Friday, November 18, 2005
God's strength relies on servant obedience
Have you discovered that life hurts, that it's unfair and that it just keeps coming no matter what you do?
And it's the mundane, everyday stuff, such as relationship issues at work or home, that wears us down.
While it's been said somewhere, "The things we face will either break us or strengthen us," in the context of my Christian walk, I want both, not one or the other. Here's what I mean:
If I allow the unpleasant stuff I face everyday to break down my natural self-reliance to overcome them, forcing me to face the reality that I'm not cracked up to be what I think I am, then I'm in position to gain the heavenly perspective I need to become the vessel through which God works. Thus, this enables me to overcome the stuff that would hinder me and accomplishes God's purposes in and through me.
I know that's convoluted to the natural mind and makes no logical sense, but as a Christian, it brings life that has eternal value to me and to others. And it's that perspective God is in the business of teaching us and the lesson we need to learn and not run from.
Scripture teaches strength through weakness (1 Cor. 12:9), meaning when I surrender my self-reliance and where-with-all to God's purposes, then God can work through me. That doesn't mean I put aside my natural gifts, strengths or abilities, but I let God lead, direct and use them for his purposes.
If, however, I go out into the world thinking I'm going to conquer it and overcome the obstacles I face with my strength, I will be bloodied by that battle. I become jaded, resigned, bitter, resentful and weak in spirit because life will chew me up and spit me out -- because life does that.
So for the disciple, God is into changing that perspective of self-reliance, that "it's all about me" excuse that fills my life, like he did with Moses (Exodus 3:1).
When Moses was called by God (the burning bush), God waited for Moses to step forward. Only then did God speak to him, and in so doing began teaching Moses about himself, followed by the mandate to go and set his people free, knowing Moses' character full well.
Through his obedience, Moses learned about the nature and character of God, not only through God's purposes but the power of God through him to accomplish those purposes. But Moses wouldn't know that until after the fact, after he "gave in" to God. There was no up-front assurance other than "I will be with you."
God works the same way today. He teaches us about himself through his purposes for us. The collateral benefit we get is to know God by what he does through us and those experiences change us, through this obedience our perspective changes as did Moses'. But like Moses, we won't know that until after the fact.
We go from "Who, me, God?" with all the fear, anxiety and excuses to "Yes, God" with all the assurance that God will be with us. But there's a step in between we must take. Will we cooperate?
You see the only way the world is overcome is by the power of God (John 16: 33) and that power is through us as God works through us according to his purposes (1 John 5: 4, 5). The wrong perspective results in spiritual impotence and the only cure for that is obedience.
The Rev. Norm Hooven is pastor at New Heights Fellowship Church in Bellefonte. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Universal Life Church is a comprehensive online seminary where we have classes in Christianity, Wicca, Paganism, two courses in Metaphysics and much more.
Ordination with the Free Online Ordination, button.We also offer many free wedding ceremonies for your use.
The ULC, run by Rev. Long, has created a chaplaincy program to help train our ministers. We also have a huge catalog of Universal Life Church materials. I've been ordained with the Universal Life Church for many years and it's Seminary since the beginning and have loved watching the continual growth of the seminary.
Try our new free toolbar at: ULC Toolbar