­rev-joaquin-willis_web.jpgDo you ever feel out of place, wondering if you’re where you belong?  I know I do. Few escape  asking themselves whether they’re at the wrong job, at the wrong school, in the wrong church, in the wrong community, or sorority or fraternity,  in the wrong family, or even with the wrong spouse. 
It is hard to accept where God has placed us.  But we can rest assured that God has a purpose for our life; and that we can turn to Him when we feel out of place. Jeremiah 31:33 says, “This covenant I will make with the house of Israel after that time, declares the Lord, ‘I will put my law in their minds and write it on their hearts.’” Moses received the Ten Commandments on stone tablets; here God commits to instilling laws into the hearts of men.

Often, a change of heart is needed, rather than a change of place.  Change demands a painful labor and birth, especially when it is God fathering the initiative.

Change is not a product of circumstance, but a result of restlessness of spirit, of yearning in one’s soul.   We have an innate desire to know and to obey God, and to seek inner peace, satisfactions often requiring change.

When we free ourselves from old paradigms, we realize that Jesus is right, “the truth (is), unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds” (John 12:24).

Jesus confirms the need for, and power of sacrifice. Unless a kernel falls to the ground, it cannot become a blade of wheat.  Many who seek a new life are unwilling to let go of the old life’s model.

Giving control of our lives to Christ brings eternal life and genuine joy.   Always, we must avoid self-centeredness and the selfish pursuit of our goals.  If we are to walk in the light of Jesus, we must learn the truth of His words, as in John 12:35, “You are going to have the light just a little while longer. Walk while you have the light, before darkness overtakes you. The man who walks in the dark does not know where he is going.”

Christ knew He was going toward a place where others (especially Peter) felt he didn’t belong.  Christ chose not to change His path, knowing He was destined to die for our sins and in our place.  Christ knew He was in the place and time to which He belonged.  He said “No” to His human desires, choosing instead to obey His Father’s will, and to glorify Him.

To overcome the temptations of Satan, one must learn God’s purpose for his life.

Over the years, I have tried to avoid the sinful inner chatter of my soul, and to heed the Holy Spirit.  But it is difficult to silence the inner nagging:  “But Lord, I want to do this,” or “Lord, I feel I should do this,” or “Lord, my desire is to do this!”   However, we can replace our inner dialogue with:  “Lord, I believe you want me to do this,” or “Lord, I sense Your will for me is to do this,” or “Father, I believe Jesus would have me do this.”

By listening to God, and following His directions, we can be assured of being where God wants us to be.

The Rev. Dr. R. Joaquin Willis is pastor of the Church of the Open Door at 6001 NW 8th Ave., Miami.  To contact the church, call 305-759-0373 or email the pastor at pastoropendoorc@bellsouth.net.