I’m really glad that this has been on my mind and heart as my first blog post of 2016 that was inspired by a phrase I felt tugging on the inside. After being able to pick myself from what felt like rock bottom last year to coming into 2016 with a renewed mindset has made me really want to continue deepening my relationship with God.
This notion has been playing on my mind purely because let’s be honest this walk with God is hard!!! Its far from constantly walking through fields of roses and all that cute stuff. Things can get real tough when you have to make the active choices daily to die to your flesh in order for your spirit to prevail. When things are looking bland or just going slow it is easy to just complain and then start making your own plans to get out of the mess. I will admit it, there have been times during my walk where I wanted to give up and got fed up with when situations hit me. The fact that I am writing this post with the hopes of reaching somebody who may be feeling the same way is a testimony in itself. Thank God I didn’t give up. I thank God that He taught me and corrected me about some of my fleshy prideful habits to the point where I can now be open to godly correction from others and most importantly from God Himself. With everyday that goes by I am learning about completely trusting in God especially when you feel God has forgotten about you in your quiet season and also your dry season as described by Heather Lindsey in Pink Lips & Empty Hearts (Awesome book by the way I highly recommend all you ladies read it!)
In a small sense this is almost like a follow on from my “Where Am I Going?” post in a sense that in order for me to live in my purpose I need to make sure that I stay still, be faithful to God during His instructions and being strong enough to boldly live God’s way no matter what the circumstances are
“He says, “Be still, and know that I am God;
I will be exalted among the nations,
I will be exalted in the earth.”
Psalm 46:10 (NIV)
I managed to find this verse from Psalm 46 after meditating on the lyrics from the hymn “Be Still and Know That I Am God”. I used to sing that hymn a lot when I was younger but never really actually paid any real attention to it until now. I was almost excited when I realised the hymn was inspired by the Word. It made me really start to think about the idea of being still in God’s presence and truly knowing who God is to me. In a literal sense, the thought of being still to me means not moving & not making a sound. Now applying that to my walk with God translates to things such as being patient and not allowing my pride to make me operate outside of God’s timing and plan. It also makes me think that instead of trying to turn away from God when things are testing me and complaining about my portion, I should turn to the Word of God and consider the lesson and maturity that I can gain from a rough patch. After reading through the whole of Psalm 46 and seeing David describe what looks kind of like a chaotic situation and God simply says “be still and know that I am God” makes me think about some of the stressful and frustrating situations I have encountered. Although change didn’t necessarily happen overnight, it was a gradual process involving me learning how to 100% trust God can bring calm to the storm just like Jesus did when He and His disciples were on the boat (Matthew 8:23-27; Mark 4:35-41; Luke 8:22-25). I have recently started reading a book by Cherie Hill called “Be Still: Let Jesus Calm Your Storms” which has really been eye-opening about the idea of being still and trusting God. So whenever you feel like freaking out about something remember to be still, pray and read the Word.
The idea of faith comes from Hebrews 11. It’s easy to be compliant and committed when you can physically see results but what about when you cannot see anything happening? How do you respond to the situations where it seems nothing is going right or it seems like nothing is happening at all no matter what you do. Times like this our spiritual endurance is tested, are we going to keep running or will we allow ourselves to get burnt out and not finish the race?
“Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us; looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.”
Hebrews 12:1-2 ESV
In the meantime, I ought to fix my eyes on God in all that I do and wherever I am and just like Hebrews 12:1-2 states, we should treat our lives as if we are running a long race. This will require endurance and determination but not to fear, Jesus is ahead of us whilst we are running. He is the source of our faith, the faith we need to continue running no matter how tired and fed up we may get. In focusing more of Jesus, we should put aside all weight and sin that is clinging and that will weigh you down and stop you from running towards the finish line because at the end of the day 2 Corinthians 5:17 reminds us that we are a new creation, so our past transgressions are no longer a part of our identity. Once we accept or mistakes and take active steps to dissociate from them there should be no reason for us to allow self condemnation to step in and thwart your race plan.
It’s in these moments when we are being still that we should also have faith that God’s promises for us will come through (The Bible app has a 4 part reading plan explaining some of the promises God as made to us). God is not that man that shall lie so if He says it will happen one way or another it’s going to pass. It may take a while but trusting in Him fully to guide you on your journey will ultimately happen. Me personally, I’m in the phase of my walk with God where I have loads of ideas with what I want to do but ultimately I want to end up in the position that will glorify God first and foremost. I now have the mindset where I’m like ” I cannot physically decide what I want to do and where I want to go, Lord I place it into your hands for You to order my steps to wherever you want to me to go”. Having said that, I’ve been learning to take my time and ensure that I build my faith in small things and further strengthen your foundation so that when things come my way I will not crumble because my faith has been rooted firmly on the rock instead of on sand like the houses described in Matthew 7:24-27
Matthew 7:24-27 (NIV)
God has been faithful to me even when I have done wrong. He didn’t give up on me but instead drew me back to Him and a made a way for me to get out of my mess! He is faithful and His love for me is steadfast and unwavering like that describe in Psalm 107. I love this psalm so much because no matter hat the situation that was described throughout the psalm the theme of his “unfailing love” recurs constantly. God’s love never fails so for that reason I feel even more determined to make sure that I am faithful to Him and His word and that I wholly honour Him through my actions and the way I address others.
In this context, being strong to me is being able to withstand things that may come your way that can easily distract you. Being able to withstand such things indicates that you have a firm foundation that is not easily shaken. Having said that, allowing God to be your firm foundation allows you to have such faith that you can stand secure no matter what which refers back to Matthew 7:24-27. It is the small acts of faith can build our strength in a sense that we no longer rely on ourselves but we now lean on God and allow him to be the source of our strength.
Even listening to the song “Worth Fighting For” by Brian Courtney Wilson really spoke to me. My relationship with God is worth the struggle and feeling of being uncomfortable in order to know God on a more deeper level. I felt encouraged that my purpose in God’s kingdom is worth me fighting for to confirm and fully live it out. The idea of me upgrading myself during my walk with God isn’t even necessarily for me to solely reap the benefits. There are many transparent, bold Christians out there that continue to share what God has given them with others with the hopes to encourage and empower. There is a stirring feeling I get inside when I realise that some of the things I go through can help somebody else. I am at a point where I want to go the next level in my relationship with God so that I can know God more than I do already not just for myself but in case I may needed to be a signpost for somebody else.I feel the urge to hold on during my issues so that I can be able to tell your story and testimony to encourage others about where God has brought me from (Psalm 107:2-3). It is good to start becoming stronger as you get more rooted in the word of God. The word has the power to transform and renew our mindset if you continually meditate on it and continually resting on His promises.
When God was instructing Joshua about the ultimate task of leading the people of Israel to the Promised Land and to think that by him obeying God he went on with an army to march around the walls of Jericho until it came crashing down and claim the city (Joshua 6).
“Be strong and courageous, because you will lead these people to inherit the land I swore to their ancestors to give them.“Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the law my servant Moses gave you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left,that you may be successful wherever you go; Keep this Book of the Law always on your lips; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful; Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”
Joshua 1:6-9 (NIV)
In a sense, Joshua had to step up in order to lead others it wasn’t all about him and his personal success as much as God assured him that he will prosperous (provided that Joshua obeyed the word). I have started to really see and believe that there is strength in obedience after all in verse 9 God did command Joshua to be strong and courageous and let him know that He will be with him where he goes. This makes me think about times where I take time to be still and listen to what God says in the Word. There is something about the word of God that you can draw strength and renewal from it no matter how you are feeling. Even in times of correction, I believe that this builds and strengthens character to a point that the criticisms of man will not shake and break you because you have chosen to take heed to God’s correction and listen to what He has to say. If you read Joshua 7 then you know that one act of acting out of God’s plan and relying on his own strength and ability resulted in a heavy defeat at Ai.
When I think about the majority of the New Testament that Paul wrote and how he had to remain strong and obedient to God throughout the whole process so that he can deliver God’s message to all the different towns and in some cases words of encouragement for individuals like Timothy and Jude. He had to endure and stumbled across difficulties but ultimately he remained focused on his purpose and more importantly focused on the calling God had for him. Reliance on God can help in preparing and propelling you to the next step of your journey.
“For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power,love and self-discipline; So do not be ashamed of the testimony about our Lord or of me his prisoner. Rather, join with me in suffering for the gospel, by the power of God; He has saved us and called us to a holy life—not because of anything we have done but because of his own purpose and grace. This grace was given us in Christ Jesus before the beginning of time,; but it has now been revealed through the appearing of our Savior, Christ Jesus, who has destroyed death and has brought life and immortality to light through the gospel.”
2 Timothy 1:7-10 (NIV)
It is time to focus on how God sees me and not how the world sees me. I have decided that I won’t back down from things I have been lead to do. I refuse to shy away from what I have been called to do in order to spread the news of Christ and the gospel.
I feel it is so so important for one to remain committed to God and His promises and that He will come through for you during your quieter, waiting seasons. Another Cherie Hill book I read “empty.: Living Full of Faith When Life Drains You Dry” really challenged me about the idea of remaining full of faith even when the situations life presents are draining you. Times like this we should be still and allow God to completely fill our cup. It may be uncomfortable but it will so be worth it in the long run! In the meantime, continue to have confidence and faith that God is able to use you!
Be still, be faithful, be strong and believe your spiritual glo up is coming so you can be ready for whatever is yours and never forget
“Being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus”
Phillipians 1:6 (NIV)