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Shortly after I was married, I came up with this little saying: “Pray, don’t nag.” And the frequency I’ve had to remind myself of these words has much more to do with my lack of trust in God than anything about Eric.
Here’s how it plays out. I tell Eric something’s important to me and for whatever reason he decides not to act on it yet. And every inch of me wants to remind him. Again. Because it’s important. That’s nagging. And right when I’m about to remind him I remember that there’s another way I can go about this: I can pray.
Prayer is the remedy because prayer puts the issue in the hands of the One who really controls the outcome. When I take control to ensure that it happens, I nag. When I give God control, I pray.
Sometimes the temptation is strong and I think, “But this is really important.” I can trust God with less important things, but when it really matters I need to take matters into my own hands.
That’s exactly what Sarah did when she tried to fulfill God’s promise of a son through her maidservant. It was really important that Abraham and Sarah had a son. We rationalize, like Sarah did, that the importance of the issue means we should try everything possible to make sure it is accomplished.
But the ends never justify the means for the Christian. Accomplishing God’s purposes our own way says to God, “I don’t trust you.”
In 1 Peter 3:1-2, Peter addresses women whose husbands have heard the gospel and don’t believe. How a person responds to the gospel is really important. And he says to win them over without a word. There are methods that are off limits. Don’t nag.
Prayer isn’t a way to manipulate God to produce the outcomes we want. It’s releasing control. He may never bring about what seems so important to us. He knows better.
“How do you live well with huge things you don’t control? [The realm of everything that concerns you but you don’t control] is the place we’re simply to trust that God is in fact good.” ~ David Powlison
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