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Obey God In the Basic Things First
It is reasonable shat we should strive toward obedience in a place that is already familiar to us where the task is more fitting for our spiritual infancy before we take on a task that is vastly more difficult (i.e. where there is radically different culture and language and all sorts of hostile governments). Not to say obedience is easy in the United States, on the contrary, it is in many ways very difficult. But the difficulties of seeking out Christ here in the U.S. are appropriately suited for the fledgling faith that abounds here. The fear of another person's opinion is our main threat, even though this is hardly any threat at all. By our crippling fear of men we can recognize the infancy of our faith.
Being a good steward was meant to be difficult. That is to say, being a good steward was meant to be as difficult as God intends it to be, which happens to be far beyond what we could ever handle on our own. He will place us in circumstances that are impossible for us so that there is no other way to handle them but by His supernatural grace. God's purpose in making our lives impossible is to minimize us and maximize His Son in us. This should be practical, empowering truth, leading us to trust in Christ's competence over our own, taking action in His name only.
At the same time, being a good steward is supposed to be feasible. I don't mean that it should seem like we can accomplish any spiritual goal on our own. But the Spirit of God will grow us up from where we are to actively trust Him more and more, expanding our spiritual minds to think bigger and our spiritual eyes to see further. Such is the nature of growth, that it begins from ground level and moves up from there. Things tend to start small before they grow up and get bigger.
God designed us to mature gradually. His incremental design applies to both our physical and spiritual lives so we cannot escape its built-in humbling effect. Whomever God causes to grow up spiritually does not take the next step of maturity except through much trial and hardship.
It would be a troublesome source of overconfidence for us to instantly arrive at whatever place our whims dictated. If a child had the ability to transport himself magically to the top of every staircase he needed to climb, then his legs would never get any exercise.
We need not fear Christ's answer to the question, "Lord, what is our role? What is our purpose?" We should want to find out God's true answer for regarding these things.
We need not fear His real-life commands because He will continue to be our All no matter what. Our calling as Christ-followers will always be simple: Trust in and obey Christ.
As for massive movements of the Spirit and glorious, heavenly visions and planting millions of organic churches, I do not know about these things. But I do know at least a few basic truths. For example, the Lord is abundantly present to teach all those who are willing to be taught.
As for now, I will not presume to know anything more than the few basic truths that God's Spirit has taught me unequivocally. It would be a misrepresentation of God to "fake it 'til I make it" and it would be deceptive to myself and others if I claimed to be something that I am not.
I'm not saying this to lower your standards, but rather to encourage you to seek out Christ more zealously than ever. I'm not advocating stunted faith, I'm encouraging you to obey God's real commands. If we represent Him, we will do so however He has makes us able. That is what representation is. Either we're representing God directly or we are representing ourselves under deceptive pretenses.
Let's take a chance at obeying Christ by waiting for Him to teach us directly. Let's stop imagining ourselves into a faith we've heard about in other people living in other places and times. It would be a disservice to the Author of all faith to try and manufacture some plastic version of another person's faith. When Paul says, "imitate our faith," he means "follow our example by trusting and obeying Christ." It's not our place to decide what kind of faith Christ should author in us, just like we have no say in how much grace God gives each one of us.
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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