I was never really a rebellious kid, but I didn’t always think before I acted. Like the time we were vacationing on Salt Spring Island and had gone to a small lake to swim and cool off. My family had one pair of flippers that all five kids were taking turns using. When it was my turn I started swimming around, fascinated by how much stronger I could swim with the flippers. I noticed on the far side of the lake, I don’t think it was more than 150-200 yards away, a small floating dock. I thought to myself, “hey, I bet I could swim across this lake.”
My cousins were with us and so with the five of them and five of us there was a lot of splashing and chaos, so it wasn’t a lack of attention on my parents part, but you can imagine my folk’s reaction when they realized I was more than half way to the other side. I certainly didn’t need to imagine what their reaction might be. When they managed to get my attention I was told in no uncertain terms I was to get to the dock and stay there till Dad walked around the lake to get me.
On the walk back Dad justifiably suggested I had used this as a means of extending my turn with the flippers, but I honestly had no intentionally devious motives, I simply had never swum across a lake before and wanted to see if I could do it. However, I had pursued what I wanted without any consideration for anyone else particularly my parents.
That’s a natural inclination for most of us, including the way we relate to God. How often do we set our plans and make our decisions based on our own assessment of what we want to see, or think should happen in our lives. But we need to learn how to acknowledge the sovereignty of God in our lives, even in the small, daily, mundane things.
One of the things that has helped me to live this way more consistently is to honestly examine my motives. Is the particular decision or course of action coming from a desire for self-fulfilment or from a desire for Jesus? But let me caution you, I’ve found I need to be ruthless in assessing my motives. Like swimming across the lake, it’s easy to rationalize and justify, and wrap it all up in noble sounding motives, but really I just wanted to do my own thing.