I couldn’t keep my old broken beliefs, nail a little Jesus truth to the side and expect stability. ~Lysa TerKeurst Uninvited
Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning.~James 1:17
I call heaven and earth as witnesses today against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing; therefore choose life, that both you and your descendants may live; 20 that you may love the Lord your God, that you may obey His voice, and that you may cling to Him, for He is your life and the length of your days; and that you may dwell in the land which the Lord swore to your fathers, to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, to give them.” ~Deuteronomy 30:19-20
Can we say in all honesty that we know the difference between good and evil? Can we say in all honesty that we know the difference between good and God’s best for our lives? I thought I did. Yet God continues to open my eyes to the fact that I do not. In the last two days God has shown me that there is an area of my life where I was trusting that I would fail more than I was trusting that stepping out in faith I would see God show up. In fact, I had way more faith that I would fail. Not only did I expect that I would fail but I was envisioning scenarios where I would pay the cost of stepping out.
That was hard for me to hear. But I had to admit that it is true. I have never really trusted God in this area. I have trusted many other things, other people, and in the World’s system. As if that wasn’t enough to make me question why I had no belief in that area. God also revealed to me that I still have a desire to be seen as independent. I have viewed dependence as a weakness. I always felt bad when I was depressed and unable to work. One of my main goals for most of my life was to be successfully independent. I was reminded again on Wednesday that God doesn’t want us independent. Often I try to do things in my strength and when I get tired of not getting anywhere I surrender and give up. Only then can I see God move in the situation. I reached the point yesterday where I finally admitted I am getting nowhere fast.
Then I saw that when I was expecting and believing I would fail this was against the very nature and character of God. God only gives good gifts. So when I step out to do as He says then if I were to fail that would be a bad gift. Yes, there are consequences for not believing. Many times in scriptures Gods work was hindered by unbelief. I am sure that my unbelief has stopped God from being able to step in and show himself strong. So I have committed to renewing my mind in this area.
In the book Good or God by John Bevere, he tells the story of a time when he was flying to Sweden in the late 1990’s. His host told him that something tragic happened the night before and that he probably had not heard. He was told about a fatal automobile accident that had happened. One of the victims was one of the most recognized and beloved people on the planet. John was shocked. She was smart and beautiful, a mother using her worldwide influence to do great good. John gets to the room and finds a news report in english. He was grieving the loss of this great person. But there was something that just didn’t sit right. When he couldn’t shake it off he inquired of the Lord. He was directed to read Revelation 18.
In the measure that she glorified herself and lived luxuriously, in the same measure give her torment and sorrow; for she says in her heart, ‘I sit as queen, and am no widow, and will not see sorrow.’ 8 Therefore her plagues will come in one day—death and mourning and famine. And she will be utterly burned with fire, for strong is the Lord God who judges her. 9 “The kings of the earth who committed fornication and lived luxuriously with her will weep and lament for her… (Revelation 18:7-9)
There were clear parallels to these verses and this woman. He realized that God was challenging how he measured good. Asking God about it God said:
“She flaunted her defiance to authority and her adultery to the world,” the Lord countered. “She was not submitted to Me.” The Spirit of God went on to say “There is a good that is not of Me. It is not submitted to Me.”
This spoke to me the first time I read it and it speaks to me even more today. I realize that there are areas in my life where I am tempted to go my way. Places where I still sometimes think this is good. Often I am tempted to think it is good that I work. Yet I know that in this season God has asked me to not work but to live by faith. Many times I have thought it would be easier if I were working and had money. I am reminded that God has firmly told me no many times this year already. It would seem to be good but it is not God’s will for me.
John Bevere had a great quote in the book: Before the foundation of the world, God designed a plan for your life, one that is overflowing with fulfilled purpose, immense joy, and great satisfaction. His will and plan for you are perfectly and completely good. But there is a counterfeit good that can keep you from embracing God’s best.
I am finding that I must continue to renew my mind so that I can discern what God is doing. When I stop trying to renew my mind I slip back into old thought patterns. I lose my fear and awe of the Lord and I began to give in to the other fears. Fears that have been longstanding companions in my life. In other words all my progress stops and I begin to fall back into the old creation that I used to be.
When I started learning scripture I thought that I could nail a little bit of Jesus to my life and everything would be okay. I find that a lot of people take this same attitude. They would be the ones who tell me that I am too radical. That I take the whole believing God thing a little too far. The truth is that I still have some faulty beliefs and God continues to reveal them to me. But without trying to stay in the Word and following hard after Jesus my life simply falls apart. I can do nothing on my own. In fact God has shown me something beautiful in scripture lately.
“I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser. 2 Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit He prunes, that it may bear more fruit. 3 You are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you. 4 Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me. 5 “I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing. John 15:1-5
I tend to struggle at times. I so desire to see growth and at times I think I must do something. I must try harder. I’m not so good at simply abiding. This passage of scripture revealed to me that I need to do but one thing. My one job, your one job, is to cling to the Father. We are simply the branches. The branch of the tree doesn’t do anything special. The branch isn’t responsible to grow fruit. The branch only needs to stay attached to the tree. Our job is as simple as clinging to the Father with all we have. Anything else is His job. He will grow the fruit. He will create the change. We just need to cling to Him.
When we cling we embrace, we hold tightly to as if our lives depended on it. So to cling represents a closeness. This closeness can’t happen with once a week contact. It can’t happen with twice a week contact. It happens when we share our lives together all day, every day with the Father, allowing God to give input as He will.
So as we prepare for Thanksgiving with our families lets prepare our hearts so that we are so saturated in the presence of God that we are overflowing with gratitude for who He is and what He has done in our lives.