Thursday, December 17, 2015

A chink in your shell

Everyone was born with a shell of ignorance that blocks our view of how great and powerful and amazing our God is. Theologians call it our sinful nature. Outside that shell is the blazing light of God, brighter than the sun, but as long as we live for ourselves, our shell remains intact and all we see is the gloom of our little world. Unfortunately, most people love that gloom and embrace it.

I love the challenge of opening people’s eyes about the reality of God. I’ve spent hours upon hours in one-on-one counseling sessions over decades with more people than I can count. But if you add them all up, only a minority truly grasped what God wanted them to learn and broke out of that shell. All those sessions blessed me because I was forced to teach about God more thoroughly to defend God and His word against argumentative people. Whether or not they took hold of what God was showing them, I came out of it spiritually richer. But even so, it’s unbelievably sad to witness people grasp the logic, agree with the reasoning, confess the truth, yet still refuse to obey what God’s word said. Jesus felt that way when He watched the rich young ruler walk away in defeat after He’d called him to follow Him.

“Obedience is the opener of eyes,” is a very true saying of Scottish author George McDonald. It’s one thing to learn about God, to analyze the Bible and all it’s teachings, to research and study all the commentaries and historians – it’s another thing entirely to actually do what the Bible says. Obeying God awakens supernatural faith, something that no amount of head knowledge can create. Once we get to the point of admitting that we’re out of line with God, a tiny chink in our shell opens up letting in a thin ray of light to shine on our mess. But arguing a person to the point that they acknowledge the mess they’re in and how much they need a Savior is great, but that alone is not going to save them. That only happens when they act on that truth in obedience.

Mike’s objections about God came to an end, not because he’d figured out the answers to all his many questions. It was because he had decided to just do what the Bible said about prayer and humility on his job and with his kids. He basically did it to test if what God said was really true. His thoughts were so riddled with cynicism and doubt. Yet, God saw his simple attempt to obey, and came through for Mike supernaturally. He was dumbfounded. His paltry little faith created a change he could see with his own eyes. Now was the time to make a decision: take this strange new path of humility and obedience, or hold onto the shell of cynicism and fear of where the new path might lead? The inner struggle was painful, but Mike chose obedience, even though he didn’t feel like it or understand it very well. But now, years down the road, he understands the whys and hows, because his eyes were opened and God revealed everything so clearly and simply. He dared to obey against his feelings, and now life makes sense.

Maybe you want God to shed some light on a difficult situation, but because you’re so obsessed with the problem, you’ve made excuses for why you just can’t do all God requires of you right now. You think that waiting for the situation to improve will allow you freedom to obey later, but you have it all backwards. God’s revelation will come to you within the process of your daily obedience – not after. You’re essentially closing yourself up in a shell in the darkness, when God wants to illumine everything you need to see. Obey first. Follow, even if you only know one tiny step to take, because after that step another will be revealed, and another, and more until His light breaks through completely.  

Now this is the message we have heard from Him and declare to you: God is light, and there is absolutely no darkness in Him.  If we say, “We have fellowship with Him,” yet we walk in darkness, we are lying and are not practicing the truth.  But if we walk in the light as He Himself is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin. (1 John 1:5-7 HCSB)

But whoever keeps His word, truly in him the love of God is perfected. This is how we know we are in Him: The one who says he remains in Him should walk just as He walked.  (1 John 2:5-6 HCSB)

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