Thursday, May 8, 2014

What Won't God Do for You?

As I sat overhearing a conversation this morning, my heart started to sink.  A woman I know was talking about her struggles.  She was relating what had helped her, but her tone of voice betrayed that maybe she wasn't helped all that much.  She sounded not just down but....defeated.

I know this woman knows the Lord.  I know she goes to Bible Study, reads devotionals and goes to church.  Yet, for all the spirituality, there was no victory in her life.  We all have down days, myself included.  But this is not the first time I've heard this line of talk from her.

 It is not the first time a saint thought themselves to be a loser in the fight of life.

I really wanted to tell this woman what I know.  I wanted her to listen, I mean really listen to the stories of victory I carry in my heart.  But more than that, more than her time, attention or acknowledgment of the truth, I wanted her to trust in the Person behind the Cross she wears around her neck.  Why don't we let the Lord fight for the victory in our lives that the Cross won?

Because we want a piece of it.  We want to claim some of the glorious result - even just a little.  I know this to be true of myself for certain.  I'm in a constant struggle with my pride.  I have to constantly nail it to the Cross, again and again, along with everything else in my heart and mind that trips me up so I can't keep running the good race of faith.

We engage ourselves in conversations, experiences, relationships - and worst of all - thought processes that deem us to be losers.  We position ourselves to lose because we think if we walk around like winners, we aren't going to be very good Christians.  And if we just did it for our own victory, to look good in our own strength, we wouldn't be very good Christians.

About a month ago, I was struggling with something.  I was worried about it.  As I prayed, this thought came to me,  

I didn't die so you could go through life the way you did before - worried, anxious and fearful.  And I certainly didn't rise again so you could continue to spin your wheels, trying to figure out how to make this abundant life work.

Call it a Divine 2x4 to the back of the head, but I needed to be grabbed by the scruff of my neck, shaken up and set a-right.  I was trying my best to have an abundant life, forgetting an abundant life in Christ is not to be grasped.  The Christian life was never about how much we could have or how busy we could be.

The Christian life is supposed to be about how much of God we can experience.

The antidote to this struggle, defeated, negative mindset?  Surrender.  It does not mean your circumstances will automatically change when we die to be buried with Christ. But we have to let our soul-ish tendencies to grasp, control and have life on our own terms stay in the grave.

When we do, we are changed.  He raises us up to rest and live in His victory that has been won for millennium.  The battle, friends, was never ours.  AND IT IS OVER.  The war and victory have been, and will always be the Lord's (2 Chron 20:15).  There is no weapon formed against us that will prosper if we let the Lord fight for us.  That comes from 2 different places in Scripture: Isaiah 54:17 and Romans 9:33. 

And you know that if the Lord says something in the Old and New Testament, we better take it dead seriously.

Your Heavenly Father is a Warrior.  He longs to fight for you.  He longs to save His children over and over and over again because He knows what we won't admit: We can't save ourselves.

We can claim victory all we want, but unless we put everything up on the altar, to be sacrificed to Him: our time, feelings, jobs, family, spouses, friends, parents, siblings, finances, looks, affiliations (you get the point), He will only have so much room to win. The more room we give Him, the more victory we are assured.

What won't the God of Heaven and Earth, Who created and sustains it; Who gave His One and Only Begotten Son to die for your for you? 

He has already done so much, can't you let Him do a little more?

Can you believe in His power to overcome your illness?

Can you believe His love is more powerful then the mirror?

Can you believe His grace will redeem your complicated life?

Can you believe anything and everything is possible with Him?

My goal is not to scold you.  It is a wake up call to all missing out in the Church, when you try and solve your own problems.  I don't know the details of your life but I do know that God does.  He knows them far more intimately then you do.  And He can use anything for your good.  You just have to let Him!

Stop your fighting. Be Still.  Step aside.  Bow down. Fall to your knees.  Get on your face. 

I heard Beth Moore say this years ago, but it is truth, "In God's economy, the way up is down."  Get into a position of submission and stay there.  Challenge the Lord to help you, beg Him for mercy.  Then believe He will respond (James 1:6).  Don't pick up your huge sack of burdens again.  It doesn't matter how big or little they are, they will always be too heavy for you to carry.

All of what I'm saying is right there in His Word.  Read it for yourself, or better yet, consume it.  Absorb it into your thinking and it will change in you in the middle of whatever crazy, complicated situation you are in.  You will not have to try and produce fruit, which only ends up being plastic anyway.

The fruit you will produce, when you rest in Him, trusting Him to make a way where there is no way, will be delicious.  It will be the sweetest.  It will feed those around you.  He will do it.  He is the God of infinitely creative provision.  He will part the Sea even when you are neck deep in the water.

His Word is right there for you, telling you what to do and how to do it. 

Stay there, be still and take Him at His Word.  Keep an eye out for His rescue.  It will rise with the dawn with healing for your soul on it's wings (Isaiah 58:8).  His mercies are new every morning.....and it is always morning somewhere.*

(Gloria Furman, When Your Hands are Full)

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