The thin line

Scream

Hebrews x 23 says:

“Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful.”

 

In these past couple of weeks, with my daughter bravely stepping out to go to Canada for her YWAM Arts & Music DTS, I have been struck by how there can be such a thin line between faith and presumption.

 

One thing is clear. If God has spoken about something and made a promise, He WILL be faithful to fulfil it and come through. 

 

However, it can be a terribly scary journey! The silence of Heaven in certain times of waiting – especially for what has already been promised – can be downright unnerving! 

 

For this reason I have always felt that the most important thing in “successful” – we’ll look at that word another time, maybe! – Christian service is ‘hearing right’. If we hear God pronounce about something then we have a rock upon which to fix our belief.

 

What is sad in Christian service is weariness. Too weary, or even lazy, to pursue God much or anymore. Our thrill at pleasing our Father in Heaven is dampened by life’s circumstances or gone altogether. One friend of mine said to me last week a very poignant phrase … “It is so tragic when older saints give up believing God for the impossible!” YEARS of proving God faithful, with a mountain of testimonies under our belts, and yet now we cannot believe God anymore. Yes, very sad.

 

What struck me about the verse above today was this. Confession. There is something powerful about speaking out what we believe. Firstly, when God comes through, it is an encouragement and a witness to others. Secondly, it really requires you to come out of the shadows and nail your colours to the mast. Thirdly, I believe God loves that bold faith and rushes to the ones who demonstrate it.  Watching my daughter step out alone in bold faith about such a big step in her life (for the first time without us ‘hearing’ with or for her) was a thrill to watch (as well as a white-knuckle ride!). But, boy! did God rush to meet her!

 

So this seems to be the process, biblically and in my experience:

  1. Hear what God wants and is saying
  2. Believe the promise in your heart
  3. Confess it to others when necessary and when He permits or prompts you to do so
  4. God will fulfil His promise, His way and in His time … always!

 

What about you? Do you find it hard to hold on “unwavering”? Is the confessing part the sticking point for you? Do you find it hard to hear God? Have you got a “God is faithful” story to share? Or do you feel you have ever been let down by God?

 

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How are you looking at this New Year?

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I just think it’s unfair! I am referring to a story Jesus told about labourers. It has been messing with me since the start of the year. 

 

The full story is here: Matthew 20:1-16

 

It talks about some guys, who were hanging around waiting for employment all day, getting the same pay for a couple of hours work at the end of the day as the ones who were employed all day and who bore the ‘heat of the day’. 

 

I’ve always struggled with what I felt that story was teaching. It seems so wrong of the Landowner!

 

John Piper was preaching, in a sermon I heard the other day, about entitlement. He was talking about how we have such an “It’s all about me!” perspective on life. We have our rights. We expect things to be for our good, and that we’re owed stuff by people, and by life in general. 

 

Even that we’re owed stuff by God! If we don’t feel blessed, or feel hard done by in God’s service, will not our ingratitude raise it’s head and demand of the Lord what we feel we deserve? Some comfort, reward or respite?

 

I want to argue for a moment that really we have no rights. I read a brief piece in my late teens that has shaped me on this matter ever since. It is called “Others may; you cannot“. Well worth the read, believe me! 

 

If we got what we deserve it would not be pretty. We have been called to ‘die daily’ in service of Jesus. Our service is to and for Him. It’s all about Jesus. It’s also about others. If we get blessed (and we will be blessed) it is a by-product of our longing that HE get the honour and praise.

 

The thing that hit me in this story about the labourers was what the Landowner said to the grumbling labourers who worked all day … “Is it not lawful for me to do what I wish with my own things?”. It’s all about His perspective. If our focus is ‘our good’ then things will get skewed and we will feel cheated (of what “we’re entitled” to get!). If our focus is on what Jesus gets from us, it will look a whole lot different!

 

As you look at 2012, what do you feel? Honestly do you feel entitled to something from this year? Do you feel that it owes you something? Maybe because last year was rough on you? 

 

How are YOU looking at this year?