Friday, 04 June 2010
I was talking to a good friend of mine the other day and she said to me over the phone: "2010 has really been your year Eryn." Her words were so comforting and encouraging. She's a friend who has seen me in good, bad and the ugly. Coming from her, this simple affirmation meant the world to me. 2010 has indeed been my year. What is the difference between 2010 and the other 23 years of my life? I took God with me every single day this year.
I've failed, fallen short, harbored ungodly fear and doubt; but, I still relied on God anyway and He removed every fear and every doubt. A few months ago, fear and doubt were a way of life. Recently I've noticed that I'm able to actually enjoy my weekends and my free time. I have a sense of peace and rest. There's only been one set of footprints in the sand since January 1, 2010 and those have been God's.
There are a lot of people who will potentially scoff at my testimony. "Well I read the Bible every day and pray every night and I still don't see a difference." First off, I'm sorry that those people are experiencing spiritual stagnation. But trust me, wait on the Lord and He will renew your strength. If God is asking you to wait on Him, it's because He's asking you to truly love Him. Remember love is patient. And to love God, yourself or anyone else, you must be patient first.
Secondly, in order to escape spiritual stagnation, you have to become obedient to God's will. It's one of the less attractive parts of the Christian package; but, it's the most rewarding. There are unspeakable rewards for obedience. In the book Experiencing God, the author says that there are certain parts of God that we will only experience by obedience. Obedience includes but is not limited to: faithful church attendance, tithing (I can't stress that enough), serving, humility, and developing a "continuous love relationship with God that is real and personal". To save you time and additional angst, don't expect God's abundant blessings unless you commit to obedience. Obedience is a big bad "O" word that use to give me the willies. It doesn't anymore.
I used to rebel against all forms of authority because of my upbringing. When I was growing up, breathing too heavy was enough to get a verbal lashing. I'm not kidding. If I sought an answer as to why my behavior was wrong, I would get a spanking or just "Because I said so!" I effectively learned to hate and distrust all authority. Godly authority, discipline and obedience aren't this way at all. Godly authority is put in place to protect you and teach you how to live and have life more abundantly. God doesn't want us to only experience joy and happiness in the afterlife. He was us happy here too.
God loves us so much that He gives us free will to disobey Him and experience the consequences. You might have shaken your head at that last one. If God really didn't care for us at all, He would let us run a 'muck doing whatever we pleased and not letting us experience any ramifications. Sounds good on first thought doesn't it? It actually scares the hell out of me...literally. If God didn't let me see the err in my ways, I'm too ashamed to think of who I'd be. He let me go and live my life my way in order that I may learn that my way is no way.
God loves us even more to allow us to obey Him. When we obey God, we get locked into innumerable blessings, grace and mercy that do not apply to unbelievers or those who are rebellious. Some people might be shaking their heads no, but it's the truth. Romans 8:28 says: "For we know that all things work together for the greater good of those who love God.... Those who love God obey Him. All things do not work together for the greater good of those who don't love God and that's obvious in everyday life.
If your life is spiraling out of control at 110 miles per hour, take a look around and look at the fundamental principles of obedience. You might find your answers there. Granted, it's impossible to be 100% obedient to every law and decree because we're human. God convicts us all individually on what He wants us to change first. He doesn't ask you to change everything all at once.
God gives grace when we fall short of His standard. But if you're not doing the basics like attending church, tithing (again, I can't stress this enough), serving, praying and seeking Him daily, you will fall through the cracks. By disobeying God, you're making it harder for Him to preserver, protect and provide for you. David says in Psalms 119: 116 : "Sustain me according to your promises, and I will live. Do not let my hopes be dashed." Through obedience, God's promises are fulfilled and we are sustained. Our hope is secured.
Don't worry. The things that you like now will not appeal to you in the same way after you give your life to God. Alcoholic beverages won't be as tasty. Drugs won't be so tempting. Sex won't be as exciting (which isn't a completely bad thing.) He will change you from the inside out. When you life in disobedience you fight God. When you fight God, you're warring yourself and God...bad combo. Give in and give God the wheel. Sometimes back seat drivin' just ain't so bad.
How would you rate your spiritual obedience? Is your life coasting or are your afraid that at every minute of the day something can go wrong? Do you live from one crisis to the next?