Wednesday, January 2, 2019

Have you asked him?

As with most 'baby Christians', I was one of those who actually believed that everything would come out all right - nothing bad would ever happen to good people because God makes everything work together for their good. Only good things are gonna happen to Christians, right? Wrong! 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. The 'bad' isn't really meant to hurt us, but to make us see a new aspect of his keeping touch, understand a little more about his healing hands, and come to a place where we follow him no matter how the circumstances attempt to dictate otherwise.

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)

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 things come 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. Sometimes the greatest thing to come out of these times of 'not so good stuff' is the expansion of our faith - in areas we didn't even realize we weren't all that trusting of him!
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 where there is a fullness of faith and commitment to that specific 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, not just ourselves.

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 - good stuff isn't to be hoarded. In scripture, Christians are referred to with many "titles" - priests, prophets, kings, kids, etc. Priests had 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 we're 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 had 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 many and varied "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! Just sayin!