Lists – whether the Christmas wish list or the grocery list, Craig’s List or a “to do” list, lists are everywhere. They help us, they organize us, and they keep us sane – or perhaps the opposite. We’re stubborn about our lists, despite the fact that they’re only useful to us before we’ve accomplished what’s on them, relevant only as long as we remain negligent…and even then they’re annoying at best.
Conflict occurs when our lists do not = “God’s list” – whether that’s one day’s “to do” list or the list of things that need to change about us before God can use us. But if we choose to accept God’s list in both of these extreme examples, we will begin reclaiming another lost secret of contentment.
A list of 2 extremes:
1) “To Do’s” ~ There’s nothing that stresses me out on the average day like a list of things I know must get done – and yet doesn’t get done. Jesus knew all about the human tendency to plan the oblivion out of a day, so He addressed it two ways in what we call “The Lord’s Prayer.” A. “…Your will be done “ = Recognize and acknowledge who’s in charge. You can do this simply by committing “today” to His will and kingdom. Tell God you are willing to do what He wants you to do “today.” B. “Give us this day our daily bread” = Tell God your “to do” list – all that you feel is important to have or get done “today.” He wants you to share your day with Him, and it will effect what you are able to get done! Here is the key: If you can sincerely do both these things at the start of your day (= Accepting ‘God’s List’), you will be able to relax when your plans change, and get done more of what was really important.
2) I mentioned before that lists are unfulfilling and a bit “paradoxical” in that they’re only useful to us before we’ve accomplished what’s on them. In that way they function like the Old Testament Law, designed to point out our sin rather than solve the sin problem. Your grocery list doesn’t produce salt when you’re cupboard is empty – it just tells you that you need it.
When you continue this line of thinking you realize that once the things on your list have all been accomplished, there’s no longer a need for the list. The “to do” list has become a “done” list. Similarly, each item on the list of what you and I have to “do” to please God has been completed and crossed off by Christ. The “to do’s” of the Law are done, Christ said it Himself – “It is finished!”
Paul put it this way in his letter to the Galatians –“Answer this question: Does the God who lavishly provides you with his own presence, his Holy Spirit, working things in your lives you could never do for yourselves, does he do these things because of your strenuous moral striving or because you trust him to do them in you? …Abraham believed God, and that act of belief was turned into a life that was right with God” (Gal. 3:5-7, The Message).
Here’s the key: Your life is the biggest blessing to God once you accept that the "to do" list of demands He had for your soul is now a “Done List” – through Christ.