How do I stop bargaining?

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Hey, thanks again for sending in questions related to our recent sermons. This last week we looked at the biblical figure Jacob and how his story aligned with one of our elders, moving from a bargaining type of faith to a surrendered type of faith in the importance to be totally surrendered before God, trusting in his plan for our lives instead of trying to manipulate and control and stress over situations to work them for our benefit, especially if it’s to the detriment of others, like it was with Jacob. So the question comes in this week, how exactly do we do that?

How do we move from bargaining to surrender in Jacob’s life? It seems like an important step in the process for him was wrestling with God.

But that’s not exactly something we can schedule on a Wednesday evening for God to come and dislocate our hip, to realign our hearts to his will. So how are we, what is our role? How are we exactly supposed to do this? And I would say, first, just catch yourself. When you’re bargaining with God, inevitably this will happen.

At some point you will. In your prayers you will say, God, if you give me this, I’ll do anything. If only you give me this. And then you just start promising things that you’ll do for God in return. Or even if you’re not really bargaining, you’re angry, like, why won’t you give me this, God?

And you’re screaming with him about something that’s going to happen, that’ll probably happen in the next month. You’ll catch yourself saying something like that. And so the first step is to just identify that it’s happened. And the second step is to stop yourself in the middle of that prayer and say, God, instead of me bargaining or promising you anything, my new prayer is help me trust in your plan for my life. Help me trust that you will give me exactly what is best for me.

And I don’t owe you anything.

In order for you to do what is best for me, you’re going to do it because of, because of Jesus. Because Jesus already made any payment that I could ever make. He’s earned me all the favor that I could ever possibly have. So help me understand that you are as favorable to me as you will ever be, as you ever could be. You treat me as if I have, you know, the status, holiness of Jesus himself.

And so you are going to do exactly what is best for me. Help me to rest in that. Of course, that doesn’t mean that we just lay down and let whatever happens, happens. You can say, you know, if there’s something that I need to do in this situation, you know, motivate me, give me the courage to step out and do that. Especially, you know, if I’ve been treated unfairly, our prayer isn’t just, oh God, well, help me be at peace of planning, at peace with your plan in my life.

I mean, you could still pray that. You still should pray that. But then you can say, you know, if I’ve been treated unfairly, help me respond accordingly, you know, in kindness and to work for justice in the situation. It’s, all of those things are great to pray. You can pray all of those at the same time.

But if you’re like, God, I need this in order to be okay. Or God, I will give you so much if you just give me, if you have those kind of prayers, that’s when to stop yourself, realign and say, help me rest in my plan for you. And that doesn’t, that doesn’t mean that it’ll happen right away. You know, you’re probably going to have to pray those kind of prayers many, many, many times before you find yourself resting. And then even if you have been resting in God’s plan for your life for years, something else will pop up and you will find yourself praying all over again.

Goddess, I need this. I will give you everything if you just give me this, then you have to restart the process again. So that’s a simple step by step, identify that it’s happened. Stop yourself from praying a bargaining type of prayer and then pray a resting type of prayer. Or pray, help me to rest, Lord, we hope that’s helpful.

Thanks for the question. We’ll see you next time.