God’s Purpose or Mine?
He made His disciples get into the boat and go before Him to the other side . . . - Mark 6:45
We tend to think that if Jesus Christ compels us to do something and we are obedient to Him, He will lead us to great success. We should never have the thought that our dreams of success are God’s purpose for us. In fact, His purpose may be exactly the opposite. We have the idea that God is leading us toward a particular end or a desired goal, but He is not. The question of whether or not we arrive at a particular goal is of little importance, and reaching it becomes merely an episode along the way. What we see as only the process of reaching a particular end, God sees as the goal itself.
What is my vision of God’s purpose for me? Whatever it may be, His purpose is for me to depend on Him and on His power now. If I can stay calm, faithful, and unconfused while in the middle of the turmoil of life, the goal of the purpose of God is being accomplished in me. God is not working toward a particular finish—His purpose is the process itself. What He desires for me is that I see "Him walking on the sea" with no shore, no success, nor goal in sight, but simply having the absolute certainty that everything is all right because I see "Him walking on the sea" ( Mark 6:49 ). It is the process, not the outcome, that is glorifying to God.
God’s training is for now, not later. His purpose is for this very minute, not for sometime in the future. We have nothing to do with what will follow our obedience, and we are wrong to concern ourselves with it. What people call preparation, God sees as the goal itself.
God’s purpose is to enable me to see that He can walk on the storms of my life right now. If we have a further goal in mind, we are not paying enough attention to the present time. However, if we realize that moment-by-moment obedience is the goal, then each moment as it comes is precious.
(From My Utmost for His Highest, July 28)
One of the themes at church has been about freedom. It's for freedom's sake that he set us free. It's actually a verse somewhere, and I've been trying to understand it. When a person is a slave, he dreams about how blissful freedom will be. But freedom is an unknown, and the dream is not necessarily accurate. With freedom comes responsibility. My responsibility as God's child who is free is to "live a life worthy of the calling." God doesn't set us free so that we can live unproductively. He sets us free so that we can make choices that lead to prosperity.
His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature and escape the corruption in the world caused by evil desires.
For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, love. For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. But if anyone does not have them, he is nearsighted and blind, and has forgotten that he has been cleansed from his past sins. (2 Peter 1:3-9)
And when we forget that we have been cleansed, we become a slave again to our old habits. We lose the power of God's grace in our lives.
He talked about faith being a three-stranded cord--an interesting concept. He talked about each strand and how Satan's strategy is to attack one strand and so cause damage to another, and so we have to build up each strand.
The core of faith is a fact that only the blood of Christ can make us righteous. Works can't make us more righteous, and sin can't make us less righteous. Sin separates us from God, but it doesn't change His love for us. This is a fundamental weakness for a lot of people (including myself). For many people the deception is thinking that they have to be "good enough." For me the deception is, "You're a child of God. You should know better." And I condemn myself using that thinking. And then I let that deception keep me from drawing close to God; but drawing close to God is the answer to the deception. Drawing close to Him would allow me to receive the blessings He gives because He does care about me.
Doubt comes when I start looking at information and making judgments about whether or not something is possible. Am I trusting in God, or am I trusting in what I see? If I trust in what I see, I won't be able to receive from God. My blessings will fall on the ground because I will ignore them. It isn't that God wants to withhold things as punishment for my doubt. That's why he who doubts "should not think that he will receive anything from the Lord."
The final strand is action. Faith without action is dead. So if I don't act on my faith, I only have two strands--and without action, faith has no results so doubt sets in, and once doubt sets in it's easier to start believing that God is not good and doesn't care about me.
The final point was, "Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God." If I want more faith, I need to read so that I know how to build my strands.