Butterfly Nation

Diminishing Returns

Blog – 3-15-19

Most of us are familiar with the tempting of Jesus found in Matthew 4. The Devil first tempts Jesus with the obvious need after 40 days of fasting, his hunger. He dared him to turn the stones into bread. He then tempted Jesus to throw himself off the temple and let the angels catch him. The third temptation was the kingdoms of the world if Jesus would only bow down and worship the Devil.

Jesus knew that he could have any of those things in the blink of an eye, but He also knew that saying yes to them would diminish the will of His Father in his life.
So Jesus quotes scripture, stands firm on all three temptations, and tells the Devil, no, thank you.

When we diminish God in our own lives, when we try to take matters into our own hands, when we grow impatient in the waiting seasons of life, we too diminish God and therefore diminish ourselves.

It’s SO hard to wait, my friend. It’s SO hard to continue trusting when things don’t seem to be moving forward.

I get it. I’ve been there. I’m there in a few areas of my life right now.

But God is whispering to my heart once more that I just need to continue to wait and trust and be obedient. I can’t run ahead of God’s plans for me. I need to trust his gentle, quiet, loving, patient, sacrificial ways, even when it’s hard. Especially when it’s hard.

The Law of Diminishing Returns in the financial world is used to refer to a point at which the level of profits or benefits gained is less than the amount of money or energy invested.

Sometimes our walk as Christians can feel that way, honestly. We feel like we aren’t getting the benefits of the money and energy we have invested into our careers, our marriages, our lives, and our families. Sometimes we wonder, is it worth all this effort? What am I working so hard for? I’m trying to walk in  relentless faith, but what returns am I seeing?

The truth is, what we may view as a diminishing return, God sees as obedience. What we see as a stall, God sees as a season of growth. What we see as hopeless, God sees as the break-through point.

I have felt the sting of the stall, I have shed tears in seasons where my hope is faltering, and I have truly questioned whether God really sees me at times.

But I have learned an important truth, I can’t trust my feelings. My feelings are fickle. My feelings will lie to me every single time.

The minute I choose to diminish God in my life, I choose to diminish myself as well. If I say yes to the temptation to run off and try to fix things on my own, I will lose out on the blessings God has waiting for me, blessings that may be right around the next bend.

As hard as it is when we are in the middle of the stalled seasons of our lives, the best choice is always going to be to resist the temptation to fix things on our own and trust God one more time, like Jesus did.

And if you read the whole story in Matthew 4, you’ll discover that as soon as Jesus said no to the Devil, as soon as he choose God over the temptation, the angels came and ministered to him. Can you imagine what that feast must have tasted like!

Let’s not get caught diminishing God in our lives and thereby living a life of diminishing returns!

Hugs and love,

Jill

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