If only we had more money . . .
If only our son would come home . . .
If only my husband would stop drinking . . .
If only I had taken that last job offer. . .
If only this pain would stop. . .
If only our daughter would dress like a lady . . .
If only our pastor would stop harping on sin . . .
If only I could stop smoking. . .
If only we had a nicer house. . .
If only what?
Our “if only’s” are one half of conditional statements. They need finishing with the result of the condition. For instance, “If only we had a nicer house (condition), we’d invite more guests to visit us” (result).
Jesus often used conditional statements as a teaching method. Two of the more well-known conditional statements Jesus taught were, John 3:16: “For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son so that whoever believes in Him (condition) shall have everlasting life (result). Luke 9:23 tells us, “If anyone would come after me (condition), he must deny himself, take up his cross daily and follow me” (result). In other words, to be an authentic follower of Jesus Christ, one must deny himself, take up his cross daily and follow Jesus.
In my opinion, my “if only’s” are nothing but my rotten flesh trying to get its way. If I were an authentic follow of Jesus and submitted my life to Him and trusted Him with my life, (condition) I’d never have to say, “If only” (result). Why? Because, as an authentic follower¹ I’ll trust God to meet all my needs.
And my God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:19.
In my opinion my “If only’s” take me out of God’s will. What I want, what I think should happen, are about me. Not about trusting God.
Looks what happens if we change our attitude about our “if only’s”.
You only, Father, know what my needs are and will provide them as You see fit.
You only, Father, know my son’s heart and can work in it to do what’s best for him.
You only, Father, can heal my husband of his addiction to drinking.
You only, Father, will provide the job ideally suited for me.
You only, Father, allow us to suffer pain and trials to test our faith.
You only, Father, ordained our pastor to teach Your word.
You only, Father, can rid me of my desire to smoke.
You only, Father, provided us with this home and we are grateful that we have one.
Wow! What a difference. All our “If only’s” are self-centered and originate in our flesh, our self-will.
Our “You only’s” put our trust and faith in God to meet all our needs. Our “You only’s” surrender our concerns and trials to God. He wants to take them from us. He wants us to depend totally on His grace and His riches.
The next time you begin to think, “If only”, why not swap your fleshly desires for trusting God and turn your “If only’s” into “You Only’s”.
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