Yesterday as I was going through old files, my eyes landed on a folder that contained written prophecies that been spoken to me years ago. I opened the file, and read one of the words: “Let it be known that she (Lisa) didn’t settle for less than the best of the Lord!” Oh my, I thought to myself, this has truly been realized!
At the time, over 25 years ago, I could not have possibly known the fullness of what that meant. That is what it’s like with the prophetic—some things are not immediate, some take many years to transpire, or some do not transpire at all (because they may not have been of God). But this word— “the best of the Lord” is one that I can say, with full confidence, has been fulfilled in my life.
I’ve been walking with God long enough to know that God still uses people prophetically, albeit not as accurate as the Old Testament prophets. Sometimes people get the words wrong or misinterpret them. But when they get it right, oh my… it is an amazing experience! It’s when you completely sense that God, the Creator of the entire universe, knows “little ole’ you,” as intimately as His Word says. It is humbling, exciting, and mind-blowing all at once!
So, what is the “best of the Lord” in my life? It seems a bit vague, and could be considered too general to be a “word from God” from those skeptical about the gift of prophecy (1 Cor. 14:1). Whatever – I honestly don’t care what a skeptic might say about this personal word to me. There comes a time when one simply cannot argue with a person who looks for any reason to “excuse away” how God intervenes in people’s lives. All that I can say is that this word impacted my life for good.
God has used this word in my life to show me that there is freedom of choice in our lives. How this works with God’s providence is a mystery, and theologians constantly come up with new arguments as to how they think God’s will works with humanity’s free will. I have read the Calvinist view versus the Arminian thought, and I can’t say I agree with either position fully. I would call myself a “Carminiast,” or some combination of the two theories.
How I understand this prophetic word, “the Best of the Lord,” has become my personal theory on how God gives us choices while orchestrating His will. His plans ultimately prevail, no matter what, but He does give us “wiggle room” during His providence. I think there are about three levels of blessings for the Christian, and these are by no means a formal view. It’s just my simplistic way of understanding how God allows Christians to make choices. Here’s how I see it: there is the best of God, the average or “just okay” of God, and the “meh” of God (not that great).
- The best of the Lord. This is when one does not settle for less than “God’s will be done” in one’s life. This is embracing a life of dying to the self—that innate sense of selfishness we all struggle with, where we want things our way instead of God’s way. The best of the Lord requires a trust that His will is better than yours anyway… so why put up a fight?
My experiences with God have helped me to trust His will. He has been so good to me, and has blessed my life with His best—a happy marriage, two great children, a nice place to live, and my needs being met. Granted, I don’t have a lot of money to spend on vacations, fancy cars, or the latest trends in clothing, but that’s all material stuff. Instead, I have something much better—a peaceful life. Plus, God is faithful to meet me in the quiet times I spend with Him. Folks, it just doesn’t get better than that! I’m blessed with peace because I desire God’s will, not mine.
However, this does not mean it’s been a bed of roses. Following God comes with a cost. For me, the cost was a lesson in humility. I felt the Lord was asking me to lay down my career, and to become a stay-at-home-mom. That was challending for me, since my identity was firmly wrapped around being a career woman. All my life, I had planned on nothing other than a professional career outside of the home. So, to sacrifice a decades-long career, and then to move from the paradise of Santa Barbara, California, to the Midwest (where I didn’t know a soul, or even own a winter coat!) was, to say the least, HARD!
However, twenty years later, I can see the “best of the Lord” has come to pass. But it took time, and patience, and trusting God to weave His will into mine. Now, not only do I have a good family life, but I am serving God by becoming a Christian apologist/teacher. I did not see that one coming, but God did! I must say that learning apologetics has been one of the most satisfying experiences of my life. Click To Tweet Only God could have known that I would actually savor the knowledge of God (theology) by the study of apologetics. Heck, I didn’t even know what apologetics meant years ago, and now I am getting a Master’s degree in it! (I will be graduating from Biola University in December.)
All I can say is that this verse, “Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart,” (Psalm 37:4) is absolutely true! Here is the catch, though: delighting in God makes His will become your will, and He changes your desires to line up with His! Ha hah… jokes on us, folks!
- The average of God. This is a life spent loving God, but not entirely laying one’s will down. I have seen many Christians over the years settle comfortably here. They love God, and are going to heaven someday, but they live their lives primarily with “self” in the driver’s seat of choices. They have not completely learned to die to the self. God loves them, and still blesses them, but they don’t enter a deeper relationship with Him. Therefore, they don’t realize the blessings they are missing because of this “average” choice. They attend church, pray occasionally, and may read the Bible from time-to-time, but that’s about it. They don’t enter the depths of a relationship with God; thus, they never realize the fullness of this blessing. Those who draw near to God receive much in the way of fellowship with Christ.
- Lastly, the “meh” of God. I use this word, “meh,” in a humorous fashion because it describes what one ends up receiving from God. This person believes in Jesus, but that is where it stops. They don’t go to church regularly, and perhaps never crack open their Bible. They just live their own lives, going about making their own choices, and never consider asking God to partner with them in those choices. Perhaps they do this simply because they never read the Bible where it says true disciples of Christ need to “take up their cross,” and follow Him (Matt. 16:24). Many don’t know that this means the self needs to die, and then submit to God’s will. There is grace for a person like this, but it is not God’s “best plans” for this person’s life, to be sure.
What’s the big deal of going your own way versus doing things God’s way? I’ve lived long enough now to see that most people who go their own way don’t end up any happier because of it. In fact, many end up unhappy because their choices did not go well, and end up with heartache after heartache. (If that is you, there is still time to turn your “meh” around to receive the “best” of the Lord. He is a healer, and He is always faithful to receive one who truly seeks after Him.)
Before I decided to let go of my will, and let God’s will be done in my life, I was a terrible a life manager. God has done a much better job than I ever did managing my own life! For example, I would have never picked the kind of man my husband is to marry. I didn’t even know how to pick a healthy, godly man! Every boyfriend I had before coming to the Lord ended up using me, and breaking my heart. When I finally realized that Jesus was the love I’d been looking for (at 25 years of age), all I had to offer Him a messed up, broken life. He took it anyway! Then, God directed me to my husband, and besides following Christ, it’s the best decision I’ve ever made, with His help, of course!
If you lay down your life to His will, you will experience the best of the Lord. A “peace that transcends all understanding” (Phil. 4:7) begins to flow into your soul, and you will find it changes how you view the world. The ordinary can become the extraordinary! Life has new meaning and purpose.
One of the coolest things about dying to self is that you get to partner with God in what He is doing on the earth “as it is in heaven.” (Matt. 6:10.) Then, someday, when your time has come, He will show you all the things you did in His name while on the earth. The ripple effect of how your life choices touched others will be fully realized. That will be an awesome moment for those who laid down their will for His.
Don’t settle for average, or the “meh” of God — be one who grabs hold of the best of the Lord! May God bless you with trusting Him to make better choices than you ever could. Give up your will to His, and I promise you won’t regret it.