Tuesday, November 11, 2014

What Limits Your Faith?

The Lord gave me an idea for a post series, I'm calling "Questions of Faith."  Some of them are questions we have of God, but some of them are questions God has of us.  Today's entry is the What.  The When, Where, How, Why and Who come a little later.

It's right to start with this question though: What limits our faith?  With all that is possible with God, proved in Scripture and being proved around the world in other nations (especially for those Christians under terrible persecution), why aren't we seeing more of that here in the United States?  Why aren't miracles happening on mass scale and wonders beyond belief part of our every day lives?

Let me address that first: we are.  The United States has as many miracles and wonders happening as in Africa or Asia.  I truly believe that.  I can't accept the notion miracles aren't happening here because I see them every day.  I'm not delusional.  Truly, I see what God is doing, I pay attention and it is the truth.  I have a miracle living in my house in the body of an 8 year old girl.  The fact that I'm sitting in this chair, with the faith to write this post is a miracle.

The lie, the illusion is that the American Church is dying or already dead.  The news is that we are so broken, so hopeless, we can't ever grow again.  We won't ever experience revival here in the States because we are too far gone down the road of division and submission to culture, rather than Christ.  Wouldn't the enemy love us to just keep promoting that slime, like it's the truth?

In the natural, I see what is happening.  I see the decline, I see the wrong motives we've had for the last hundred years.  I see that our seminaries no longer teach the inerrancy of Scripture and major denominations are splitting over issues whether we should follow the clear commands of Scripture.  Yet, I also I see (and am part of) the most spiritually rich information era ever on planet Earth.  And I don't think the Lord plans to waste this time, when people have unlimited resources to come to Him.

Yes, it's bad in the natural and will get worse.  But that doesn't mean it's all over.  His mercies are new every morning.  

Sunrise means another chance
The Bible clearly outlines a principle called The Remnant, in both the Old and New Testaments.  Here is the Apostle Paul calling it out in Romans 11:5,

But what is the divine response to him? "I HAVE KEPT for Myself SEVEN THOUSAND MEN WHO HAVE NOT BOWED THE KNEE TO BAAL." In the same way then, there has also come to be at the present time a remnant according to God's gracious choice. But if it is by grace, it is no longer on the basis of works, otherwise grace is no longer grace.…

Point being: it isn't up to us who is part of that remnant.  We don't get to determine who is right and who is wrong - God does.  And He does it based on His revealed Word and in the Person of Jesus Christ.  What gets us all twisted is we think a remnant means a tiny number.  I don't.  I think a few million would do just fine.  IF....what?

If we would take the governors off our hearts.

A governor is something used to limit speed on a car.  The car would go much, much faster, if the engine were allowed to do so.  I most recently saw this in Abu Dhabi, where the governors kept the taxis from going over a certain speed - I'm sure to promote safe driving.  

Governors are good, they can promote order.  But in a life of faith, they create a dependency on what is, what we already know, instead of what can be.  We don't experience more of God's miraculous workings here in the American Church because we've been living with speed limitors on our faith.  Those things put in place, to create order, but instead have held us back.

Don't get me wrong, order is a good thing, but not when it comes at the expense of quenching the Spirit's work.

If we would only take off the governors of our faith, we would see a speed explosion of revival.  This victory is only going to be won when we praise God, not just for what He has done or what we know of Him, but Who He says He is and all the spiritual, emotional, mental and physical implications of that revelation.  

The lack of praise of His name is one of the major reasons - if not THE major reason - for the decline of the American Church.

But friends, we are making a comeback.  There is an awakening happening, in the Baby Boomers, in Generation X, Y, the Millennials. People of over age, race, ethnic orientation - they are all looking for authenticity of faith and are coming together to make it happen.  They are coming together for the purpose of praise, to be overcomers by the Blood of the Lamb and their testimony of what God has done....which leads us to think out of the box of what God will do when we trust Him more fully.  

The walls are coming down because they have to.  Those walls of long held tradition and separatism are being unmasked for what they are: division created by the enemy. Our part is to want to be a part of what God is doing; to not miss out on this great chance to be apart of something, not only bigger than us, but a revival more intense and immense than any ever seen.

It is God's grace that seals the deal, but He is not going to turn anyone away who seeks His face.  2 Chronicles 16:9 promises, The eyes of the LORD search the whole earth in order to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to him.

You just have to be brave enough to ask yourself - what is holding me back from more of God?

Are you too busy?

Are you too tired or sick?

Are you too anger (and bitter) because your prayers haven't been answered the way you wanted?

Do you carry a grudge against someone?

Do you want more than you need?

Do you have problems too big for Him to solve?

Has everyone let you down, including God?

Has your family always been bad, so you can't be any different?

Has it just always been this way? 

If we want to be released, as individuals and the Church at large, we have to be willing to be adjusted.  We don't make these adjustments, God shows them to us...when we ask the question.  Even if it is a doctrinal issue or teaching which could be holding you back; it must be tested in light of Scripture.  If it is truly from God, it will hold up under the microscope of His truth.  If not?  Well, then welcome to the new.

There are
two reasons why we aren't seeing more of God: fear and pride.  Those are the deepest roots and the hardest to pull up.  And Fear and Pride are the enemy's favorite weapons, the evil twins of Goodness and Mercy, meant to be our companions.  (See Psalm 23).

Our constant pursuit of God is not only about what we think is right (pride) or what we can handle (fear).  There is a much deeper work the Lord seeks to do in us, through His very own character, forming us into His Son.  Praise does that - it radically changes who we are on the inside to line up with who God is on the outside.  

All of the New Testament was written to redefine what we think is possible.  Christ's whole mission was to prove what is possible with God - and the possibilities are limitless, just as He is.  He came to set us free, restore our sight, deliver us from the pit (Psalm 103:3-5).

Is there any reason to limit our faith, to keep the governors on?

We can see an explosion of the speed of transformation.  We have to be willing to let Him take the blinders off by asking the question.  Regardless of whether it is our expectations, experience, knowledge - or anything else - those don't matter to God.  He can and will show us - when we are willing - what is possible.  He did it during His life, after His ascension, over the last 2,000 years.  He is still doing it today.  

He isn't going to let our Church perish, even if He has to prune us down to a size He can work with.  

But that is His business.  Our business is to desire Him, to desire our eyes to be opened to His work.

If your life is rough or if it lacks a certain luster, it maybe time to have a serious conversation with your God, to ask Him what is keeping you from experiencing all He has for you.  I ask that question nearly every day.  I want to see the goodness of God in the land of the living (Psalm 27:13).

You will never feel more alive when you step off the cliff of what you know into the wide, opens spaces of God's love, mercy and grace.  You may feel like you are falling, or sinking, at times, but trust me - He will pick you up - raise your head up to see His face.  Just keep focused on Him. It is so much better than staying comfortable and (seemingly) safe in what you know.

Let this song sink into your soul.  Then ask Holy Spirit to take the limits off and release your faith.   No limits.  Release Me, Lord.

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