To Twist One’s Arm?

How do you feel when you realise you were manipulated into agreeing to do something or complying with someone?  You just couldn’t say no, so you didn’t and went with the flow… You then realise you were the pawn in someone’s game… It’s happened to me, and I used to be ‘terrible’ in saying NO when I had to say no as I would think it’s disrespectful or not loving. (Thank God for Ps Kathy Klassen at First Alliance Church back in Toronto – who made me read the book on Boundaries).

How often have we twisted someone’s arm to get what we want?  Hmmm that question caught me off guard..  Should do some soul searching.. I’m sure as humans we all would have done this at some point or the other.  It may not have been something that causes inconvenience to the other person or people, but nonetheless I’m sure we all have done it.

I have to admit, I’m not surprised when “Christians” do so to the extent of abuse or for selfish outcome not even just inconveniencing the others but really putting them out on stuff.  Why am I not surprised?  Because so many Christians attempt to twist God’s arm!  If they can try to do that with God, how much more will they do that with each other?

Are you asking how on earth people can try to twist God’s arm?  Well.. our prayers.. our fasting..

I recall recently I was telling someone I was off to fast for the day, and she asked me are you trying to earn brownie points with God – is that why you are fasting? I laughed..  and explained why I fast/

Sadly many people fast and pray to get their way..   Well, some don’t even fast to do that!  I can’t help laugh at people dictating terms to God in their prayers..  “Prayer works” – what does it “WORK” for?

On the one side, we are saying, “O Supreme God, Almighty, Marvellous, Sovereign, Omnipresent, Redeemer…” etc.  On the other hand we tell God what we want done… Are our praises to Him done to twist His arm? Well doesn’t that what it looks like when soon after we praise Him, when we present our petitions (our needs) to Him with details as to how He SHOULD do it?  Why do we pray?  If we didn’t ask Him, wouldn’t He know our needs?  Do we tell Him what we want done, because if we didn’t tell Him how HE SHOULD come through for us, He wouldn’t know how to?

Do we even understand the concept of prayer?  Why does it ‘work’?  Do we talk to each other, communicate with each other for it to ‘work’?

Doesn’t the phrase “our prayers work” sound more like,” ya God doesn’t know what to do, so we tell Him and it works.. we gotta twist His arm and it works”??

I saw this on FB yesterday and thought it was wonderfully and aptly worded:

I don’t direct God ~ He directs me……….. that’s how we rest in God – Laurie Roars.

Prayer is about two way communication with God.  We praise Him, we worship Him, we present our petitions to Him pouring out our hears with all the feelings (anger, fear, joy, desires) and we intercede for others… We approach Him with humility accepting that our wisdom doesn’t suffice and without Him we can do nothing…

We recognise the fact that even Solomon who was the wisest on earth was led astray by his decision to have all his foreign wives and concubines.  We recognise the fact that although Samson’s parents were well aware that their son would be the one to seek deliverance for the Israelites from the Philistines, they didn’t realise that God was allowing Samson to get married to one of them as a means to get to them.  God’s ways are higher than our ways.. He turns things around.

Jesus poured out His heart of fear and anxiety as to the sufferings that lay ahead of Him..to the point that an angel had to come and strengthen Him.. He admitted to the disciples that His soul was overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death (Mark 14:34). This is the Son of God who is one with the Father that we are talking about.  See the way He cried out in anguish,

“My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me.  Yet not as I will, but as You will” (Matthew 26:39).

“Abba, Father.. everything is possible for You.  Take this cup from me, Yet not what I will, but what You will” (Mark 14:36).

“Father, if You are willing, take this cup from me; yet not My will, but Yours be done” (Luke 22:42).

Our prayers are to yield our hearts to His ways..  Jesus set a model for prayer of pouring out His feelings, emotions.. asking to take it away the trial but yet acknowledging that nothing is impossible for God, He surrenders to the Father’s will so that God’s plan may be fulfilled.

God can choose to respond to various ways in our different trials – He either removes the situation from us, or He removes us from the situation, or He leaves us in the situation to either mould us and prepare us or to use that to be a testimony to others or perhaps both.

I recall an instance recently where I was just crying and everything seemed to be overwhelming.  I was feeling so low as it was, and then I heard some news that made it worse.  So I decided to chat with someone who knew about the relevant situations of the past although I hadn’t chatted with her in years.  Then I decided I didn’t want to hear more stuff to make me sadder or opinions that may hurt so I planned to cry myself to bed.  It was already late.  However, something kept pushing me to say hi to her.. I didn’t want to be selfish so I followed up on things I remembered from our previous chat although months ago. One thing led to the other.. inwardly I was still sobbing but words kept flowing and I couldn’t stop typing.  She sent me emoticons of tears and I felt bad that I had hurt her… In fact it turned out that they were tears of joy and she thanked me for the prophecies as all her cries to our Father had been addressed in this outpouring.  God turned my mourning into dancing watching Him use this broken vessel to make another vessel smile.

We often want to sit and mope.. but His glory and His strength is shown through our brokenness.. through our weaknesses… We don’t get the credit then, He surely gets the glory!!

Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need – Hebrews 4:16.

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