Earlier this week, someone messaged me a meme of a Susan B. Anthony quote that said, “I distrust those people who know so well what God wants them to do because I notice it always coincides with their own desires.”
The person went on to say she saw it on a “friend’s” page and that it felt directed toward her because she and her husband have recently made life changes that came about as they grew closer to Christ.
It so happened that their relationship with this “friend” changed because of their relationship with the Lord. She felt like the “friend” was jealous and full of bitterness, but she wasn’t sure she was seeing things clearly, so she wanted to know my thoughts.
Social media has become a passive-aggressive way to tell people what you really think, while attempting not to seem judgmental. And it gives people an opportunity for validity when others comment on their posts, saying things like, “Amen,” or “Tell it like it is, sister!”
I’ll be honest, it took me a couple of days of prayer to know how to respond. And it’s not because I don’t have plenty to say. But I always try to make sure the words I speak or type are words that God has placed on my heart and not “worldly” words of my own making.
My first thought at reading it was outrage. How dare anyone presume to know:
1.) A person’s own desires and
2.) What God has placed on that person’s heart.
Send Me A Million
Sure, we’ve all seen examples of someone in politics or even televangelists on TV saying God told them to ask for a million dollars or that God told them you should donate to their cause. That’s not what I’m talking about. I’m talking about a true relationship with Christ, a prayerful relationship with Christ, where your desires and His desires find a common ground to serve the kingdom of heaven.
Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit
My personal relationship with Jesus Christ comes first. Without Him as the cornerstone, all else fails. My relationship with my husband comes next. Scott did as God commanded in Genesis 2:24 and left his father and mother to join with me as one flesh.
Knows Your Desires
Scott is the only other person besides Christ who knows my desires on such an intimate level. And I’m the only person besides Christ who knows his desires. Christ is the only one who can fulfill both of our desires.
That’s what marriage is. Such a complete unification of two people that they become one.
When Scott and I got married, we immediately felt God’s calling that we were supposed to be doing something to strengthen His kingdom. We didn’t know what that something was, but we prayed about it daily.
It was several months before I came to Scott and said, “I really feel like God is calling us to do a ministry in marriage.
We’d both gone through the pain of divorce, and now that we were married we were navigating our own marriage, how to deal with the baggage of our pasts, and also the blending of our new family.
The longer we talked and prayed about it, the louder God spoke to us about starting the Faithful ministry. To the point where I stopped working on the books I had due because I felt like God was saying, Do This Right Now! And I listened. We both put everything else on hold and started listening and putting the pieces in motion.
God Leaves Nothing To Chance
He has a plan and a specific design for our marriage and our family. And I knew He was telling us that we needed to do this, not only to minister to others and their marriages, but to also minister to each other and make sure this marriage was our last.
The Old Serpent Is Masterful
Satan does an excellent job of hitting you where it hurts the most. Of jabbing at those insecurities so they’re always fresh on the surface. Of making you doubt God’s Word, or making you feel inadequate to do the works God’s calling you to do.
Let me give you a hypothetical example at how something like the quote at the beginning of the post can do damage to a believer’s mission to serve God:
Say Scott and I had been praying faithfully for God to show us how He wanted us to minister to others, and He finally answered our prayers by telling us that the marriage ministry is where he wants us.
That we have the opportunity to impact couples and families all over the world because 40% of the people in churches are on at least their second marriage and have a blended family (did you know that)?
We’re excited with the possibilities before us, and we’re also excited for the possibilities of strengthening our own marriage, because like all marriages we’ve had a bumpy patch or two and we want to get things on track.
And then out of the blue one day, a “friend” sends that meme with the Susan B. Anthony quote and says to make sure we’re really doing God’s desires and not just trying to use God as an excuse to save our marriage. Gasp!
All of a sudden the words of one person can fill you with doubt. Am I using God as an excuse to save my marriage? Are the works we’re doing for our own gain and not for the glory of God?
That’s satan, using that person to try and keep you from doing God’s work. And I’ve noticed throughout my life that satan is really good at what he does. Don’t listen to him. And don’t listen to the people satan is using to fill you with these thoughts.
Scott and I have gotten very good at selecting our circle of friends. This afternoon in our prayer time, Scott prayed specifically for us to meet and surround ourselves with other Christian couples. It’s so important to mind the company you keep.
We’ve severed ties with several relationships over the past years because
1.) They were harmful or toxic to our marriage
2.) They were harmful or toxic to our family
3.) They kept us from growing as individuals or as a couple
No Gaps Go Unfilled
And I’ve noticed a couple things about severing those ties. There’s no gap or hole where that relationship was. Because Christ has filled it.
And several of those people who said they were “friends” have banded together with others who were toxic in our lives, making it very clear that we were right to separate ourselves from them.
It’s why we have to be so careful as believers of falling into the so-called friend, “I’m only saying this for your own good,” trap. Have you noticed there are people particularly good at that kind of advice or “wisdom.”
It’s always the kind of wisdom that plants seeds of damage. To make you doubt. To make you question. To make you worry. Whether it’s in your marriage, your job, with neighbors, kids…it doesn’t matter.
It’s a subtle manipulation that’s strategic to take you off course. Learn to recognize these people, and stay away from them.
These people are good at what they do, and they’ll wrap it up in a bow by saying they have only your best interest at heart because you’re “friends” and they care about you. How many of you know the person I’m talking about?
So I go back to the question, “Who knows your desires?” Is it Christ and (hopefully) your spouse? Or is it the “friend” on Facebook who likes to post passive-aggressive memes? Or the ex who likes to push your buttons? Or the jealous who are trying to see you fail?
This is something we all need to be careful of when someone asks for advice, or if you feel the need to give advice. Ask yourself why you’d fill a person with discouraging words, or make them doubt that God is working in their life for a specific purpose.
It’s always a self-serving, selfish reason. ALWAYS. Because if it wasn’t, why wouldn’t your advice be to pray with consistency, to listen to God with all your heart, and to follow His Words.
That’s what a true friend would say, instead of making you think God wasn’t really planting His desires in your heart. And then that friend would follow it up by saying, “I’ll be praying for you too.”
Take delight in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart.
Memes Don’t Matter
So going back to the Susan B. Anthony quote at the top of the page, my response with a hundred percent surety is that I do know well what God wants me to do because I have a personal relationship with him. I spend time in prayer, worship, and the Word every single day.
I’ve got a long way to go. I have faults, many of them. I have bad days. But I’m moving in Christ, and I can see how God is working in me every single day. And a quote posted on social media isn’t going to derail us from our course.
Scott and I both have desires of our hearts and ways we want to serve the kingdom of heaven. And guess what? Psalm 34:7 promises us that we’ll get those desires.
We have faith. Do you?