This morning, as I waited on the creamer for my coffee to heat in the microwave, I found myself inwardly growing frustrated about some endeavors not coming to fruition. Endeavors on which I’ve worked for several years. Oh, there have been some doors cracked open, even one opportunity that turned out to be a wrong choice. So, as the digital clocked ticked off the seconds, I felt my frustration up-ticking, as well. It felt like God wasn't really doing anything in those areas.
And I stepped into that worldly spot in which I had no place being when I began that oh-so-familiar inner dialogue with God that went something like this. How come You haven’t done anything, yet. If only we could get to this place then....
Then, what? Then I’d be really happy? Then I’d never need another thing the rest of my life? Then happy-happy joy-joy forever?
The only “then” that came was His quiet voice then reminding me, I am enough; I am your “then” right now.
And, as usually, He is right. And it isn’t that He doesn’t want us to experience joy in our lives, in this world. However, as Christians, Christ is in us, we are in him, he is in His Father, and his Father is in us. Jesus told that repeatedly to his disciples before he died on the cross. It means that once we are in Christ, we no longer belong or conform to this world. We begin to recognize just how much of this world is antiChrist no matter how prettily packaged it looks, sounds, or feels.
Yes, He wants us to enjoy and celebrate life but through Him, so we don’t veer off track, which is not hard to do with so many lures and temptations.
As I stood there, He asked, Don’t you have all that you need?
Do you trust Me?
Then you know that as long as you listen and follow my lead it will lead to much greater areas than what you can do on your own. Do not confuse the value of man-made circumstances or things as greater than the value of my teachings and revelations.
And there it was. The Word of God in my little kitchen, as I stood on a floor that needed mopping. That right there was a great lesson in and of itself as I stuck out my coffee cup to catch the steaming brew. And I received a bit of humility in the process. Never a bad thing.
It wasn’t surprising that as I spent time with Him a little while later, upstairs in my cozy office nook, that I came across Julie Lowe’s, a faculty member with Christian Counseling & Educational Foundation, commentary. And isn’t it just like God to deliver a powerful message through a teacher and writer I’d never ever heard of until today to finish His revelation. And that is precisely what we need, not more information but revelation from God.
After I left the kitchen, I had started out my time with Him by listening to a John Piper, DesiringGod.org, micro-sermon available through a daily newsletter. And since the newsletter has several other articles on one page that I’m always reading each day, I began to read an article afterwards. I enjoyed it so much that I clicked on the author’s name link, which took me to the Christian Counseling & Educational Foundation (Had never been to it before.) where I would hear Lowe’s words, stated in such a way that God knew would speak deeply to my spirit, serve as encouragement to my earlier introspection in front of the coffeemaker.
She stated, “We put our hope in the character of God not in our circumstances.”
Pow. If that was not apropos to His and my conversation earlier!
There is much beauty in all of this, levels of it. But what’s especially noteworthy is how easily and effectively God can minister to us, answer our questions, no matter how basic or complicated, no matter where we are. When we are in Him, where we are there He is, too.
When we are truly in the process of renewing our minds in Christ, it leads to organic, internal changes, to deeper processes of transformation to produce external fruit. I can believe in Christ, but unless I’m pursuing him each day, chances are I will remain stuck in my old ways.
When I am growing in Him, initially I may continue doing something that He’s not too thrilled about, doing something that places greater value on it than on Him. But after a while, that Holy Spirit conviction begins to grow greater than anything trying to win our favor over what He desires for us.
For some, it happens immediately. It didn’t with me. For me, it took a while on some of the big things, like getting my mind focused on Him each day to have Him help me climb out of anxiety and depression. It also took me a while to stop turning to wine and champagne to drown the pain from familial condemnation, a repetitive generational behavior. I’ve worked my tail off to get to where I am today. We all know worldly ties bind tightly, often refusing to let go. It’s a battle. That’s why we’re called to pack ourselves in His armor each day.
And I've gotten to that blessedly earned place that when I have a problem, I go to Him first, not to anyone or one thing or things. And because I do keep going to Him, I am entering revelatory places where I know that putting “hope in the character of God not my circumstances” is exactly where I need to be.
That is the most powerful place on earth to be.
Our Christian walk is a process of perfecting ourselves to be more and more like the image of Christ. Some areas take longer than others. But if we stick with Him, He never, EVER fails to lead us to a greater place than where we were at.