This weekend, I had a chance to listen to several sermons1,2,3 by Pavel Goia for the Central California Conference's Weekend of Prayer. I was impressed by this segment of his Saturday afternoon service where he discussed that the nursing home that his wife ran consistently received awards as the best of its kind in the state.
The inspectors would ask, "We inspect many facilities in the state, and 99% of them have problems. We have come here year after year, and certification after certification as the best facility in the state. We can never find any problem. Always, everything is ready, prepared in perfect order. We can't understand; how can you always be ready for the inspection?"
His wife responded, "I do not wait until the day of the inspection to prepare. I prepare every day as if it were the day of the inspection." Pavel Goia, 2020 CCC Prayer Conference
This is a marvelous testimony, since I know that based on my personal life right now, I would probably fall into the 99% of facilities that had problems. I'll sometimes need to give someone a lift last-minute to the airport or to the store, and my car is dirty. Someone will unexpectedly drop by my house, and I will have a very messy living room. I do a sloppy job of cleaning my room. Sometimes my devotions are not what they ought to be, my desktop is very cluttered, I have mail that I need to respond to, I buy fresh produce that gets moldy, I'm not always the husband that I ought to be, the grad student I'm supposed to be, and the list goes on and on.
What is the solution? I used to think that it was to have a very detailed calendar and todo list. I thought it was reading a lot of self-help books and being disciplined. But after listening to the remainder of Goia's sermon, he shared a number of texts that made it clear that it was never man's job to get his own life together. As he quoted paragraph after paragraph and text after text, it became clear to me that in order to have a life enviable of living, I need to surrender all of my plans to God daily, and let my life be the simple shining out of God's plan for me moment by moment.
When we take into our hands the management of things with which we have to do, and depend upon our own wisdom for success, we are taking a burden which God has not given us, and are trying to bear it without His aid. We are taking upon ourselves the responsibility that belongs to God, and thus are really putting ourselves in His place. We may well have anxiety and anticipate danger and loss, for it is certain to befall us. But when we really believe that God loves us and means to do us good we shall cease to worry about the future. We shall trust God as a child trusts a loving parent. Then our troubles and torments will disappear, for our will is swallowed up in the will of God.
Thoughts from the Mount of Blessing, p100
Christ in His life on earth made no plans for Himself. He accepted God's plans for Him, and day by day the Father unfolded His plans. So should we depend upon God, that our lives may be the simple outworking of His will. As we commit our ways to Him, He will direct our steps. Too many, in planning for a brilliant future, make an utter failure. Let God plan for you. As a little child, trust to the guidance of Him who will “keep the feet of His saints.” 1 Samuel 2:9. God never leads His children otherwise than they would choose to be led, if they could see the end from the beginning and discern the glory of the purpose which they are fulfilling as co-workers with Him.
Ministry of Healing, p479
The Son can do nothing of Himself, but what He seeth the Father do.” The priests and rabbis were taking the Son of God to task for the very work He had been sent into the world to do. By their sins they had separated themselves from God, and in their pride were moving independently of Him. They felt sufficient in themselves for all things, and realized no need of a higher wisdom to direct their acts. But the Son of God was surrendered to the Father's will, and dependent upon His power. So utterly was Christ emptied of self that He made no plans for Himself. He accepted God's plans for Him, and day by day the Father unfolded His plans. So should we depend upon God, that our lives may be the simple outworking of His will. Desire of Ages, p208
The words of Christ teach that we should regard ourselves as inseparably bound to our Father in heaven. Whatever our position, we are dependent upon God, who holds all destinies in His hands. He has appointed us our work, and has endowed us with faculties and means for that work. So long as we surrender the will to God, and trust in His strength and wisdom, we shall be guided in safe paths, to fulfill our appointed part in His great plan. But the one who depends upon his own wisdom and power is separating himself from God. Instead of working in unison with Christ, he is fulfilling the purpose of the enemy of God and man. Desire of Ages, p209
God will do great things for those who trust in Him. The reason why His professed people have no greater strength is that they trust so much to their own wisdom, and do not give the Lord an opportunity to reveal His power in their behalf. He will help His believing children in every emergency if they will place their entire confidence in Him and faithfully obey Him.
Patriarchs and Prophets, p493
Consecrate yourself to God in the morning; make this your very first work. Let your prayer be, “Take me, O Lord, as wholly Thine. I lay all my plans at Thy feet. Use me today in Thy service. Abide with me, and let all my work be wrought in Thee.” This is a daily matter. Each morning consecrate yourself to God for that day. Surrender all your plans to Him, to be carried out or given up as His providence shall indicate. Thus day by day you may be giving your life into the hands of God, and thus your life will be molded more and more after the life of Christ.
Steps to Christ, p70
Goia continued to explain that those redeemed in Scripture are the ones who learn to hear God's voice in their daily life. "He wakens me morning by morning, wakens my ear to listen like one being instructed." (Isaiah 50:4); "My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me." (John 10:27)
With all of this said, I want to start reorganizing my life so it can stand up to the test of scrutiny. I have tried to take control in the following areas of my life, but I find myself fulfilling Psalm 127:1, "Unless the LORD builds the house, the builders labor in vain." So today, my prayer is that God will make the following areas of my life ready day by day, that anyone could drop in on my life at any time and see it as one that is totally controlled by God:
- My personal spiritual life
- My financial life
- Cleanliness at home, my garage, and my car
- Personal grooming (I need to shave more often)
- My todo list, and things that I have procrastinated for years
- My calendar and time management
- My family life and my relationship with others
May the Lord find each one of us ready at His coming.