Salvation isn’t just for little kids or “weak” individuals — its just that sometimes they’re the only ones clear-sighted enough to acknowledge and receive the simple revelation of what they seek.
So, you want something. We all do. Instead of asking what it is you want, let me ask why it is you want it. Strange question? The question one asks depends on the depth of information one is looking for.
If you’re struggling in the absence of what you want and finding it difficult to see what justification God could have for opposing in your desire, please read on.
Assuming God needs a justification for what He does with you and I, and assuming we could understand and accept it if He did, consider this.
All of our desires lead us to something else. They may seem complex and widely assorted, but they can boiled down to very simple and very few. (We aren’t as complicated as we think!) For example, one of “unanswered” prayers, for a while, was for God to remove from before me my obstacles to my goal for weight-loss. Simple sentence equals I wanted to be thin. And God didn’t seem to be giving it to me; truthfully, He wasn’t giving it to me. In fact, He even made it clear to me that He was not going to give my request to me–not like it was.
You see, some of our requests simply are not acceptable to God. We ask that we may spend what we receive on the foolish pursuit of our own pleasures, never considering what may bring God pleasure. James chapter 4, verse 3 convicts us saying, And even when you ask, you don’t get it because your motives are all wrong—you want only what will give you pleasure.
It is not that God wants to keep things from us merely for their own sake, but for ours. We won’t want what we should, or as we should. The Bible says again and again such things as it is the Father’s desire to give us the kingdom (I don’t know that He could find us a bigger gift), but we are not willing to receive it. We are caught up in vain desires that put the flesh above the spirit. For the mind of the flesh is death; but the mind of the Spirit is life and peace: because the mind of the flesh is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can it be: and they that are in the flesh cannot please God (Romans 8:6-8)
God would deliver us from our death-ridden inclinations. He would turn us from reaching the destination we blindly chase: death and separation from Him. The final question is, are we willing to be worked with in this way; to have our desires regenerated; to become people who insist on having everything in us serve Christ that He lead us into more life with Him?
Do you ever think of God’s delight? When you are sitting around with nothing of any depth occupying your mind, do you contemplate the things that God delights in? If you do not, then it is no surprise that you grow bored easily and find great excitement to be impossible in simple moments. If you did, you would never know the baseness of these things we so ignorantly call normal.
It is not normal to be empty and then find nothing to fill ourselves. Is it so contrary to our natures for us to know of this God whose testimony is love, and not look there when the luster of our soul is worn thin by the world.
How can we race around with dull minds and sit about with frantic minds? We were not meant to survive on so little. We need more than stimulation, we need to immerse ourselves so deeply that we lose sight and perception of the meaningless drivel that we naturally default to.
We have minds, and hearts and spirits and bodies so distinguished by God and designed for Him that we are actually committing the greatest offense against ourselves to live in any way contrary to that.
Yes, this is about disappointing God, but do we realize that He is still disappointed when we deprive ourselves of what He always planned to have? Do we think so little of God that we assume He does not know us so well and love us so carefully that He would miss such a thing as whether we enjoy the meaning of our very existence. Yes, I think we do, and how much more a shame it is because He is nothing like the One we imagine.
It is not that we do not spend enough time thinking, it is that we do not think rightly. I could spend an entire day thinking about
something I don’t want to do,
something I’m afraid of,
something I can’t enjoy today,
something I wish I could change,
something that may never happen as I dream it. What a waste!
I could spend every day of the rest of my life thinking of
the highest possible thing,
the least remote concepts, and
the most regenerating realities that may possibly be known to man.
Is the choice really that hard? Is God and His ways so raw in their composition that they are uninteresting, or so familiar in their presentation that they are detestable? Have we gotten so disillusioned by the wrapping paper, that we forget that there are still new and different gifts inside each parcel? Has Christmas morning’s greatest occupation grown dull because we have grown dull?
We are so obsessed with manufactured beauty constantly advertised to us that we believe beauty does not exist unless it is freely exposed. What about the hidden nuances of all the things in our world that know nothing about. We pass by treasures in favor of trinkets because we never truly see what comes before our eyes.
So what are some of the things that we can set our minds and hearts on? A good place — in fact, the best place I can think of — to start is God. We must look at God to learn who He is according to the specific and highly unique substance of His heart. We hear these terms all the time, but what does God mean when He describes Himself as holy, unchanging, loving, and full of mercy. We cannot expect to have a corner on any of these things simply by reading its definition or memorizing verses that house its description. Let’s invite God to lead the introduction for us. Let’s go beyond merely hearing, merely seeing to knowing and believing.
Then the knowledge of God and His ways would arrest us with conviction, such that His delights would supernaturally take over and agitate our hearts. And by all this we would be moved toward more love for the One from whom every enjoyable thing does spring.
Investing in God. If you’ve read any of my recent posts you may have noticed that I have used this phrase or variations of it in several instances. But what does this investing in God mean?
Well, when I began to think about this seriously in anticipation of writing on the topic, I realized that I didn’t really understand a whole lot about this phrase. It worked well for general topics of discussion, but when I scrutinized my knowledge of what it communicated, I found that I needed to learn more about what it was saying so I could better convey my intent.
So, I began with the word invest. And this is what I came up with:
To make a rewarding investment I must make the most of what resources I have. When I am considering God as a possible holding place, I must thoroughly research God’s policy profile — to see whether I can back Him based on what He stands for — and investigate His projection standings — to acquire a vision for where His progression will take me.
Everything that I learn about God, because of my perspective association, immediately affects me both personally and fiscally. I must know what God is about and be able to offer a strong reason for being persuaded that He is equal to the worth I put in Him. I cannot propose backing Him without also knowing how this action will demand of me — in every aspect of my life and livelihood.
I want a good return, but more than that, I want a solid establishment. I can wait a long time for any profit to come from this, if I know that my commitment is being well marked and effectively utilized to promote significant production.
I like the simple definition of investment provided for us by the Business Management blog right here on WordPress.com:
The commitment of funds/finance to one or more assets which will be held over some time period for the purpose of earning returns. [http://bizedu.wordpress.com/2010/07/14/types-of-investment/]
For a lot of us, we look at God, and say, “Nah, I’m not buyin’ in it.” We would rather throw small investments after semi-suitable persons and institutions than stair-down a commit to a single Person with momentous claims that we don’t want to bother checking.
We are comfortable with saying that God is not what we want, but do we really know Him well enough to make this judgment?
I can hear some of you saying right now, “Actually, yes I can: My mom died when I was just a kid. She did nothing to deserve it, but God took her anyway. And He ruined the rest of my life when He did that.”
I am deeply sorry. I grieve that you didn’t get to have more time with her, that your life couldn’t stay like it was when she was here. But then, I am not saying anything to you that you do not already know. I cannot change your life for you, and I will do my best to avoid any pretense of trying. I would just like to use the space I have here to communicate something to you that you may not already know.
There’s more to your story than its past or its present or its future. There’s something more to you than just yourself and I want so much for you to find out what it is. Perhaps you say that you once had faith, but God destroyed all hope of that too, when He disappointed you on such a crucial point of life. Where can He stand with you now that He has taken so much away from you?
The answer is that He stands exactly where He always has: at the door of your heart, waiting. He has been waiting on you since the day He formed you in the womb, and He waits still.
He waits not to condemn you — He could have done that long ago — and He waits not to sabotage you, but to bless you. Yes, blessing may not look like what you thought, but then again, who says that you’ve already seen it?
The blessing God offers us is His love, pure and simple. But, don’t let those words be swallowed up in the vortex of an over-used phrase. Don’t think that you have taken God’s love at face value until you have looked at its face, and seen your own clearly reflected in it.
Love cannot be measured for its depth and essence and even its ability to touch our heart until it has been accepted and yielded to. Now, by yield I mean so much more than an act of “giving in” or limply submitting. Rather, I am speaking of an attitude of the heart that turns to God, and leans in — receiving the truth of what He says and responding to what He asks of us.
When we do that, we will not be disappointed. Mind you, it is every single thing that is done short of that that will most definitely disappoint.
You see, God’s love is a recipe for life, for fullness of heart. It is not a promise of good times, but good tidings. After all, great joy is the work of Someone on the inside of us, not something on the outside of us.