Sunday, May 6, 2012

Certain of What We Do Not See

My Bible study group recently began a new book, Faithful, Abundant and True. I've been excited thinking how wonderful it would be to spend a few months being filled with God's promises to be faithful to me, fill me with an abundant life and, um, well I guess I didn't really get to the true part!
Of course I was wrong. Over the past few weeks I've discovered that Kay Arthur really wanted to look at my faithfulness to God. Specifically how much Faith did I have in God?
Faith in daily life has really got me thinking this morning. We usually talk about having faith in God when we are presented with a situation that requires a movement into the unknown, or maybe the known, which is outside our comfort zone. God asks us to do something - change jobs, give a possession away, lead a group, show love to a person... - and now we have a choice to obey, which will require faith, or to continue on in life as normal.
If we choose not to obey God, we are choosing not to depend on God. Simply put, that is choosing to depend on ourselves. Yikes! Is that where I want to be in my walk with Christ? No way! Yet, that is often where we find ourselves. It's really subtle and I've seen times when I've convinced myself that a closed door is God's will not realizing it is really only my dependence on self rather than throwing myself at God's feet in faith and obedience.
If I am a Christian why is faith in God's provision so hard? What is blocking me from that un-abandoned faith? A few ideas that pop into my mind are:
Fear – of the unknown, the worst possible scenario, difficulty. Fear is a very real issue. It can affect our state of mind, health and relationships. A life directed by fear is no life at all. Paul has a response to fear in Romans 8:15. “For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Sprit of sonship. And by him we cry, Abba, Father.” It seems he is saying that a life directed by fear is the normal for those without Christ. But now that I have Christ living in my life I am given the Holy Spirit who is not a spirit of fear but one of faith. And in my fear I can come before God and cry “Father”. He will not abandon me.
Security in earthly possessions – When I think about this, it is a form of fear as well. But it needs to be addressed head-on. I have seen so many people not move in any direction because they don't want to loose what they have accumulated. I know husbands who don't move where God is directing because of wives who are too comfortable. I like my things, especially when they are shiny and red! God gave us these things to enjoy, but he doesn't want us to become so attached to things or a lifestyle or a city or country that we are not willing to abandon these things when he says “change who you are”. Matthew 6:19-21 says “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” It really comes down to where my eyes are focused. Are they focused on God or are they looking at everything around?
Misunderstanding that God is working to refine us to who He wants us to be. – We think we can take care of ourselves better than God. We can plan our future better than God. So when we come to a fork in the road it's easier to travel down the path we have planned where we can see the outcome rather than go down the path God is directing into the unknown. Jeremiah 29:11 tells us, “For I know the plans I have for you, declares he LORD, 'plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future'.” Even when the path looks painful and scary, God is working us into the person He desires us to be.
So may you choose to walk in faith, even when it is difficult and scary. Hebrews 11:1 “Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.”

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