Our walk with God is a journey, a whole process of purification and constant sanctification, as our fleshly desires are dying, as WE die to ourselves. Spiritual agony can be growth. Joy comes when we realize the damnation Christ has saved us from, but the process itself, spiritual growth, is costly. It costs us ourselves, as well it should. Jesus said, if we lose our lives for His sake, we'll find life.
The concept may be plain enough; obey. But the journey itself, the walk- is a beautifully painful, blossoming of the spirit, God's manifested work of redemption, in us.
Like a child, we throw tantrums when things don't go our way, when our prayers go unanswered, and we have a few suggestions for God, in regards to how He should answer them. God appreciates an honest heart. I love the book of Psalms because King David was extremely honest with the Lord. He expressed himself fully. In a single psalm, he'd dramatically (but with good reason) question where God was and then burst out with praises and bold statements about how mighty his God is! Sounds like my prayers.
I can relate to King David. Many of us can. That's why the psalms so move us.
Outside our prayer life (or lack of- hopefully not though), the reality of life hits us again. Whether our routines are running smoothly like well-oiled-machines, or they're squeaking by, rusting and hitting bumps along the way, it's tough out there. Throw in an overworking brain (mine), a fragile heart (again, mine), and well meaning, but overbearing people (not always mine, he he), you got yourself a circus. Jiminy Cricket! No wonder we break down sometimes. The show must go on whether we feel like it or not.
But there is hope. There are no excuses for our behavior, but there IS hope. His name is Jesus (Yeshua, in Hebrew). Have you met Him? HE'S the hope of glory. Our walk with Him should consist of giving Him first place, highest authority, and most importance in our lives. Not just on Sunday mornings, but every day, in every way. Does He have our hearts completely? Are we confusing obedience for legalism, in an attempt to excuse our sins because we live under grace? May it not be so! Obedience is not legalism; it is wisdom because the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom (Proverbs 9:10). Out of reverence for God, from every part of our being, our gratitude for God's mercy and grace should manifest itself through our obedience.
Sanctification is constant, like the ocean waves. It means we are set apart, made holy, conforming to the image of our Savior. We walk through life making choices that will show where in the process we are. This is not so we may judge ourselves or one another, but it serves (if we examine ourselves) to prompt us to repentance, and devotion to God.
Are you hungry for more of God? Do the things the world offers no longer satisfy you? Are you hungry for more truth and in depth study of God's Word? Good. Painful as it may be, we are growing. I have recently started studying more in depth the Jewish roots of our Christian faith. It's amazing! I heard a rabbi say just a couple of weeks ago that if we don't study the Hebrew language in the Word, we know perhaps but 2% of the Bible. 2%!!! I believe it! With the little bit I've learned, I'm more in awe of God than ever! His brilliance is astounding! Things I used to love like Christmas and Easter seem so superficial and worldly now and with good reason; they are! I've been more in love with the feasts the Lord appointed for His people than anything else. Those have meaning, a purpose, and a foreshadowing of things our Messiah has done and will do for God's people. I've found myself staring at televangelists thinking, "That's not biblical." More and more of them are falling into the "law of attraction" way of preaching. Beware lest you get fooled! Don't let them sweet talk you in every sermon. We need to hear the unedited, unsweetened Word of God. God IS love and that's all the sweet truth we need. Give us the hard-to-swallow-but-soul-saving TRUTH!
Unfortunately, knowing the truth and acting as if we do, are two different things. As we go about our daily lives, may we be determined to let the nature of Christ, in us, bring honor to God in our behavior. May our mouths and bodies not become a vessel for the evil one to have his way in our worlds. When someone upsets me, may I have engraved in my mind, the One whom I represent, choosing to use my tongue to edify others, instead of tearing them down. The next time someone cuts me off in traffic, may I say a prayer for them, seeing them with the love of Christ, instead of using my "Christianized" profanity to speak my frustration. When I choose to fast, may I not see it as a way of accomplishing something to be proud of or getting God to do something for me, but instead, use it to draw closer to God while denying myself to better hear from him.
We are set apart.
The process is painful and way out of our comfort zone. But I would much rather be refined by God's holy fire than be burned by the enemy's bed of comfort. Christianity is not for sissies. It's for sinners, willing to look foolish, able to humbly walk with their Creator, continuously seeking His face in all they do. Holiness comes because He who is Holy won't stop until the work He started in His people is complete. We do our part and trust Him to do what He promised. I'm so glad the hardest part is His. I cannot do it on my own. I'm so flawed and still often choose to listen to my feelings instead of the Truth. We must be careful that we don't become so focused in our behavior that instead of fearing the Lord, we are being self-centered though. Stay rooted in His Word.
Our battle is His and we are victorious when we let Him reign in every area of our lives, including our future. It is secure in Him. Don't dishonor Him by entertaining psychics or horoscopes that have no power over you. We are warned against such things in Scripture. The enemy is defeated already. He's been defeated for over 2,000 years. Let's not let him gain an inch of ground in the world in the short time he has left. Be set apart. You were meant to be. Glory to God.
Resting in Him,