February 28, 2016

Don’t get in God’s way!

My specific question this morning was about a proposal I’d submitted to our church. At the time, it seemed a good idea. The church leadership approved it. But since then, everything I’ve tried has been thwarted by unexpected circumstances. I asked God about this idea. Was it from Him? If so, what am I supposed to do? If not, then what?

As often happens, today’s devotional reading gave me something to chew on. The disciples proclaimed that they believed Jesus came from God, but Jesus knew something they didn’t know . . .

“Now we know that you know all things and do not need anyone to question you; this is why we believe that you came from God.” Jesus answered them, “Do you now believe? (John 16:30–31)

From this passage, Chambers offers a principle about how our faith might not be as strong as we think when we want to do something for God, or it could be misplaced, or misinterpreted. He explains that Christian workers sometimes start a ministry with a sense of need arising out of their own particular discernment.

This made me question why I offered this proposal. I did discern a need, but was that from God? Or was I leaning on my own understanding? Whether I did or not, I still have to keep still before God until I understand what He wants.

Chambers says there is no sin in jumping the gun on a burden God puts in our hearts, but it will be fruitless. God does not bless our “commonsense decisions” because they are not in His domain and when we go on our own to do ‘good’ we can create a competition with Jesus Christ. I can see that if I put my own discernment or ideas on the throne of my heart instead of Him, this would be a subtle idolatry. Instead, I’m to walk in the light as God is in the light, maintaining clarity about my actions and their timing.

In other words, I might do a good thing apart from Him, and be able to back it up with a fine sounding proposal that others think is fine, but if something is motivated by the Lord, no proposal is necessary; it will just happen.

As I write this, I’m thinking, “But what about the commitment that I’ve made to do this thing?” How can it ‘just happen’ when God hasn’t answered my questions about what I am supposed to do?

After writing the above thoughts, we went to church and God answered the rest of my question. During the service, I began to realize that I presumed God would call me to do the work of this proposal. But it is God who is going to do the work. My role is to pray and watch it happen.

With a slightly flushed face, I’m laughing at myself and that tendency to think I have to do everything. How easily I wind up robbing Him of His glory. He knows how to stop that. He puts me in a prayer closet where I will be hard at work but hidden. Then others will see Him doing the work and He will be honored as He deserves!

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