conspire to do anything (yes, ANYTHING) to get their way. The outcome of their quest for this vineyard resulted in Jezebel plotting with two lying scoundrels to have Naboth (the vineyard owner) be falsely accused and denounced on capital charges and ultimately executed by stoning. Jezebel and Ahab schemed and murdered Naboth and his sons (keeping with the custom of their day) simply to acquire what... a little land?... a small vineyard? Clearly, property was more important to this king and queen than the value of human life. Once Naboth and his heirs were all dead, Ahab had no trouble (and no conscious) acquiring the real estate for himself.

Of course, God later punished and killed both Ahab and Jezebel for their rebellious acts. Ahab would die in disgrace outside his palace (in Naboth's vineyard no less) where dogs would lick up his blood. Jezebel would be thrown from an upstairs window and eaten by dogs. That said, I bring up this story for you to consider how scripture remembers this self-serving couple. The Bible says, "There was never anyone like Ahab, who sold himself to do evil in the eyes of the LORD, urged on by Jezebel his wife. He behaved in the vilest manner by going after idols." (1 Kings 21:25)

It is easy to assume that we could never become so selfish as to be compared to Ahab and Jezebel. It is an insult just hearing their names, isn't it? But let us never dismiss the possibility that our hearts may indeed become idol-addicted, hard-hearted, scheming. Let us not overlook that we are naturally selfish, lazy, vile beings who desperately need the righteousness of a perfect God in order to maintain humility and live holy.

Soooo, considering your own walk...

What do you do when you don't get your way?
How do you act when God clearly says no to something you desperately desire?
What do you do when you realize you are not in control of a situation?
How do you act when God is clearly asking you to be humble and pass something up?

Ladies, let us not corrupt our lives, and the lives of others, with a bulldozing drive to obtain whatever will feed our selfish (and fickle) lust. Let us not try to control past God's will. For the idols we desire today will hold our dust tomorrow. Possessions will never bring peace. So, let's instead choose to be an inspiration to others for the sake of Christ... living to serve Him alone... promoting LIFE and LOVE always! When our time here has passed and all is said and done, may we not be remembered as selfish, domineering people who have insulted God's kingdom. Rather, may we be known as good and faithful servants who followed Jesus. May we strive to walk holy and pleasing in the eyes of our Lord. May we live and share His inspired grace - always trusting and modeling His way.

Once upon a time, may the King of king's proclaim on our behalf, "Well done, my good and faithful... WELL DONE!"

This is the goal.
Stay the course.

Remember before our God and Father your work produced by faith, your labor prompted by love, and your endurance inspired by hope in our Lord Jesus Christ. (1 Thessalonians 1:3)

THIS IS THE DAY!

Blessings!

~Victoria

© 2014 The Devoted Woman | Victoria Anderson

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