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Use What You've Been Given

All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.

2 Timothy 3:16-17
Use What You've Been Given Book Cover

When was the last time you wanted to bake something and realized you didn’t have all the ingredients in your pantry? You pulled out the recipe and turned on your favorite podcast to listen to while you work. You grabbed the sugar and butter, then realized you were out of eggs. What a disappointment. It was either time to get creative or time to go to the store.

As we grow to be more like Jesus, we are equipped with everything we need.

There’s no need to go looking. In fact, the Bible lists out specific things that we have as tools. Second Timothy 3 reminds us that the Bible itself is one of the most important tools we have in our hands. Not only do we have the story of God written out in front of us, we have answers to questions like: Who am I? What is my purpose here? How does this all end?

In Ephesians 6, we also read about the armor God tells us to put on: the belt of truth, the breastplate of righteousness, shoes filled with the readiness to spread the gospel, the shield of faith, helmet of salvation and sword of the Spirit. The enemy would love to do everything in his power to distract you, discourage you, and trick you, but God already has a plan for that. “Take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm” (Ephesians 6:13). The question is not if you will face battles, but when. And you’ve got what you need for the fight.

We can try and rely on our flesh to get us through, but our flesh is weak. We want to control the outcomes by doing everything ourselves, when in reality it’s just a fake sense of control. When this world was created by God and for God, why would we not let him lead us through it? We long for unity with him and yet we pick up our own bootstraps and tell him, “I’ll do it myself.” Who does that serve other than the god we’ve made ourselves out to be?

We were created to reflect God’s image and bear fruit that speaks of who God is. When we use the tools he’s already given us and lean on the Holy Spirit to guide us, Scripture tells us we bear fruit that looks like love, joy, peace patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, and self-control (Galatians 5:22–23). Aren’t those words you want others to use to describe you?


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Daily Question

When was the last time you found yourself working hard on something without asking God for help or looking to him for guidance? What could have been different about it if you had?

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Comments (9)

I had a few times in my life where I have done things without God’s advice or guidance and it turned out to be a huge mess. So I have learned to always go before God and pray about things before I do them. It has saved me a few times from much heartache.

I struggle with living in the present moment so I frequently am planning out weeks, months, years ahead of me. It’s fun to dream but I can get too stressed trying to figure out all the puzzle pieces too far out, rather than turning it over to God and trusting in his provision and goodness to get me through. I’ve been working on dreaming and sharing those dreams with God, but then turning over the path to him rather than carving it out myself. Very recently, when I’m in the pit of worry and planning I’ve been trying to stop and just answer questions for the day I am in only. It’s control. It’s security. God promises he gave me all the tools I need to get through. I pray I continue to let go and listen to God than to keep doing it myself.

I’ve done this more than I like to admit, and it never turns out well. I could’ve saved myself a lot of stress and sleepless nights if I had just asked God for help and guidance.

I’ve done this often, but one big one was many years ago, getting a credit card without telling my husband until I already got and used it. This one act led to financial issues in our marriage for quite some time.
There are so many things wrong about what I did and have repented, but the lesson stays with me for sure! Thank the Lord for His mercy and grace!

I tend to do this frequently – much more often than not. If I had looked to God for guidance and asked Him for help, I would have been more gentle with my people, and our relationships wouldn’t have to withstand as much.

Too often, ergo, too many examples. Peace is the thing that stands out. If I weren’t striving, I would have gotten the thing done and been at peace (or I wouldn’t have and still been at peace) Either way I would have been walking WITH God and felt closeness to Him.

That line about having everything I need to do what He’s called me to is so comforting. It undercuts the lie the devil constantly tells me, that I don’t have enough to do it (anything/ this walk) right or that I’m not enough, etc. The “not enough” is what tends to prompt the striving.

Too often I try to flesh it out. The words from Day 2, "We long for unity with him and yet we pick up our own bootstraps and tell him, “I’ll do it myself.” Who does that serve other than the god we’ve made ourselves out to be?" were so convicting to me. I’ve been listening to Kyle Idleman’s "God’s at War" audio book and recognized I have an idolatry problem which has crept into my life. God – Thank You for reinforcing the message I heard in the audio book with the words of this study. Thank You for Your Holy Spirit which convicted me of the fact that I have put other gods before You. I am sorry and I repent. Help me to change each day to look to You first and ask for Your help and guidance and to listen. You desire to help but You gave me free will. Today I re-choose You to be the center of my life. Guide me on who You would have me serve to show that person who You are, how much You sacrificed for me so we can be together forever. Amen.

Just last night I was working on planning out my business strategy for the next 3 months… I didn’t ask Him for guidance. I got distracted and didn’t even get anything on paper…Lord, open my heart, ears and eyes to receive the guidance in Your plan…not my plan. I give it to you. Obviously my flesh is week…I need You to help me focus and take action.

When I was pregnant with my first baby a couple years ago I became obsessed with my plan for how things were supposed to go. I was constantly planning and harassing my husband about getting things done faster. Not one thing went according to my plan. I truly have never experienced so much opposition in my path. Especially once things started going wrong I tried to talk with God and ask for help but I felt really disconnected from Him. I think that was because I was holding onto my plans so tightly, more tightly than God. I was asking God to please help my plan work instead of asking for His plan. Eventually, although looking back I was amazingly stubborn, I began to submit myself and my plans to God. It was in this time when I felt totally defeated that I reconnected with God in a way I hadn’t since I was saved. It completely has changed my outlook on who God is and who I am and what my purpose is in the most beautiful way. Its hard to say what would have gone differently if I had asked God in the beginning. I imagine things would have been much smoother and more joyful, but I also know that God did not waste a single moment of my pain and has brought me so much nearer or Him through this. Its hard for me to imagine it happening a different way. I don’t know how I would have been a person who submits my plans to God without that experience.

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