The other day we talked about doing the hard thing.
Today, we’re going to take this idea to a whole new level by digging into the story of Pharaoh and Moses.
If you haven’t read the first post in this series, click here to read it now.
I love the story of Pharaoh and Moses.
It starts with Moses’ mom doing the hard thing by placing Moses in a basket and sailing him down the river.
She did this when he was only three months old because she knew if she were to keep him and hide him (so that he could be with her and she could hold him and love him) then Moses would be killed.
Pharaoh wasn’t a nice person.
Not only did he order the murder of Israelite children, he also had an entire slave workforce of over a million people that did everything his people did not want to do. They built the houses, did the cleaning and cooking, took care of sanitation problems, cleaned up after the animals… they got the crappy jobs with no pay, no benefits, and no vacation.
By the grace of God, baby Moses was found and adopted by Pharaoh’s daughter. Then he was provided an Israelite nanny to raise him and this nanny just so happened to be Moses’ momma. The hard thing reaped her great rewards.
So Moses was raised as Pharaoh’s grandchild. Moses knew that he was a Hebrew and when he was grown, he saw a Hebrew being beaten by an Egyptian and he did not do the hard thing and control his flesh, he killed the Egyptian. Once Pharaoh found out about it, he wanted to kill Moses – and this is where their love/hate relationship began.
Decades later, Moses and Aaron were given instruction by God and demanded the release of the Israelites from Pharaoh. Moses was directed by God to ask for the release of the Israelites and when told no – to bring destruction to Egypt. So, frogs would cover the land and the people – Pharaoh would agree to let the Egyptians go, the frogs would go away and Pharaoh would change his mind and not release the people.
Even a godless man like Pharaoh would get “touched” and agree to do the hard thing when the circumstances were right (by the way, the hard thing was the right thing). When we have a soft heart toward God, we have strength to do the hard thing. Hard heart… forget it.
God wanted Pharaoh to let His people go, but once the miracle was performed and everything was back to normal, Pharaoh changed his mind. Hard hearts won’t do the hard thing.
What does God want us to let go?
What is it that is hurting us and the people around us?
What people do we have to let go to get rid of the hurt that is a root cause to why we do what we do?
Write that down and think about it. Sometimes it’s easy for us to shy away from the hard thing until we are honest with ourselves about what God really wants from us–meditate on it.
Some of us have even been through as many plagues as the Egyptians! Plague hits… life is horrible… we decide to do the hard things:
- Letting the people who hurt us go
- Letting go of the people who influence us to do the wrong things
- Letting go of the things that we do to ourselves to cause the turmoil in our own lives (like eating, partying, unforgiveness, and bitterness)
Once we let go of these things, then life starts getting better. But as soon as life seems better, somehow we reason that we don’t have to do the hard thing after all. Then BAM… another plague hits.
Is it more difficult to live a life of self loathing, defeat, shame, and heartache? Or is it more difficult to do ‘the hard thing’ of following Him and allowing Him to love us and then let others love us into what He knows we can be?
I don’t want this week’s series of blogs to seem like I’m pointing the finger because in reality this is something I struggle with on a daily basis.
You see, when I was younger I was molested. I only told one person about it in my entire life until I started preaching about it. That one person was a friend of mine in elementary school. She did what most kids so do and told everyone else.
For about four years of my life I didn’t have friends. I went through intense ridicule. I didn’t want to live half of the time and the other half of the time, I was trying to prove to anyone who would listen that I was good. Honor roll, cheerleading, volunteering… anything to prove that I was worth something or that I deserved to have a friend. I really knew what it was like to be lonely.
This experience set up a pattern for me in life that I still battle… trying to prove my worth… to be a perfectionist. I put unattainable goals on myself. I look for my self worth in the approval of others. I allow negative comments to stay with me. I build up walls quickly when others are negative toward me.
The hard thing for me is to stop looking to others for approval when I am already unconditionally loved and wholly approved in God. I will always fail others… for the rest of my life.
Bill Cosby said, “I don’t know the key to success, but the key to failure is trying to to please everybody.”
The more you are in the public eye, the more you are subject to criticism. I get a lot of it. People don’t like a decision, a statement, a program, or any little thing and I hear it. I run through these comments over and over in my head and sometimes allow them to consume me. This is not what God wants for me.
Rather than focusing on these thoughts and trying to be more perfect by pleasing everyone more, I’ve got to do the hard thing and give it to God.
I need to let it go.
Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light. — Matt 11:28-30 (NIV)
This scripture helps me because sometimes the hard thing for me is sleeping. There are some nights when I roll around all night thinking about how I have failed at something over and over in my head. I think that it will cost me the approval, love, acceptance and friends that I didn’t have as a child.
Sometimes at 3am, I think, “God this is to hard for me!” I cannot please these people! Then God answers me, “Is anything too hard for the LORD?” (Genesis 18:14)
Then I remember, “Oh yeah, I don’t have to do this alone. God is with me and it is impossible to do this without Him.”
By His Might
Ephesians 6:10 says, “We are strong in the Lord and the power of His might (not our might).
To admit that that I cannot do something on my own is a hard thing too. But none of us can do anything on our own, and we are not strong enough to withstand the enemy alone. Thank God all we have to do is lean on Him and He is there in all His power, glory, graciousness and mercy to hold us up.
God will never put us off until tomorrow or say that He cannot take on our problems. He says, “I am the Lord, the God of all mankind. Is anything too hard for me?” (Jeremiah 32:27 NIV)
You see, trying to do the right thing or the hard thing by ourselves and in our own strength will never work. We need God. The joy of the Lord is our strength.
Take the Challenge Today
We started off this week by thinking about and praying for the hard things in our lives. We all have something that the enemy uses to try to take us out of the game. Today, I want to agree with you in prayer for you to choose to rely on God to help you overcome the hard thing today.
There are lives at stake. Yours. Your children (or future children). Your family. The people you will touch throughout the journey of life. Let’s not allow the enemy to prevent us from choosing the ‘hard thing’ for today – which he knows will make the rest of our life easier.
I pray in Jesus name that the doors be opened to an easier and more fruitful life for everyone reading this blog post. Let us accept and lean on what He has already accomplished on our behalf. Amen.
Today is the day to let go and let God. Today is the day we overcome. In the comments below, share with us your testimony to do the hard thing.
If you haven’t fully committed, now is the time. I challenge you to choose to rely on God instead of yourself. It sounds hard, but trust me, it’s oh so much easier.