Thinking bigger …
Believing bigger …
Knowing God is bigger…
And then … giving your life.
I notice in myself often there’s a lack of understanding of what the Lord wants, what He’s doing, and how He wants us to be involved … how He wants me to be involved. Sometimes it discourages me.
See, I’ve heard talks about revival; I’ve heard of the power of God and all the prophecies that have been spoken that have not (yet) come to pass. I want to have faith and keep my spirits up, but looking around me, it’s sometimes very hard—hard to hear another encouraging word, hard to hear another prophecy, hard to even encourage and prophesy myself anymore … because I don’t see these things happening.
I notice that the word “soon” doesn’t always mean what I think it means. And sometimes I’ve come near not believing at all anymore. But somehow I can’t not believe.
Today I felt the Lord speak to me, and wondered if I imagined it, but listened anyway. He told me to read over all the things He’s spoken to me since the year ’99 that I wrote down in a book. So I sat down with my Bible and my book and started to read through it.
Again I felt an excitement as I read through the amazing things God has spoken to me about, but most of these things have not yet come to pass. There were times when I read through them and wondered if it was even possible.
This morning though, as I read through it, I remembered the things God has done in the past … all the way to the book of Acts. I remembered that amazing things, greater than anything written in my little notebook, have actually happened.
What about our days? What about my life?
I thought that maybe some of these things are conditional … sometimes the Lord clearly said they were conditional: “If you seek my face, and reach out with all of your heart for the promises I made, then I will start to give what I have promised,” said the Lord, “for I have not given you a promise that I can not fulfill.”
For the calling on our lives, there is a price to pay. It may sound cliché, but so many truths do, don’t they? The Lord told me today that He will always be with me and not forsake me, but if I don’t pursue Him on a deeper level, I will not grow, and I will miss out on things He wants to do and use me for—things that may still happen, but I will have no part in it. So I accept the challenge, and His grace will be there to sustain me, like it always has been.
Maybe one of the reasons we don’t see certain things that God has shown us happening is that while He shows us the best, we settle for something quite a bit smaller. It’s not that we don’t want to see the best come to pass. We do! We want to reign with Him, heal the sick, save the lost, cast out demons, do the great miracles … we dream of it!
I know I surely want it. It’s my biggest daydream. Yet I settle for getting by instead of overcoming. The challenges seem big, and my spiritual heights are great, but often short-lived. I don’t really want to give up the things that my heart tells me to turn away from, and I look around me in the Church and settle for this, because even in my half-heartedness, I seem to still be living a bit above the status quo. It’s this attitude that quietly looks at what I can still just get away with and think well about myself … what I can still get away with as a leader and a missionary. The idea is evil, yet so easily creeps into my thoughts sometimes. As if my life is mine, and I get to decide what it’ll look like … how spiritual it’s going to be! And my doubt that my daydream could ever be true encourages me to settle for this.
Yet my heart, by the grace of God, yearns for more. And God exposes these little lies that try to hold me back regularly. He reminds me:
“You say: ‘I am rich, I have prospered, and I need nothing.’ You do not realize that you are wretched, pitiable, poor, blind and naked.
Therefore I counsel you to buy from me gold refined by fire so that you may be rich; and white robes to clothe you and to keep the shame of your nakedness from being seen; and salve to anoint your eyes so that you may see.
I reprove and discipline those whom I love. Be earnest therefore and repent.
Listen! I am standing at the door, knocking; if you hear my voice and open the door, I will come in to you and eat with you, and you with me.
To the one who conquers I will give a place with me on my throne, just as I myself conquered and sat down with my father on his throne.
Let anyone who has an ear listen to what the Spirit is saying to the churches.”
I will never be given more then I am able to take responsibility for. I believe it’s the grace of God that some prayers are not answered yet. He knows what I can handle. He knows what His Church can handle.
It’s Satan’s game to make holiness look like a burden—“Can’t do this, can’t do that. Have to do this, have to do that.” Yet it’s when we resist the Holy Spirit, who clearly shows us how we should live and what the Lord wants from us, that we become burdened. The only peace is the one He gives, and we only have it when we live our lives in Him.
“Therefore, since we are surrounded by so a great cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight and the sin that clings so closely, and let us run with perseverance …”
It says “with perseverance” because God’s “soon” is still not what we think “soon” is. But when we don’t settle for less than the promises God gave, and when we give our lives, taking responsibility, we see that He has not given us a promise that He can not fulfill!
“Write the vision, make it plain on tablets, so that a runner may read it. For there is still a vision for the appointed time; it speaks of the end, and does not lie. If it seems to tarry, wait for it; it will surely come, it will not delay.”