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Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Enlarging your vision

Meanwhile, the moment we get tired in the waiting, God's Spirit is right alongside helping us along. If we don't know how or what to pray, it doesn't matter. He does our praying in and for us, making prayer out of our wordless sighs, our aching groans. He knows us far better than we know ourselves...and keeps us present before God. That's why we can be so sure that every detail in our lives of love for God is worked into something good.
(Romans 8:26-28)

I used to think that this passage was like a blanket statement that everything would come out all right - nothing bad would happen to good people because God makes everything work together for their good.  It came as a surprise to me that bad things still happen to good people!  What I failed to recognize is that God often takes us through periods of "adjustment" in order for his vision to be accomplished within us.  He sometimes has to "enlarge" us enough to see what it is that he intends for us.

One of the key characteristics of a yielded life is that of being "adjustable".  That doesn't mean that we just bow to whatever new thing comes along.  It means that God is always going to be expanding our vision - of who he is, what he has done in our lives, and how he wants to use us to accomplish his mission on this earth.  In that "enlarging" or "expanding" process, he is increasing our faith - and opening our comprehension.  

Commitment and being yielded is a matter of being "governed" by something or someone.  God has a purpose in governing our lives - so he works to enlarge our understanding of that purpose over and over until we come into a place of fullness of faith and commitment to that purpose.  We often only want to see God's purpose for our lives through eyes that focus on what that will accomplish for us (how it will bless our lives).  God's intention in enlarging our faith is that we will see the blessing it will afford others.

We often forget that we are called to be "channels" of God's blessing - we get caught up in the blessing and forget that it is meant to be shared.  In scripture, Christians are referred to with many "titles" - priests, prophets, kings, kids, etc.  Priests have a responsibility to be spiritual leaders - so when God calls us priests, he is asking us to lead others into spiritual insight and growth.  Prophets spoke forth the message they were given - so are we to speak forth the message God gives us.  Kings had authority to govern and rule - we are given authority as members of his kingdom to rule and reign.  Kids have the right of family relationship - we have been given the access of a member of his family (intimately knowledge of God and his love).  

We are given access to all God's blessings, authority, grace and mercy - not to hold these things close and enjoy them for our own benefit, but to become channels of these to others.  When we become less occupied with how a blessing from God affects us and open up to how he wants to use that blessing to affect others, we are beginning to have our vision enlarged.  God is in the "details" of our lives - he focuses on what we often overlook.  His Spirit is faithful to deal with the details, so nothing is overlooked.  That is how everything is worked for good in our lives.

The Spirit of God is at work within us doing two things:  1) Exposing us to the very things that God is after in our lives (our dedication, our trust, our very hearts); and 2) Revealing to us the methods he uses to accomplish those things (the test or trial, the time of waiting).  It is his purpose in our lives to do the necessary "adjustment" of our ways of thinking (how we process what we are going through) so that we interpret the methods God is using as the very thing that will work all things for good in our lives.  

The next time you are going through a rough spot in your life, you might want to take some time to ask God how he is enlarging you through what you are experiencing.  God delights in showing you what he is doing - he often just is waiting for you to ask!