Not being Ministered to

<<personal desires not met>>

Each time we experience a hurt or a hassle, with things not going as we would like, we may feel that we are not being ministered to by others, or claim our situation is unfavourable – “You want something but don’t get it” (Jas 4:2). While such feelings maybe valid, the important issue is our reaction to the challenges we are continually confronted with.

Reasons can be as varied as being misunderstood, not receiving the credit for some accomplishment, or shattered expectations when our needs or rights are not met. The result is our ego and self-esteem feel threatened. Self-centred people are often short-sighted and do not recognise the concern or advice of others – the problem is with

Do I give up my rights that others may be blessed?

them and their perceived lack of attention! Others complain and share all their troubles with others – making these people depressed too! When encountering such people we must discern their motive and past record. Is this a genuine plea for guidance and assistance or just a sob story to get sympathy?

Those that are absorbed in their own tiny world, expecting everything to revolve around them, live an unfulfilled, lonely existence compared to what is possible if they risked living vulnerably for Christ. As, our supreme example He gave up everything so that we might be blessed (1 Pet 2:21). Jesus said, “Even the Son of God did not come to be served [ministered unto], but to serve [minister], and to give His life as a ransom for many” (Mk 10:45). When disappointments occur, rather than giving in to the demands of the selfish nature within, by displaying our displeasure in a verbal outburst, aggression, moodiness or self-pity and the panic of not being in control, see it as an opportunity to make real in your life the truth that we are ‘crucified with Christ’ (Rom 6:1-10; Gal 2:20; Col 3:1-4). Each day we have numerous opportunities to ‘lay our lives on the altar’, surrendering our desires to serve others – treating them as we would like to be treated, not as has actually happened (Mk 12:31; Lk 6:31). By serving in this way we master our emotions and moods rather than being controlled by them. It’s a matter of living out the prayer of Jesus, “Not my will, but yours be done” (Lk 22:42).

While we are not to be a ‘doormat’ by having our good nature taken advantage of (which is abuse), we can voluntarily give up (sacrifice) our rights “submitting out of reverence for Christ” so others may be blessed and His name glorified (Eph 5:21; Phil 2:4). When life seemingly isn’t fair, we can either get bitter and hard or allow the grace of God to shape our character, making us sweet in spite of the adverse circumstances. The many things that don’t make sense this side of eternity don’t need to dictate to our spirit, rather we have the ability to choose how we will respond. If we are yielded to Christ we can accept that difficult circumstances are the best tool He has to prepare us for eternity (Rom 8:28; 1 Cor 2:9). God tailor-makes His processing depending on the raw material available (us) and the specific role He has for us as “He works out everything in conformity with the purposes of His will…to the praise of His glory” (Eph 1:11,12). Trust Him and do not push His hand away or you may miss out on the refining process, and the eternal rewards in heaven.

When we pray, believe and give our full effort to things which don’t work out as planned, don’t resort to a victim mentality, thinking life is totally unfair and God has forgotten you. When setbacks occur, we can either give up or increase our resolve and persistence to achieve what He intends for us; in God’s economy nothing is wasted if we respond correctly. Look beyond your own world, and reach out to others, many who are in a much more unpleasant situations. Personal disappointments enable us to enter with greater understanding or empathy into the troubles of others.

When life situations don’t turn out as hoped maintain a thankful attitude – “Yet I will rejoice in the Lord; I will be happy in the God of my salvation” – with confidence in His sovereignty. Believe such circumstances are truly working for your good, knowing He sees and will reward you for what is done in His name  (Hab 3:17,18; Mt 19:29; Rom 5:3-5, 8:28). The testing of our faith by all kinds of trials,

 I choose to praise the Lord, in spite of…

when proved genuine, is very precious (1 Pet 1:6,7). Through them, we have the opportunity to develop character and display the fruit of the Spirit (Gal 5:22,23; Jas 1:2-4; 2 Pet 1:5-9). For example, if there wasn’t a situation that tried our patience, how would this desirable quality develop?

‘It is easy enough to be pleasant when life goes like a song,
But the man worthwhile is the one with a smile when all goes dead wrong’.

Not receiving the attention of others tests our allegiance to God. Follow the example of Christ who when being unfairly treated committed Himself to the Father who always judges justly (1 Pet 2:23). Satan’s aim is to separate us from God; instead be determined to cling closer to your Master in the trials as Job did (Job 1:8-2:10). Ensure He is Lord of your life through a firm commitment, then maintain an eternal focus (2 Cor 4:17,18).

Those who have been loyal to us in the past – including those near and dear to us, be it spouse, family members or close friends – can turn against us in a time of anguish and stress, when we also are hurt and emotionally drained and in need of support. Do not look for solace in any wrong activity or confide in other people where an inappropriate relationship or soul-tie may develop. David “encouraged himself in the Lord” and Jesus committed Himself to God as their response to having been rebuffed by their followers (1 Sam 30:1-6; Mt 26:35,38-40,56,75; Lk 23:46). Many times our fellow humans can support us but our ultimate trust and hope must be in Jesus for salvation is only available in Him (Act 4:12).   

If you fail, as we all do numerous times, don’t give up but get up and start again – this time wiser – for “Greater is the person who controls their spirit [when things go wrong] than the one who takes a city” (Ps 37:23,24; Prov 16:32). The good God works toward isn’t good times, it’s the good purposes He has for us to make us like Jesus.

See also: challenges, cross, discouragement, escapism, fruit (of the Spirit), give up, hassles, hurts, moods, others, outward focused, positive mental attitude, prayers (unanswered), problems, reactions, rights, self, self-pity, sovereignty of God, trials, victim mentality, why.