The Relief of Release: Nothing Messes Up God’s Will

butterflies flying away out of jar

If there’s a burden you’re carrying.

You don’t have to carry it anymore.

It’s not up to you to carry it.

Release it.

The Lord can handle it.

“Cast your cares on the LORD and He will sustain you; He will never let the righteous be shaken,” says Psalm 55:22.

The worry that keeps you from sleep at night…the fear that halts you from moving forward…the stress over feeling like you have to do this and that to ensure God’s plan…whatever burden you’re overwhelmed with….…let God have it…He’s competent enough to take it from you and do something with it that will actually help you out.

But it’s hard to do sometimes.

Sometimes I like carrying around my burdens and worries.

They’re like pretty butterflies in a jar, not like chains. I forget that they’re actually the things weighing me down.

But I can’t release it out of fear that what I’m worried about will be lost forever if I stop worrying. I don’t want to let go and God never give me what I want because He assumes I’m fine now and not worried. So I keep my worries, burdens, and stress to myself, hoping it will get better. But it never does.

Yet, I fear that if I let go then I will for sure miss out.

I fear that releasing my worries to the Lord will ensure my permanent loss of what I hope for.

I fear that peace will replace my angst, and that in losing my angst, the hope, of which produced the angst, will be forever lost.

I don’t want to lose hope.

And as long as I have some angst, I have some hope.

But if I feel like all my angst is gone, I have nothing to hope in. Hope produces angst because I become restless in what I’m hoping in: thus, the angst.

So, what if I hope in something but want to eliminate my angst?

Is it possible?

Can I both hope and be at peace simultaneously?

I don’t know how to.

But I want to. This is my great predicament right now.

How do I be at peace while hoping in something? Hope makes me excited, on edge, restless, eager….not peaceful…

Because I’m anxiously awaiting that which I hope for…

But having no hope at all makes me discouraged, depressed, purposeless, weary…not peaceful.

So eliminating hope itself is not the answer to eliminating my angst. Eliminating hope is not the answer to peace.

But if hope causes me stress then what do I do?

What is the answer?

I couldn’t finish this part of the blog. Not until today.I haven’t been able to figure out the answer until God spoke to me through an Uber driver.

Yes, I said Uber.

On my way to the airport, I was talking to the Uber driver and she told me something.

She said, “If God wills for something to be in your life, ain’t nobody can stop it.”

I heard it, but I didn’t really hear it.

I didn’t really believe her. I just nodded my head. I’ve heard it before. And usually I’ve believed that too. But right then, I just didn’t believe it. Too many things in the way for me to believe that God could still accomplish His will.

But she kept going on about it.

“…ain’t nobody who can open a door that God shuts… ain’t nobody who can shut a door that God opens. Nothing gets in God’s way. He’s God.”

I started to think about what she said.

And questions wrestled in my mind…

Then why did that happen? If nothing can get in Your way, God, then why did this get messed up like this? Why do I feel like it’s up to me? Why do I feel like if I don’t do enough I won’t receive what You’ve willed? Why do I feel so much pressure to do everything myself? Why does everything get messed up even when I try to do the right thing?

Life, sin, my disobedience, others’ disobedience, the fallen world, unfavorable circumstances… all these things get in the way don’t they?

At least that’s what I’ve been believing.

I’ve been believing that there’s so many factors that hinder God’s will in my life and I’m terrified of doing anything that will mess up God’s will. I feel like I’ve already failed.

God’s will seems impossible to me.

Deep down, no matter how powerful I believe God to be, I also believe that I or someone else has the potential to mess up His plan. Thus, I feel like it’s up to me to make sure I don’t do that. And thus, the angst over what I’m hoping for.

This is the problem.

My burdens and worries are rooted in fear that God’s will is only possible if I do enough to make it happen. But I can never do enough. And it stresses me out more and more. 

But maybe, it’s not up to me. Maybe God really is more powerful than all of this. Maybe He can still accomplish His will even without me.

The Uber driver was right.

Nothing and nobody can get in the way of God.

Nothing and nobody can stop God from doing what He wants to do in my and your life.

Nothing and nobody will shut the door on His will.

Not even me.

Not even you.

Job knew this was true when he saw the faithfulness of God and the blessings that came after his time of being assaulted by the devil.

Job says this in Job 42:2,

“I know that You can do anything and no plan of Yours can be thwarted.”

Talk about confidence!

Yet Job questioned God a lot though his season of hardship.

And Job constantly went to other people asking then about why all the bad things were happening to him in His life. Nobody could give him an answer. It only made him more confused and more stressed out. Yet at the end of his life and in the last chapter recorded in the book of Job, we see that Job has shifted from angst to peace. He finally believes what the Uber driver believes and so told me: that nothing can stop God’s plan.

In Job 42:3b, Job goes on to say this when talking to God: “Surely I spoke of things I did not understand, things too wonderful for me to know.”

Job finally knew who He was talking to.

God.

Not somebody up in the sky distant from his life and pain.

Job finally understood that his angst, stress and burdens surrounding his hardship was fueled by his misunderstanding of God.

The same reason I was hesitant to believe my Uber driver when she told me nothing can get in the way of God’s plan is the same reason Job was questioning God. I was speaking and thinking of things I did not understand…I was seeing everything in my life as dependent on my ability, not God’s ability. I did not understand God. I did not fully understand His power.

The problem is that I thought God’s power was contingent on my activity.

But this is incorrect.

God’s power is contingent on my heart posture, not my activity.

Ephesians 2:8-9 says that we are saved by grace not by activities or works. So if we are saved by grace, aren’t we sustained by grace too? 1 Corinthians 1:8 says Jesus Christ will sustain us until the end. And if we are sustained to the end by God Himself and not by our own selves, then why do we put so much pressure on ourselves to achieve God’s will by works?

It’s not about works or activity.

It’s about seeking Jesus with our hearts.

“You will seek me and find Me when you seek Me with all of your heart,”

Jeremiah 29:13

We have to ask ourselves individually: How is my heart postured towards God?

→Does my heart seek Jesus Christ and long to follow His leading no matter what?

→Or is my heart cold and indifferent to Jesus, not caring to follow His leading?

This is the only thing that matters when it comes to God’s will.

Does your heart want God? Or not?

If you do, then God will lead you into His will.

“But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” – Matthew 6:33

A heart postured towards God, seeking Him and following Him, will never be able to thwart God’s will.

So… I am finding my solution: hope + peace simultaneously.

What a relief.

When I believe 100% that God’s plan for my life cannot be stopped, I can have peace in the midst of what I hope for.

I can release my angst, and trust that God will take care of what I hope for without my help.

Before, I thought it was up to me to “do enough” to help God’s plan happen in my life. I thought I needed to help Him out.

You see, I’m a very get-things-done, proactive, work-for-what-you-want kind of person and this has been hemorrhaging into my relationship with the Lord. I assume that if God wants something for me or I want something for me, I partner with Him to get it done. I feel like I have a responsibility as a human being to put my hands to the plow and be actively involved in what God is doing in my life. I can’t just sit back and do nothing. But I have gotten to the extreme of thinking that it’s all up to me. And that if I don’t do a certain thing – that I believe God could have used and multiplied in His way of orchestrating things – then I think I have messed up everything and delayed or even ruined what God wanted to do in my life. Thus, I feel incredibly stressed out, overwhelmed, burdened and anxious trying to make sure I do enough for God to have something to work with and that I don’t do anything stupid to mess up what He is doing. This has been causing me so much stress if you can imagine.

But now, I’m releasing this.

I’m releasing my belief that it all is up to me to achieve God’s will.

I cannot achieve God’s will.

Neither can you.

God’ will is a gift.

I call it a gift.

I call it a gift because whatever is wrapped up in “God’s will” for your life is the best thing you would have never even known to ask for. And if I would have never known to ask for it, then I also would have never known to work for it or help God achieve that which I didn’t even know existed. Thus, I can take the pressure off of myself. It’s not up to me anymore. It’s up to God.

Wow how this is so freaking freeing!!!!

I feel so light right now I cannot even describe.

Coming to this realization was like climbing Mount Everest for me.

I want you to see it and believe it too…

You don’t have to put pressure on yourself to achieve God’s will. If you are truly seeking the Lord, He will naturally guide you into it.

“I will instruct you and show you the way to go; with My eye on you, I will give counsel,” says the Lord in Psalm 32:8.

God gets more glory anyways when it’s only Him doing it.

And God likes getting all the glory.

He alone deserves it.

“Not to us, Yahweh, not to us, but to Your Name give glory because of Your faithful love, because of Your truth.” – Psalm 115:1

And also know… if God wants you to do something, He will tell you. If you are seeking the Lord, you know that there is a BIG difference between doing something because you think it is right and doing something because the Holy Spirit nudged you (Prov 3:5-6; John 14:26, 16:13; James 1:5-6; 1 John 4:1; Isaiah 58:11). This is helpful for me and anyone else who likes to be able to do something, while recognizing that it’s important to yield that autonomy to the Lord and let Him be the lead in our decisions and activities.

Relief rests in release.

Don’t feel like it’s a failure to release everything to Jesus.

It’s not.

But if you’re like me, you may feel that way. I don’t like to release something and let someone else be in charge. Then I don’t feel like I have any power.

However, we need to understand that it’s not healthy for us to have all the power.

It’s only healthy if God has all the power first. And then we let Him assign power, influence and authority that He wants us to have for specific reasons and giftings for His glory not ours.

Whatever you’re hoping to receive from the Lord, thank Him for that gift of hope.

Whatever you’re anxious about hoping for, release that to Jesus and know for certain that God can accomplish it in His own.

Whenever you feel like you’re out of control, release that to the Lord and find comfort in God knowing exactly what to do.

Whatever you feel like you’ve messed up His will, release that to Jesus and know that God is actually powerful enough to use it to your advantage as You seek Him.

Whatever you’re confused about, release that to Jesus and let Him guide you to the answer in due time.

Release…

Relief.

Release…

Relief.

Release…

Relief.

That burden you’re carrying… that hope that’s becoming too heavy… that striving after what you want the Lord to do………let Jesus have it.

Release it.

Give it to Him.

And let the peace of the Lord give you relief.

I pray for you that you would believe God is powerful enough to accomplish His will in your life. Even without your help. For if you are seeking Him, He will guide you there. God is not waiting on you to “do enough” so that you can be the one to achieve His will. God’s will is not something you achieve. It’s a gift. I pray you would believe it and receive peace. I pray blessings upon you and the Spirit of the Lord to be strong in you so that you will know His voice above all others. Thank you, Jesus for your patience and faithful love.

 

“For I, the LORD your God, hold your right hand; it is I who say to you, “Fear not, I am the One who helps you.”

–Isaiah 41:13 –

 

Questions for Today:

  • What is burdening me right now?
  • Why can’t I release it to the Lord?
  • Do I fear I will lose something?
  • Do I want control?
  • Can anything mess up God’s will?
  • How can I have peace amidst what I hope for?

 

“Call Upon the Lord” by Elevation Worship

Seasons of Life

seasons

Life is full of seasons.

Seasons of health.
Seasons of sickness.
Seasons of pressure.
Seasons of ease.
Seasons of excitement.
Seasons of disappointment.
Seasons of joy.
Seasons of despair.
Seasons of contentment.
Seasons of frustration.

These seasons, or cycles, of good and bad perpetuate in my life. And I’m starting to see that it’s the case for others as well.

Seasons that cultivate happiness and joy are a wonderful part of life.

I’ve experienced seasons where I felt content in the Lord, not needing anything but Him. Feeling full of peace and free from anxiety…

But as soon as I start to experience the consistency of a season of contentment, God allows difficulties into my life.

Why would God do that?
Why would God allow me to be jolted out of a season of contentment?

Wouldn’t He want me to remain content in Him?

It’s got me thinking…
There must be something in my season of contentment that is not pleasing to God.

There must be something in me that God needs to change.

And that can only be done through allowing difficulties into my life.

Thus, God ushers me into a more challenging season.

Philippians 1:6 says this:

“I am sure of this, that He who started a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.”

God is doing a work in you and I.

And that involves work in our hearts, souls, and minds because those are the parts of us that controls us.

So maybe difficult seasons are necessary to overall contentment, because God is maturing my heart, soul and mind.

Why?

Because I discover significantly more about God, about myself, about others, and about the world when I’m in a season of difficulty than I do in a season of temporal contentment.

God wants me to reach eternal contentment…in Him. And that is not possible now. But one day it will be. When we see Christ, we will have eternal, permanent contentment in the Lord and His work in us will be complete (Revelation 21-22).

So seasons are necessary.

But it’s hard to transition out of one season to the next.

Whether it’s transitioning to a season that’s comforting or transitioning to a season that’s challenging, the change in itself can frighten me.

*If I’ve been experiencing a season of happiness and contentment… and then I enter into a season of trials… I can get really overwhelmed and discouraged in that transition…

It takes me a while to receive what God is wanting to teach me and be happy about it, because of my own fleshly disappointment about what’s not going my way.

*If I’ve been experiencing a season of difficulty and depression… then I enter into a season of relief and comfort from the Lord… I can feel very skeptical and cynical at first…

It takes me a while to receive God’s invitation to find rest in Him, because of my own fleshly disbelief that anything good could happen now.

So the transition between seasons of life can almost be the hardest part in our growth with the Lord.

Because our flesh comes out in that moment of uncertainty and confusion.

And our trust in God is tested.

And we really have to depend on Him by the Spirit of God.

Romans 8:6 is one of my favorite verses. It says this,

For the mind-set of the flesh is death, but the mind-set of the Spirit is life and peace.

And as we transition into a new season, we are forced to cling to the Holy Spirit for comfort and guidance because we have no way of knowing where God is taking us.

So it’s in the transition that we go to a deeper level with God.

Doesn’t matter if it’s a good season/bad season transition, or a bad season/good season transition…

Both seasonal transitions test our faith in God.

Both test our allegiance to Him.

And in the transition God teaches us something new and remarkable that we never would have been able to learn had we not been in that initial season to begin with.

Because as we look back, we gain something like 20/20 vision and our former season of life all the sudden makes sense and becomes meaningful.

Necessary actually.
It becomes necessary.
So seasons of life are necessary.
Seasons of life are unavoidable.

We cannot remain in one season of life forever.

It’s inevitable that things will change.

So how do we deal, though, in the middle of a less than favorable season?

Sure, everyone loves the season of peace and blessings…

But how do we cope in a season of difficulty?
How do we make it until we get out?
Maybe it’s not about “making it until we get out.”

Maybe it’s about letting that season run its course.

And letting God be in control of it.

As long as He wants it to last.

I’m trying to ask the Lord from now on to reveal beauty to me within a season of difficulty. 

For me I’ve been experiencing a very low season of life, which has got me thinking a lot about the ups and downs we face.

It’s been a season of discouragement, crisis of purpose, and questions of why am I here. Confusion about what God is doing plagues me almost every day. And I’ve never been more restless in my relationship with the Lord as I have in the past few months. Anxiety and pressure of everything in my life made me feel so overwhelmed that I started skipping classes. I didn’t know how to handle the way I was feeling. And I don’t like feeling that way. I don’t like feeling out of control of myself and my emotions. It got so bad that by October I stopped going to all my classes but 1. I stopped turning in my assignments. I wanted to drop out. I didn’t want to be in seminary anymore. And I will have to face the consequences of that. So I decided to change my program but I still feel discouraged about it. I just don’t know what God wants from me.

But God has used this time to really grow my dependency on Him in a way that I’ve never experienced before.

God needed to work on my soul in a lot of areas.

God needed to rip a lot of things out of me and make me deal with issues.

God needed to humble me.

God needed to remind me who He is to me.

God needed to show me how futile my life is in light of His holiness.

God needed to teach me a lot.

And I’m very thankful for His grace on me in that. But it’s hard experiencing a low season.

I feel like a complete failure.

And I have no idea what I’m supposed to do with my life. Now I fear that this season will never end yet I’m scared about what the next season may bring. I don’t really know how to feel. I have no idea what God is doing.

Yet I believe God allowed this season in my life for a purpose. 

I’m very thankful for what He’s taught me.

So I’m not going to keep exhausting myself trying to escape this season anymore. I need to let God leave me in the place He wants me for however long He wants. For I know that He is changing my heart for the better. And I pray He will strengthen me in the moments I’m weak.

I’m seeing now how God weaves together all the seasons of life we experience to grow us, humble us, prepare us, and pour out wisdom into our lives.

And through that, we will start to appreciate the difficult seasons.

For we learn so much more in the difficult season than we do in the easy season.

God is so smart to paint seasons here in this world.

It’s beautiful in nature.

But it’s more beautiful reflected in our lives.

Things grow in season…
die in season…
regenerate in season…
bloom in season…
…So it is with the way God cultivates the hearts of His people.

John chapter 15 says if we remain in Christ, we will bear fruit in season.

In SEASON. Not before season. Not after season. But IN season.

And each season has certain fruit God wants to produce in you.

Whether it’s humility, openness, confidence, trust, faith, generosity, discipline, surrender, etc…

…different seasons bring along unique experiences, lessons and challenges that God uses to produce fruit in us.

Despite your season of life, you will be GLAD once you see how God has changed you for the better!

So if you are discouraged right now in a difficult season, know that it won’t last forever.

Something is dying, yes, but He will regenerate the seed He planted.

Let Him.

God is good at growing things.

For He is the One in charge of seasons. He is in charge of everything. And His desire is to grow you and make you into His image.

Let Him.

I pray for you that God would remind you how actively involved He is in your life and how intentional He is about growing you into His beautiful son or daughter. I pray that you would find meaning in whatever season you are in. I pray we would all ask God to reveal to us boldly by His Spirit all that He is doing in our lives to implant wisdom and prepare us for what’s next. May we find joy in all the various seasons of life. For our God is at work. And He is good at what He does. Thank You, God, for Your kindness to move in our lives.

“We all, with unveiled faces, are looking as in a mirror at the glory of the Lord and are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory; this is from the Lord who is the Spirit.”

-2 Corinthians 3:18-

Questions for Today:

  • What does God want to teach me in this season of life I’m in right now?
  • How does God use seasons in our lives to grow us in maturity? to prepare us?
  • As I look back on my life, how do I see God’s hand at work through various seasons of my past?
  • Why is it difficult to transition between one season to the next?
  • How can I appreciate the seasons of life that God allows into my life?

“Shine A Light” by Elevation Worship

 

 

“I trust You, God. But…”

sitting on rock

God has been testing me lately in how and why I trust in Him. With opportunities arising that I’ve been excited about and the potential for entering into a new season of stability, it’s ironically been a rocky past couple of weeks.

God’s challenging me about all of the things that I’ve always thought would bring me stability.

And ultimately, it has revealed my hollow trust in Him. It’s challenged how confident I am to believe that He would be able to get things done even when everything else gets in the way.

Preparing for a potential full-time job opportunity, I’ve been so excited at the idea of this finally giving me the stability that I want and the chance to get my finances in order. But it’s been such a tumultuous and taxing experience going about the whole process. Getting my hopes up. Feeling inadequate. Worrying over things I can’t control. Doubting God’s ability.

And on top of all that, God keeps asking me why I really want this job.

I keep ignoring Him on the topic.

I don’t really like that question. I feel like God already knows why I want the job. And it just came out of nowhere anyways so He should know that it would be good for me even more than I do. He knows that it would be helpful for me. Why do you keep asking me, God? I’ve been thinking.

So I keep telling Him that I just want to be responsible and have more financial stability. I’ve told Him it would help prepare me for the future. That it would make me happy. That I would enjoy the work. And yet I feel a kind of brokenness in my heart about it when talking to the Lord. I keep trying to convince myself that this job must be from Him and that all of my desires for why I think it would be a good thing should line up with what He wants as well.

But I realized today that I’ve been looking at it wrong.

Now I know why He’s kept asking me that question.

I’ve been so fixated on the potential to finally have a full-time normal day job that I’ve been doubting God’s ability to provide for me long-term should I not get it. I’ve been doubting God’s love for me should I not get it. I’ve been doubting my ability and my competence in God’s eyes should I not get it. And I’ve been trusting in this potential job as my ticket to fixing all my financial and time-schedule problems.

I haven’t been trusting God.

When I came to seminary I knew it was going to be a big sacrifice. I knew it was not going to be easy. I knew it could end up costing me a lot in various areas of life.

But every single time that an opportunity arises that I perceive as a gift of relief, or something that would make life easier on me, I run after it.

I start to dwell on it in my mind.

I start to think about how all of my problems could be solved. I start to make excuses for why I deserve it. I start to think that God is finally giving me something to let me take the easy road. I start to trust in the idea of this opportunity that I want.

And I forget about God’s ability to be more for me than all of that.

I forget about all of the times that God has already provided for me. I forget about all the prayers He’s answered. I forget about all the times that He’s surprised me with gifts I never even knew I wanted deep down. I forget that God knows the things about me that I don’t even know about myself. I forget that He’s the only One who has seen me every second of the day and still remains with me.

I forget that God is enough.

I say, I trust You, God. But I don’t trust this situation. I trust You, God. But I don’t trust the people making the decision. I trust You, God. But I don’t trust that I came across the right way. I trust You, God. But there are so many other factors in my path that can mess things up. I trust You, God. But…………

The list can go on and on.

And that’s a problem.

This is why → I can’t say that I trust God if I add a “But…”.

I can’t say both that I trust God but that I don’t trust the variables that I perceive as in the way…when God is sovereign over all of those variables anyway…because He is the one who created every single thing in the universe and allows things to even operate and function and play out and exist the way they do. Do I think God is not powerful enough to handle the way that a sinful world works? Do I think God is not in control over everything? Do I think God is limited by human actions and things getting in the way?

I’ve had to ask myself these questions. And thankfully the Lord is showing me how preposterous it is to doubt Him.

God is sovereign even when other things seem to get in the way.

He is always sovereign.

And I’ve had to realize that.

Nothing can get in God’s way. When He sets out to do something, He causes things to work out in His favor, not in the enemy’s favor.

Romans 8:28 says, “We know that all things work together for the good of those who love God: those who are called according to His purpose.”

Paul goes on in that chapter of Romans to talk about how God fashions us into the image of His Son, using all that happens in our lives as ingredients in that process. And nothing that happens to us will ever separate us from Him while in that process. Nothing. Even when bad things happen, God is there and He is taking care of it all. He knows just what to do.

No matter how many crazy things happen that seem to get in the way of where we are going or what we are hoping in, God is the one who decides how everything unfurls. He’s helping me to trust Him more. And I’m so thankful for this gift. This gift of peace. This gift of trust. Because it sure isn’t from myself. It’s God’s mercy alone that by His Spirit He cultivates an ability within us to trust in Him at all.

I’m learning that having a faulty trust in God will get me nowhere.

It’s a hollow trust.

A hollow faith, really.

Just as James writes to the Jewish believers who were all scattered about in the 1st century and struggling to remain steadfast in the faith, James 1:6-7 says this:

“But let him ask in faith without doubting. For the doubter is like the surging sea, driven and tossed by the wind. That person should not expect to receive anything from the Lord.”

This passage in context talks about enduring trials with joy because of the good that it does within a person to build perseverance, character and perfection through Christ. He goes on to talk about the testing of one’s faith and an appropriate response as one remaining true to Christ. For me, this passage has been very helpful because what James was talking about when he addressed the Jewish believers in his letter is still something that we struggle with today: responding to trials. And one of the greatest trials I have faced is trusting God 100%.

I’ll tell myself sneakily that I’m not failing to trust God, but that I just don’t trust everything else around me.

But again, an “I trust You, God. But…” response is not trust at all.

It is a hollow trust.

A hollow faith.

I have to trust God 100%.

Even if the worst happens. I still have to trust that God is able and that God is good.

What’s helped me the most today in seeing that God is worthy to be trusted is thinking about just how beautiful God is. How desirable He is. How satisfying He is. How loving He is. How powerful He is. How unimaginably great He is. I love reading Revelation. Reading about Jesus in His glory, knowing that He came to earth throwing all of that away in such humility. But one day we will see Him for who He is. When I think about the God I know and read about in His Word, I can’t help but to get so excited about seeing Him. And one day, I finally will. That is enough to help me endure whatever the heck I have to endure here in this life. It won’t last forever. But the real forever is worth the wait. The day I get to finally be with my King forever is worth every hard thing I have to go through down here. So if I have to struggle my whole life, I guess that’s okay with me. I’m not about to give up God. I’m not about to miss the moments I can have with Him here. He’s too good to give up.

I’m starting to see that He really is enough.

Even if I don’t get all the things that I hope for.

Even if I don’t get this big job.

God is still good.

God is still for me.

God is still mine.

And He’s for you too.

Someone needs to know that…that God is on your side in whatever pain you are going through right now. Remember that there is no hint of evil in Him. God’s not putting you through that for meanness or spite. Let your situation draw you nearer to Him. Let it cultivate endurance and perseverance within you just like it says in James chapter 1. It’s a good thing to experience trials.

Sometimes, what happens to us is just a casualty in the cause of making us into who God wants us to be.

We have to learn how to get past our painful experiences so that we can take hold of the wisdom that God has given to us on account of that pain.

When we’re tempted to say, “I trust You, God. But…” may we remember that God deserves all of our trust. Not 50%. Not 75%. Not even 99.99%. God deserves 100% of our trust. And He’s able. I used to think that God Himself was trustworthy but not everything else, and then would end up doubting God’s power over all of those things. But I see now that if God is sovereign, He is ultimately trustworthy despite all the variables around me.

I pray for you and me that we would trust God despite all the distractions and logical reasons to say that God isn’t able. I pray for you and me that we would see God as so beautiful and desirable that our hearts would look towards our future with Him, eclipsing every struggle that seems overwhelming right now. May we receive God’s grace as we even still fail in trying to trust Him, asking Him to give us strength by His Holy Spirit to trust Him more.

 

“Worthy are You, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for You created all things, and by Your will they existed and were created.”

–Revelation 4:11 –

Questions for Today:

  • Do I tend to be distrusting of God because of the circumstances around me?
  • Why should I trust God with those things?
  • How can I know that God is worthy of my trust?
  • What situation in my life am I struggling to trust God with 100%?
  • What next step is God asking me to take in my relationship with Him today?

“In Over My Head” by Bethel Music ft. Jenn Johnson

 

 

God Knows Exactly What to Do

diving board feet2

I thought I was making good progress when it came to trusting in God’s ways. I wrote about the topic several months ago. I’ve been striving to let the Lord lead me to the places He wants to take me, even if that means traversing a very different road than I would have thought. And I’m seeing that it’s a beautiful thing. To let Him lead. To see what He sees as beautiful.

But I’ve been facing so many doubts lately.

Wondering if I’m really hearing from God or if I’m telling myself things. Doubting God’s voice when what I see doesn’t look like anything is happening. And it’s caused me to notice a pattern lately: Not knowing what God is doing in my life…followed by discouragement.

I like to know what’s coming.

I like to know what God is doing.

But I’m realizing I don’t get to have that security clearance, if you will.

Knowing what God is up to is like a whole other secret level of a building that I don’t have access to.

And I’m learning that the hard way right now.

I feel like I’m at a point where I am ready for the next phase of my life. And I feel more prepared now than I ever have been.

But it’s as if I’m at the end of a diving board…waiting to jump in… and I’m getting a Wait from the one in charge.

And it took me a while to get up to this spot. Climbing a diving board ladder knowing that the jump is going to be scary, and seeing the dreadful height and the distance between yourself and the ground… it’s terrifying. But eventually you commit to take the risk. You stand there, feet lifting off the ground, and you decide to jump. It took a lot for God to get me to this point. And after all that, I can’t even jump. He’s telling me to wait. At least right now. So I’ve resorted to sitting down and waiting for my chance to jump. I’m not going to give up that easily. Not now. But it’s tempting to want to give up sometimes, isn’t it? It’s tempting to doubt what God is saying when so many things try to indicate otherwise.

So I’ve had to bring my discouragements to God, asking Him to show me how I can respond in this time of confusion.

And God’s been trying to help me see that it’s not that He’s trying to keep me from what I think I’m ready for, but that what I’m jumping into may not be ready.

God has other things that He has do first. My situation is not just about me. There will be many other people involved. And so He has to ready them as well and the whole situation.

He probably still has things to do in me too that can only be done in this time of waiting.

But right now, it’s hard for me to trust God because I don’t know what He wants me to do.

I know what I would do.

I know what I want to do.

I know what I am fully capable of doing.

Others have told me it’s not wise to take any of these plans of action. So I’m back to square one. Not knowing what God would have me do. It’s quite a predicament.

But the problem here is that I’m putting all of my trust in what I am supposed to be doing that I am missing out on what God wants to do.

I’m putting too much trust in myself.

We can learn a lot about this dilemma of trusting in ourselves verses trusting God by looking at the way God interacted with His chosen people, Israel, throughout history.

In the first few books of the Bible, anytime Israel became confused about God’s ways towards them, they became frustrated and would complain.

The Israelites complained about leaving Egypt, wanting to go back because the journey was too long. They complained about not having any food in the wilderness, forgetting that God had already been providing for them. They complained about all of the people they thought were against them, even though God had already told them He would defeat them. They rebelled against God time and time again. They struggled to trust Him. And it caused them a lot of grief and tumultuous experiences. But God remained. God kept pursuing them. Even when it seemed like God had forgotten His people, He sent Jesus to break the silence of all Old Testament scripture, initiating grace and final redemption for the benefit of the whole world. And He will save a remnant of Israel. God never intends to give up on them.

I was convicted recalling this. Reminding myself that confusion over what God is doing is always an instinct because of our humanity, but never a mature thing to do. It’s wise to be okay with uncertainty.

My favorite verse is Proverbs 3:5 which tells us to not trust in our own understanding. I have to go back to that verse over and over again because I’m a person who tries to make sense of things way too much. I would analyze the peculiarities of a ping pong match if it would bring me more momentary clarity.

But God doesn’t always need me to understand.

He knows what to do.

Even when I am clueless.

We don’t have to let confusion cloud our vision.

Believe that God has a purpose for what He does. Even when it’s confusing.

Ultimately, I need to stop focusing on God’s ways and start trusting in God’s character.

2 Peter 3:9 says this, “The Lord is not slow to fulfill His promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing any should perish, but that all should reach repentance” (emphasis mine).

1 John 1:5 says, “This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light, and in Him is no evil at all” (emphasis mine).

Psalm 18:30 says, “God, His way is perfect. The Word of the Lord proves true. He is a shield for all those who take refuge in Him” (emphasis mine).

God’s ways will always confuse me.

I’m not God.

Never gonna be.

So if I can get to the point where I am confident that God’s character is good, I will be much more at peace with what He is doing behind the scenes.

For His character motivates His ways.

So if His character is good, then His ways are also good.

In the last movie of The Hobbit series, there was a scene that really stood out to me. The dragon is terrorizing the town, scorching the town with his fiery flames. Bard, one of the main characters, shoots arrows at the dragon from a tall lookout. But to no avail. Then he sees that his son has come up there with him. At first he is worried for his son’s safety, but then the son gives him a long spear that he can use. So as Bard sees the dragon coming straight at him and his son, he positions the spear on his son’s shoulder using him as the support for the spear. All the while, the son has his back to the dragon. He keeps looking over his shoulder with fright as the dragon is headed their way. And Bard says, “Hey…you look at me. You look at me.” And as the son looks at his father, the father shoots the spear and kills the dragon. They fall with the crash but survive and save the town from the threat of the dragon.

Ever since I saw that movie I haven’t been able to forget that scene. (You can Watch it here.)

I’m sure the son was so fearful, not knowing what would happen with a dragon unseen coming his way and a deadly spear resting on his shoulder. But he trusted that his father’s way of killing the dragon was good, so he yielded to him in that moment. It is such a brilliant picture of how we are to look to God in moments of fear and uncertainty. Not the threat. Not our circumstances. We look at God. We focus on Him. All the while He is using us more than we realize to accomplish what He wants to do. And He will take care of us.

I have to remember that in confusing moments, God is working both for my good and the good of others.

When we read the Bible, we see that God is good at leading His people where He wants them to be, even despite their own incompetence.

You and I can rest assured of God’s competence to lead us to where He wants us to be.

And that’s exciting really. Id’ rather be led by God than to be led by my own self. I wouldn’t take me to the best destination. I would mess it all up. But God won’t. He’s not capable of messing anything up. There’s no one in the whole universe who has more power over things than Him. He will not get it wrong.

It may take time.

But we need to appreciate that God is trying to cultivate something.

Most of the time, God leads us to where He wants us to be by changing our desires.

If we ask Him to, He will open our eyes to what He wants for us and then He shows us how beautiful it is. And then we will want it too. He will start to lead us in that direction by the very fact that we are now compelled to go that way. And our desires will line up with His desires.

Psalm 37:4 says, “Delight yourself in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart.” This is not saying that God will just give you what you want. I think it’s saying God has created us with certain desires that He cultivates to be useful in where He wants to take us when we give our lives to Him. And that He will implant in our hearts His desires so that we will desire what He wants for us, if we ask Him to. Ask Him. See if He won’t do it.

I will never understand God’s ways of creating something from nothing. I don’t have that ability.

But God knows exactly what He is doing.

Exactly what He is doing.

Exactly what He is doing.

We may say:

But God, what if…

God says, “I know exactly what to do.”

But God, I don’t think that will work.

God says, “I know exactly what to do.”

But God, it’s already a hopeless situation now.

God says, “I know exactly what to do.”

But God, I’m not good enough.

God says, “I know exactly what to do.”

But God, I’m not cut out for it.

God says, “I know exactly what to do.”

God knows exactly what He is doing. He knows how to get things done. And He’s pretty dang good at it too. He can do something in a second that we try for years to accomplish. Read the Bible and see all the instances where God does something amazing in the midst of hopelessness and improbability. God is able. And He’s smart too.

Before I used to get frustrated when God didn’t answer my prayers in a big way how I wanted Him to. I thought I needed to help God out. Man, was that a dumb thought. I would say, Come on God don’t you like my idea? I know just the thing to do, God, I am ready to go! Or I have a great way that this situation would all work out if you could just let happen. And God’s telling me, Though I love that you want to be proactive in this with Me, I want to lead you, not the other way around. I want to do something that’s even better than your ideas. Wait and let me.

God knows just the perfect thing to do. And He will do it.

If we can be patient.

I think sometimes, God doesn’t allow certain things to take place yet, because He wants us to wait for the “sweet” moments. The moments He’s creating. The moments He’s leading us towards. And because of our own human limitations, we may never know what that is or what to even anticipate. Until it happens. And we are filled joy beyond anything we could ever know.

To God, even little moments can be “sweet” as they all fit together to create the most detailed, stunning mosaic. We need to let God do what He wants to do.

It will be much better anyways when He does what He wants to do. And we can give Him more glory and have a much better story to tell.

There is so much more going on within our daily lives than just ourselves. God works for the benefit of His people collectively just as much as He works in each person to refine him or her. God will deliver in the best way so that it benefits as many people as possible.

Keep believing that God is able to do exactly what needs to be done in your situation. He knows. He’s aware. And He loves you far too much to remain idle. He will move on your behalf. And He will most definitely fill you with joy and satisfaction in Him along the way.

And when God says it’s time to jump…He will give us the green light.

I pray for you and me that when we don’t understand what God is doing, that we will trust that His character is good. I pray that we would appreciate God’s process of creating. I also pray that we would be yielded to Him, so that when the time comes He will lead us in what to do next when He has a step for us to take. Sometimes He leads us without us even knowing, as He changes our hearts to act according to His will. May we position our hearts and souls in a spot where we can be steered by the Lord, and then we don’t have to try so hard to force anything but can be at peace knowing God has been at work all along.

 “For it is God who is working in you, enabling you both to desire and to work out His good purpose.”

-Philippians 2:13-

Questions for Today:

  • When I’m tempted to doubt what God is doing in my life, why is it important that I remember His character is good?
  • How can I ask God to help me with uncertainty?
  • Why is it important that God should cultivate His desires within me?
  • Am I believing that God knows exactly what to do?
  • What situation in my life is God asking me to trust Him with?

“Say The Word” by Hillsong UNITED

God’s Way or My Way

Gods way and my way

As God refines us and prunes us to be more fruitful as John 15 describes, He often allows us to tread waters we were never meant to tread on our own. He lets us face seemingly overwhelming circumstances as He filters through the motivations of our hearts and tests our genuineness. It is in this place where we are met with the challenge of pursuing God even when it makes more sense to us to go our own way, as we can be blinded to the beauty of what God has in store.

Though God might make it extremely clear to me which way I should go, I will never be forced to follow God’s way. It’s a choice flowing from His plan of free will for our lives. But the way we choose to go will determine what kind of life we live and what kind of relationship we have with our God.

But if I’m honest, I wrestle with this choice in the moments where I’m tempted to consider my plans over the sovereignty of God.

I don’t like it when I take time to plan something in detail and then it all ends up completely different. I don’t like it when I can’t be in total control of my surroundings. I don’t like it when my path is not clear. My plans become seemingly wasted. And what I thought would and should happen just falls apart. If I’m not careful to align my thoughts with scripture, I can get incredibly anxious and worrisome. I get doubtful with God and go back and forth with Him about how I don’t understand why everything I thought would happen just isn’t happening.

But I’m having to learn how to be flexible in the Potter’s hands as it says in Isaiah 64:8, letting Him shape my plans to fit His design and purpose not mine. I’m having to learn how to ask God for help in considering the way I should go, instead of just going on my own. I’m learning to let go of what I want, so I can be open to what He wants instead.

In this process of refining, God is showing me that any moment of temptation to go my own way is rooted in much more than my need to be able to plan and anticipate. My moments of doubt and mistrust are rooted in my misperceptions of God.

When I considered this, I thought, surely God I know you, don’t I? Surely I don’t have any misperceptions of You? I study You’re word, how can I have a wrong view of You?

But God started excavating my heart, revealing to me every moment where I have misinterpreted God in my mind:

If I view God as One who wants to control rather than protect, I will never draw near to Him. I will resist Him.

If I view God as One who wants to misdirect me rather than lead me, I will never submit to Him. I will be suspicious of Him.

If I view God as One who wants to punish me rather than love me, I will never open my heart to Him. I will remain distant from Him.

If I view God as One who wants to rob me rather than bless me, I will never trust Him. I will doubt Him.

If I view God as One who wants me to suffer more than He wants me to enjoy life, I will never experience Him. I will only experience the God I think I’ve figured out.

If I view God as One who is not as desirable as other things, I will never experience His satisfying love. I will miss out on the best thing in the universe.

All these misperceptions of God will stain our intimacy with Him! And all of these misperceptions could not be further from the truth of who our God really is:

For God is the protector of the weak, who watches over His beloved.

“I keep the Lord in mind always. Because He is at my right hand, I will not be shaken.” – Psalm 16:8

“But the Lord is faithful. He will establish you and guard you against the evil one.” – 2 Thess 3:3

For God is the trustworthy leader, who guides His own as a loving Father.

“God will instruct me and teach me in the way I should go. He will guide me with His eye.” – Psalm 32:8

“The Spirit of truth has come and He is guiding me into all truth. He will tell me things to come.” – John 16:13

For God can’t help Himself but to love His beloved and has never desired to punish us.

“Yahweh your God is among you, a warrior who saves. He will rejoice over you with gladness. He will bring you quietness with His love.
He will delight in you with shouts of joy.”– Zephaniah 3:17

“For God did not send His Son into the world that He might condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through Him.” – John 3:17

For God is the blessing Himself.

“Fear not, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.” – Luke 12:32

“The kingdom of heaven is like a treasure hidden in a field. When a man found it, he hid it again, and then in his joy went and sold all he had and bought that field.” – Matthew 13:44

For God takes pleasure in our enjoyment of life and isn’t allowing suffering out of spite, but out of care and nurturing.

“With long life I will satisfy him and show him my salvation.” – Psalm 91:16

 “I have come that they may have life and have it in abundance.” –John 10:10

“Now the God of all grace, who called you to His eternal glory in Christ Jesus, will personally restore, establish, strengthen, and support you after you have suffered a little.” – 1 Peter 5:10

For God is the best thing that exists.

“But I will see Your face in righteousness; when I awake, I will be satisfied with Your presence.” – Psalm 17:15

“Because Your steadfast love is better than life, my lips will praise you.” – Psalm 63:3

“Our Lord and God, You are worthy to receive glory and honor and power, because You have created all things, and because of Your will they exist and were created.” – Revelation 4:11

As I get to know God better, I’m finding that His way is always the best way.

And because His way is best, I don’t have to be upset when my plans fall apart. For my plans are lesser when compared to His greatness.

I should rather be totally overjoyed that anything I try to accomplish is outdone by my God who loves me and wants greater things for me than I want for myself.

I don’t know about you, but I need this truth of who God is on repeat in my mind reminding me of what’s true. I don’t have to worry about all the negativity. I don’t have to fixate on everything that I think is wrong either. That’s not the point. I just need to meditate on His truth reminding me of who He is…and He is rewiring me to think a different way.

To consider problems as ingredients for God’s miracles. To see darkness as an opportunity for the Lord to shine His glory. To recognize confusing moments as moments of God working on my behalf in ways unknown. To find delight in my skewed plans. To think of God as truly the Lord of all and over all.

He’s teaching me about who He is. That’s what He’s doing. Before when I started to consider this issue of God’s way versus my way, I thought He just wanted to teach me something concerning my spirituality or wanted to rid my heart of impurities, and sure He is doing both of these things…but these things were never God’s main goal in my heart…they were byproducts.

The main goal of God is for me to know Him.

To truly know Him. Who He is and how he operates. And this comforts my soul, to know that God just ultimately wants to be known by me and wants to let me know that I am known by Him. This is a kind of intimacy that fuels a faith of love with the Lord. And I so desperately want that. I beg God to bring me to that place… Where I start to notice God’s attributes and character as reflected in the way He moves in my life, rather than looking at my life and then pleading with God to do something about it, missing the beauty of who He actually is.

My Lord is so much more than anything I ever thought. He will always be more and I will never have Him figured out. And this brings rest and peace, because there have been times when I have expected God to act in a certain way and then we He didn’t I was so confused. But I see now that God’s essence is so unfathomable that I am so unfitting to try and understand His ways.

Isaiah 55:8-9 says this,

“For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
neither are your ways my ways,”
declares the Lord.
“As the heavens are higher than the earth,
so are my ways higher than your ways
and my thoughts than your thoughts.”

He will always be so much more than I expect.

I am confident that He is worth more, deserving of more, and due every part of me that I try to hold back from Him. He is worth my complete devotion. And ultimately, my trust.

Now He’s asking me to relinquish the things that I’m holding on to so tightly with closed fists. I fear that if I let certain things go, I will never get it back and that I will miss out on something great. And in that conclusion I’ve really missed the point. For as I revisit the attributes above that I know are true about God, I know that God Himself is worth far more than anything I would every try to hold on to. I have no reason to fear. I have no reason to doubt God’s heart for me or His love for me. And I so desperately want to please God. I want Him to love me. I need Him to love me.

So as I come to Him with my closed fists, I ask Him to help me let go of what I’m holding on to…because I have a hard time letting go on my own. And He gently opens my hands and asks me, will you trust me? Will you let me remove these counterfeit things so that I can fill you heart with real joy and real love? I say, yes God, I want to, please show me how and help me to lay it down before You.

As agonizing as it is, I find that I have to do this over and over every single day.

Actually, it’s more like over and over throughout the day. I thought surrendering to God and letting go of these desires of my heart would be a one-time deal. That after I got over the monumental decision to let go that I wouldn’t struggle with it anymore. But that hasn’t been a reality for me.

I have to bring my heart back to God every single moment that I am tempted to doubt His request to give Him all of me. I have to ask Him to reaffirm to me that I have done the right thing. I have to ask Him to renew my joy. I have to ask Him to let me know that He really does have a plan and that He’s not just putting me through this for nothing. I have to plead with Him to give me peace.

Then He does. And I know that He is with me.

Though this persists as a tumultuous, continual cycle of struggling… surrendering… and seeking after Him, I’ve never felt more loved and cared for by God than I do right now.

I sense His nearness to me in a way I’ve never felt as strongly and I know that I just need Him so much. I can’t get through the day without Him. This feeling is not something I want to give up.

He’s teaching me to default into trusting Him rather than trusting in my own plans. Through this journey I’m starting to see Him as One who is far more desirable than everything else that I desire. And though it’s still a struggle for me at times, it’s becoming easier to choose God’s way over my way. His plan over mine. His request over mine. I’m getting to know Him and He is so worth it.

I’m so thankful for how the Lord works in the hearts of his beloved, drawing us to Himself in a way that satisfies us, even despite our doubt and wavering trust. He is still faithful. Even when we’re not. For He never changes. What a comfort.

I pray that you would be filled with the peace of God, knowing that He cares about you far more than you could ever imagine. I pray that you would be led by the Holy Spirit in whatever situation you are facing, experiencing life with our God in a way that surpasses every other thing pining for your attention. I pray that you would be ever aware of Christ’s nearness to you. And I pray that we all would choose God’s way over our own and that in the moments where we struggle to let go of what we hold on to, that the Lord would reveal Himself as so glorious and beautiful in our hearts that we would trust Him no matter what. May we truly get to know Him and learn how to walk with Him in faith.

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding.  In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight.”

– Proverbs 3:5-6

Questions for Today:

  • What is keeping me from choosing God’s way?
  • Do I struggle to believe that God wants better things for me than I want for myself?
  • Why is it significant to have an accurate view of God?
  • What next step is Jesus asking me to take in my relationship with Him today?

“Anchor” by Bethel Worship ft Leah Valenzuela

A Tainted Love and The Sandwich of Trust

IMG_20141110_124428587

The farther I traverse this life with my Savior, I find that He is so complex. So unfathomable. So brilliant. So indescribable. And yet as I get to know Him more and more, I become increasingly aware of how sinful I truly am.

Though I desire to know Jesus and pursue Christlikeness, I struggle with my own propensity to do things that break the heart of God. As Paul discusses in Romans 7:15 & 24, “I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate…who will deliver me from this body of death?” Paul goes on to exclaim, “Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord!” in Romans 7:25, that we will be rescued in full from our sinful condition through Jesus Christ.

In this life, we will have trouble, as John 16:33 says, but Jesus reminds us that He has overcome the world. Therefore we can have peace.

There are days when I am confident with this peace that Jesus has overcome the world and that I stand before Him complete.

But there are other days when I’m so keenly aware of my sin.

And I feel so unfaithful. So unworthy. I find myself tempted or lured in by ideas, people, things or knowledge. Any moment of sin renders me shameful in the Lord’s presence. And I am tortured in bringing that before the Lord, both of us made aware of my unfaithfulness. Knowing I promise Him so much… and live up to so little.

I hate that I can’t maintain righteousness. I hate that I can’t remain faithful to Jesus. I want to reciprocate His love with integrity. I want to worship Him in purity of Spirit and truth. But I struggle to demonstrate that every day. Even in my greatest moments, my love and worship of God is tainted at best.

This reminds me of a song…a song that I’ve grown up hearing but never really understood completely. This song, ‘Tis so Sweet to Trust in Jesus, is really a very beautiful song but the verse where it says, “How I’ve proved Him o’er and o’er” just doesn’t resonate with me. How can we prove Jesus over and over? I feel like I’ve failed him over and over. Not proved Him over and over. And the closer I get to Him the more I’m aware of this dilemma.

As I pore over God’s word wrestling with this idea of proving ourselves to God and loving Him faithfully, I find comfort in the psalms of David. The utterances of David’s heart are raw and transparent, revealing his emotions and confusions that accompany spiritual life. David truly loved God in the ways that are humanly possible, but he messed up just like anybody else does. He even stumbled into an adulterous affair leading to murder. Now that’s pretty wicked, most of us would argue (as if our sins can be measured.) But the Bible calls David “a man after God’s own heart” (1 Samuel 13:14, Acts 13:22). I wonder why?

The psalms so clearly reveal David’s desire for God, which surely pleases the Lord and serves as a source of inspiration in our pursuit of the Almighty. But more particularly in Psalm 40, David displays a shift in focus that indicates his turning away from wallowing in his own sin to trusting in God. We can learn a lot from David’s response in this spiritual progression, or the “sandwich of trust,” as I like to call it.

David goes from trust → praise → shame → praise → trust.

Trusting in God, praising God for Who He is, recognizing his own wickedness and asking for God’s help, praising God once again, and choosing to trust in God despite his sinfulness and shame.

This progression in Psalm 40 is as follows: “I waited patiently for the Lord…He put a new song in my mouth, a song of praise to our God…my iniquities have overtaken me, and I cannot see; they are more than the hairs of my head; my heart fails me….Be pleased, O Lord, to deliver me…But may all who seek you rejoice and be glad in You…As for me, I am poor and needy…You are my help and my deliverer; do not delay, O my God!” (emphasis mine; Psalm 40:1, 3,12, 13, 16, 17).

Trust and praise hem in David’s shame on every side.

David just never stopped praising God. And never stopped trusting Him. Because of David’s response, his shame didn’t stand a chance. Why? Because David admitted his sin, released it to God and then chose to praise Him despite it and trust in Him even in the wake of it.

I think this is why God loved David so much. David was honest about his sinfulness and always sought to acknowledge God in all things. David chose to receive God’s unconditional love for Him and because of that transaction was enabled to love God in a way that surpassed his human capacity to do so.

If we won’t let God hem us in on every side of our shame, we will fail to believe that He loves us when we sin. And problems will arise in our relationship with Christ. We will begin to believe the lie that we have to do x, y and z in order for God to not be mad at us anymore. Or we will think that we break His heart and that this cannot be undone. I have believed the latter many times over.

For me, the problem lies in relying on myself to hold my faith together. Or relying on myself to love God with all of my heart.

But really, it’s the other way around.

1 John 4:10 says, “This is real love – not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son as a sacrifice to take away our sins” (emphasis mine). I will never be able to love Jesus the way that He deserves to be loved, at least not on this side of eternity. But because of His own purpose and plan, He has chosen to love me, and willfully does so even when I sin against Him. There is not a causal correlation between my performance and God’s love for me. It has never been about you or me deserving His love.

Therefore, it’s not up to me to love God so that my relationship with Christ will flourish. No, no.

It’s up to me to receive God’s love so that my soul will flourish, and then my view of Jesus will be elevated so that I can’t help but fall more in love with Him.

This is the key. And it should free our hearts knowing we are capable of love beyond what we have to offer through the Holy Spirit working within us.

Now I’m learning that God isn’t waiting for me to earn His love or to stop breaking His heart. He’s not mad at me for bringing my sins before Him time and time again. He’s not loathing my repetitious repentance. Nor does He need me to be righteous enough. He simply wants me to rest in the grace He provides for today and for tomorrow. He wants us to come to Him broken and teachable (Psalm 51:10&17). I’m so overwhelmed by the freedom this brings. Let this be a word for your heart today that sinks in and relieves the pressure of feeling like you have to prove yourself to God. God already knows us fully anyways.

Not only does 1 Corinthians 13:12 tell us that we are fully known and fully loved, but reminds us that one day we will get to know Jesus in the same way: “For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face.” To be known for all and still loved is just unthinkable. It’s what we all desire.

It’s taken me a while to believe that if God is pleased with Jesus, He is also pleased with me. That I am hidden in Christ as it says in Colossians 3:3. That we are one with Christ and the Father as is says in John 17:22-23. Therefore, God sees you and I in the same way that he sees Jesus (Matthew 3:17, Corinthians 5:21, Colossians 1:22, Revelation 19:8).

Unknowingly I realize that the picture/diagram with this blog kind of looks like an eye. But maybe it can remind us that the way we look at shame has a direct impact on how we respond to God. If we look at sin and shame as a barrier between us and God that keeps us from His love, we will remain disheartened and in a negative place spiritually. But if we look at sin and shame for what it is, an assailant of God, and feel broken over it… it will lead us to repentance, then will return us to praise and trust in our God.

So despite my tainted love for God, I can experience the greater love of God as I praise and trust Him even in the midst of overwhelming shame. Turning our hearts towards Him in repentance is what He desires as it says in Joel 2:12-13. Then God can move in our hearts and change us into the image of Christ.

Why don’t we posture our hearts towards the Lord and let him love us despite the sin that causes our shame? And may it turn our hearts towards repentance, praise and thanksgiving to our God, learning to trust him every step of the way. For He is more than willing to forgive us. God desires to draw us closer to Himself.

 

“May He incline our hearts towards Him to walk in all His ways.”

-1 Kings 8:60-

 

Questions for Today:

  • When I sin, do I repent and let praise and trust hem in my shame on every side?
  • Why is it important that I receive God’s love for me instead of trying to love God on my own?
  • Why must I elevate my view of Jesus so that my soul will flourish?
  • What next step is Jesus asking me to take in my relationship with Him today?

Elevation Worship, “I Will Look Up”