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Waiting for God First, the American Way Second
It would be very American of us to take God's kingdom into our own hands. And to assume we have a little more figured out than everyone else would also be very American. But the day we cast aside our ethnocentrism and our need to feel like experts will be the day that we become available for God's use. Casting off our selfish, inward focus is much the same as a ship's crew casting needless ballast overboard during a hurricane to keep from sinking.
Therefore, much of this faith experiment amounts to waiting on Christ to see if He might have some spiritual employment for us in His unassuming, informal, unprofessional kingdom.
If God's kingdom comes in our day and age, it will come in the form of Christ's exclusive leadership. Imitation here is impossible.
If the Spirit of Christ indwells and consumes us, then we might start to have a clue about God's spiritual goals. Only then might we move on toward effectively praying and seeking after these goals.
The American way has accomplished a lot of measurable, fleshly things in a short amount of time. However God's Way is the only spiritually expedient way.
God's ways are spiritually effective, as opposed to those of men, which are spiritually counterproductive. Goodie for us if we desire to be useful to God, but let's make sure that our definition of usefulness lines up with His definition of usefulness.
We are called to seek spiritual success, but only on God's terms. For example, we cannot transmit any good news about Christ by even the cleverest man-made innovation, because God ordained only one mass communication of Himself, and that is His Spirit.
Spiritual transformation in ourselves and in the world around us seems to take a long time according to our short-sighted estimations. But we are called to wait for God even if we never see the changes our fleshly eyes expect. God may or may not do anything according to our fleshly estimations, but our place is to wait for Him regardless.
It never has been and never will be our job to procure spiritual growth or even worry about it. But rather, God designed us with this dependence purposefully so there would be no doubt that He is the One who initiates spiritual movement, not us.
Contrary to popular belief, obedience requires such a thorough surrender that we should be willing to wait for the Lord from now 'til our deathbeds if needs be. This quality of waiting, which is also called faith, is obedience in itself. But this perplexes us because it doesn't leave any room for us to do anything.
Faithful waiting is a God-honoring quality of obedience because it puts all focus on Him and His timing, whenever He chooses to say "go." However, make no mistake, God will put submissive, patient people to good spiritual use.
In opposition to the counsel of our flesh, waiting on God is our only hope for accomplishing anything. Waiting for God increases our chances of being spiritually successful for the simple reason that it focuses on Him and takes the attention away from us.
As of now, most of us churchgoers are religious. We do not wait on or confide in God so much as we trust in our right answers, objects and ceremonies.
We are familiar with man-made tradition, which is designed by mortals to appease mortals and offer those definitions of success that make sense to our fleshly minds. For this reason God deliberately prevents us from understanding spiritual usefulness or spiritual efficacy.
Consequently, the Lord is commanding American seekers to begin accomplishing genuine, spiritual work by sitting still in His name. When we prayerfully wait for and hope only in Him, then obedience to Him becomes not only feasible, it's downright irresistible.
If we follow Christ then we're called to trust Him for the reallocation of our energy, time, thought processes and everything else that defines us. This is all part of our unconditional surrender, which goes directly against our grain of the American do-it-yourself mindset.
We salivate over big numbers, building projects and bulging budgets, but these things are not spiritual progress. If we live in God's economy, we would be wise to cast these things aside along with any other ritual, rule or religiosity. These things only burden our minds and distract our hearts.
Casting off religious chores in general would be a huge weight lifted from the consciousness of churchgoers. It would resemble abolishing an oppressive tax that has been binding the populace to miserable poverty.
Do we desire rest? Do we feel the need to take a breath and recharge ourselves? then God has already answered this desire. He is commanding us to wait restfully and peacefully for Him. We will honor Christ by abandoning our self-sufficiency so we can cease from all busy activity and rest in Him.
Freedom from busy religiosity would also lighten the consciences of many well-meaning souls who have taken it upon themselves to try and carry other people's spiritual burdens on their own. Such are those who burning themselves out trying to be "everything to everyone." This is tragically wasteful, well-intentioned misguidedness.
Let us therefore beware of our own flesh. Left to ourselves, we will only twist God's grace to fit our own ends. To be sure, distorting otherwise free grace is a religious skill in which we religious folk are already quite proficient.
Who dares to sit still for even one day and wait for God? If, from a kingdom point of view, we are accomplishing next to nothing with our busy religion, then we have nothing to lose and potentially everything to gain by sitting still in Christ's name.
Are we Spirit-led? If yes, then we must be intimately acquainted with what this looks like. But, if living by God's Spirit sounds like a foreign concept to us, then we should get in ourselves a healthy fear of whether Christ has anything to do with us at all.
by Patrick Roberts. Find his book and additional resources at www.BooksByPatrick.com
Patrick is an average Christ-seeker. His goal is to turn people to Jesus Christ.
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