You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden.Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house.Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven. (Matt 5:14-16)
It’s easy to read this to mean that as long as I believe in God, I have His light in me and that’s all I need — my light is shining because I say I believe in God. I used to believe this — for a long time. The problem was, my light didn’t do anything. Light is supposed to chase away darkness and my light wasn’t all that visible. I went to church and read my Bible but no one was affected by it. No darkness fled before me. Why was that?
My light was weak because I didn’t actually trust God as much as I said I did. When the storms came, my house built on sand came crashing down. (Matt 7:24-28). My light was indeed hidden under a basket. Weak light hidden under a basket does not change the world, much less your own life.
I finally began to read the Bible for the truth that it is. When God says to trust Him, He means it. He means it when He says He’ll take care of me, but my responsibility is to stop worrying about it. He said He would provide for all that I need. The job, the house, the relationships, everything that matters to me matters to Him.
Learning to trust Him for the good Father that He is will turn the voltage up on your light. Pretty soon the basket has to get out of the way. And when we walk into the room, the atmosphere changes because of Who we carry in us. Darkness has to flee. People will be affected because the God of the universe just came in.
Life is never the same after we embrace Jesus for who He said He is. His love for us is a light that just won’t go out, and the more we embrace Him, the brighter it gets.
I would like to suggest that God is unreasonable. Not because what He asks of us is just too difficult, but because we can’t reason Him fully. There’s only so much we can understand of Him, after that we just have to trust our spirits. Our spirits understand God perfectly because God is spirit. When we learn to trust what our spirit knows, it’s called faith.
When we intellectualize God without having a relationship with Him, we become like the Pharisees. They knew who Jesus was. They listened to Him teach. They saw what He did, but they didn’t want what He offered. It messed with their intellectual understanding of God.
Jesus didn’t come to set up a code of rules that the Pharisees would be familiar with. He came to be in relationship with anyone who wanted God. Relationships are messy. They get personal. Jesus wanted to connect with real people, not rules.
Coming to Jesus takes an act of will. That involves your intellect, but it also requires faith. You have to step off the cliff at some point and trust that God will be there for you. He promises that He will, all the time. Don’t over think it. He’s not asking you to stop using your brain, He’s asking you to trust your spirit.
And when you do, God goes from being unreasonable to very, very reasonable. When you are filled with the Holy Spirit, you get a new brain. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. (Romans 12:2) Renewing is just like being born again. It’s a new brain, not the same old one born again. Instead of your old brain, you get the mind of Christ. (1 Corinthians 2:16) Don’t reject this. This is exactly what the Bible says, and the Bible is the word of God. (2 Timothy 3:16)
Now that you have the mind of Christ, God becomes understandable. This is going to take some getting used to. Knowing the depths of God won’t come in a blinding flash of revelation, though that will happen too. You learn and grow — precept upon precept, line upon line. (Isaiah 28:10) You begin to trust when the Holy Spirit is speaking to you. You begin to get ideas that you know weren’t yours. The mind of Christ begins to broaden your thinking and you begin to trust Him more. It’s a journey into the realms that your natural mind could never take you.
But this relationship doesn’t just happen because you read about it. It requires an active decision. You must want it and go after it.
Let’s pretend that you are isolated in a place with no access to the outside world. There’s no way to learn the things that you need to survive or help you. Then let’s say that you had an uncle who knew you were in that difficult place and wanted to help. Let’s say that he spent all of his savings to buy you a computer that would help you with everything you need. But in order to get the computer to you, the uncle has an accident and loses an arm. How would you feel about receiving that gift after it cost him so much, both financially and physically? Would you leave the computer in the box and dust it off now and then? Would you thank him kindly and use the computer to play games? Or would you hug and kiss him for the sacrifice that he made and plug that computer into the internet and discover the world?
The gift you’ve been given by God is far, far more valuable than a computer. Jesus, the Son of God, sacrificed His life and then gave you access to all of heaven. His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness. (2 Peter 1:3) It’s just amazing. Everything you need in life is yours. God has promised to take of you and delight you. The key to receiving all that you need is this: But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. (Matthew 6:33) Seek after the Lord. Ask for more understanding of who He is. Find Him in the scriptures, in your prayer time, in looking at His creation. He’s there, and He’s waiting. There is so much He wants you to have. He’s a great Father and He wants the best for you. Go get it.
Sometimes we believe more about what we think the Bible says than what the Bible actually says. We believe unerringly in what we’ve been taught by others, and yet when we read the Word that runs counter to that teaching, we somehow justify the false doctrine.
One of the beliefs that we’ve held onto is that, if we believe in God, our lives will be perfect. Some of you are rolling your eyes, but this is a belief that many people have held onto their whole lives. I did for a long time.
What does that Bible say? It says that Jesus, the Son of God, was in a boat that nearly capsized in the middle of an ocean. It says that Paul was arrested, beaten, stoned, and left for dead. It says that Stephen was martyred. Did these men do something that invited disaster into their lives because of sin? No. These were men truly devoted to God.
We were never promised paradise on earth when we come to Christ. We were promised salvation. Despite our faith and trust in God, life happens. No matter how strong your prayer life is, the car will break down on the freeway, the kids will play too hard and lose a tooth, the dog will throw-up in a visitor’s purse. Life happens. It’s how you respond to it that will show your real walk with God.
Jesus said to pray on earth as it is in heaven. Is there provision in heaven for what you need? Yes, declare provision from heaven and thank God for His generosity. Is there healing in heaven for what you need? Yes, declare healing and thank God for His great love. Jesus said to seek first the kingdom of God and all that you need will be provided for you. He said that because you will still deal with life, as long as you live on earth.
And, by the way, you will never get yourself cleaned up enough for anything. You don’t have that ability. Even if you are not consciously sinning, we all have a history that has shaped our attitudes and desires, and those are not always righteous. But God knows that, and He loves you dearly. Don’t try to clean up your life so God can do something in you. Go to God with your heart in your hand and He will do what needs to be done in you. He’s better at knowing your needs than you are. Some of those problems in your life come from what you believe about yourself and others. You may need to forgive and let go. You may need to admit that you’re not right. You may need to say, I’m sorry. Breaking some bad habits can only be done with God’s help, so give it all to Him and be obedient to Him. It will change your life.
Everyday can be filled with love, joy, peace, and wisdom, even when you caused the fender bender or broke the boss’s favorite coffee mug. Jesus is always with you. Always. He is everything you need for everything that happens in your day. You want paradise on earth? Walk with Jesus and pray for the things of heaven to be real on earth. It’s in the Bible. Just read it.
Too many people feel that blessing belongs to others — others more important, or more spiritual. Many people don’t believe they even deserve blessing. We’ve been taught to earn our rewards, but blessing from God is a gift. We are blessed through grace, not works. There is not one thing that you can do to earn God’s blessing. He blesses because He loves you.
Because some feel the need to earn what grace gives freely, they reject it in their low self-esteem. Even when it’s freely offered, they will refuse it because they don’t feel worthy to receive it. This is a very dangerous attitude to have. Imagine standing before God one day and explaining why you refused to receive His gift that Jesus suffered and died to give you.
David wasn’t shy about asking to be blessed:
Rescue me and deliver me from the hand of foreigners, Whose mouth speaks lying words, And whose right hand is a right hand of falsehood— That our sons may be as plants grown up in their youth; That our daughters may be as pillars, Sculptured in palace style;That our barns may be full, Supplying all kinds of produce; That our sheep may bring forth thousands and ten thousands in our field. (Ps 144: 11-13)
When we receive salvation through Jesus’s sacrifice, we become a new creation. (2Cor5:17) We are remade to be like Jesus, with His Spirit inside us. That package includes God’s blessing. He can’t help Himself, He loves us so much. But we have to be thankful and receive what He has given. Believing that we can’t receive His comfort, His provision, His grace because we don’t deserve it is a lie from the devil.
If you need to repent and ask God to forgive you for not believing that you deserve to be blessed, do it. Repentance is a wonderful thing. And it’s not sinful, or prideful, to ask for blessing. There is so much that God will do for you if you only trust Him and ask. It’s time to see what that looks like.
We always think that other people are more spiritual. God uses people like Daniel and Joseph, not us. But the truth is, God uses people like Daniel and Joseph AND us. Remember Jacob? Remember Gideon? God is not looking for perfect people, He’s looking for obedient and loving people.
We lose so much by short changing ourselves. Our assumptions rob us of freedom and blessing. God wants you right now, just as you are. Do you have room to grow? Of course, but He loves who you are and all the gifts and talents He put in you. Use them. Enjoy them.
We compare ourselves to other people, and it’s a huge mistake. There is joy in working with God in the big things as well as the small things. It’s your heart that matters. He wants your willingness to trust Him. That’s all. That’s all Eve had to do. Instead, she listened to someone else and allowed her mind to be changed. We have to stop doing that. If God says something, He means it. He can’t lie, so His Word is truth.
Trust Him. Be who you are meant to be. There is fulfillment and joy in doing what God is leading you to do, even if it’s difficult at first. Read His Word and start living it, no matter what others say or do. God is with you, because He said He would be.
Fear is evil. Call it stress, anxiety, worry — it’s still fear and one of the worst killers there is. Not only does it ruin your faith, it will kill your body. Stress kills and it’s so unnecessary. It is a very effective attack of the enemy, but there is an awesome offense against it. It’s called trust.
God tells us over and over and over to fear not. He really is a good Father, and like a good Father, He loves His children with limitless love. Imagine a parent encouraging a toddler to walk. A loving parent will be right there with her to make sure that, when she falls, and she will, that she won’t hurt herself. The parent will hold onto her hands and be there for her every step. They will rejoice over and comfort and protect that child because the child is precious to them.
Can you believe that you are that precious to God? In order to trust the way you are meant to, you have to understand how much you are loved. If that’s hard to do, it’s because you’ve been hurt in the past and love comes with bad memories. You have to let them go. You may need to repent and forgive, a lot, until you can love freely again, until you can receive love again. The Holy Spirit will help you do that. Ask Him to help you. He’ll show you the areas that are hurting you. Follow His lead and allow Him to clean up that old pain.
When you know that God is holding your hand as firmly as any good parent would, you know you can trust Him. The job layoff, the car repair, the kids’ tuition, the doctor’s bills, everything that seems to demand more of us than we have to give will become something we just hand over to our Father. Trust Him. Your fear won’t help, but your faith will.
I find that I have to consciously put myself into a place of peace to trust. I have to say no to fear and invite the peace of God into my heart. When I’m calm, I can hear Him. When I’m fearful, I cannot. But when I relax in His peace, I give Him the freedom to work things out for me. And it really works. Are there times when I forget and stress a bit? Yes. But I always repent and ask Him to forgive me, and then I go back to that place of trust again.
Learn to trust God like you mean it. It’s always been His plan to take care of you and bless you, if you let Him.
Sometimes we can be like Eve and suddenly stop believing that God will do what He says He will do. God says that He will be with us and never forsake us. He says that He will protect us and love us like no one else. This came home to me in a story from social media. It turns out to be a year old, but still a great story.
A young boy was kidnapped in Atlanta and what he did was amazing. He sang a gospel song over and over again for three hours until the kidnappers threw him out of the car. This boy trusted God with his life and God protected him. See the story here.
This is our God. If we would only believe what He says about Himself, we would live such amazing lives. Stuff will still happen, the boy was kidnapped, but trusting God will make a way where there was no way.
Now, what about those issues in your life that you don’t know what to do with? Believe God. Fear not and trust Him. Put it all in His hands, watch, and learn. The only reason you’re not seeing help is because you haven’t really believed that God will do what He really can do. All that little boy had to do was trust God and his life was saved. Your issue is probably not that scary, but the size of the issue doesn’t matter to God. Just believe. Your testimony is about to happen.
There’s a lot to be said for Bible study. It teaches you the truths of God and the stories of what He has done. But that’s just knowledge. There’s no life in just reading the Bible. Knowledge of God is not the same thing as salvation. The demons know God better than the average person who claims to be a Christian.
And then there are those who live and breathe the experience of signs and wonders. When God is present, anything can happen and there are groupies who seek after that as their goal in life. Signs and wonders are cool. They really are, but seeking after miracles is like a child following daddy around hoping for candy from his pockets.
Jesus warned that He would turn away those He did not know, even if they did signs and wonders. The intimacy of salvation is not in knowing the Bible or experiencing the unusual. It’s in desiring the heart of God. This is Jacob, the generation of those who seek after Him, of those who seek Your face. (Ps 24:6)
Love the Lord your God with all your heart. Be drawn into Him. Share His love, His joy, His peace. You are His lover as much as He is yours. Seek His face. Seek His heart. Ask to know His thoughts. Emmanuel is God with us, in us, for a reason. He wants intimacy, communion. Desire Him, and the bells and whistles will follow.
We are all called to serve the Lord somehow. All of us. We are all called to make disciples , teaching them what Jesus taught. Many people will never obey this command because they think it’s the job of pastors and ministers. They are wrong. But there are others who understand the commandment, but feel unworthy to obey. This is not a bad thing.
I understand the feeling of unworthiness. I too struggle with feeling like the last person on the earth that should be discipling anyone. The enemy can get into our heads and make us feel like losers who don’t deserve to go to heaven, let alone lead anyone else there.
But the reason I say that unworthiness is not a bad thing is because it shows a level of humility that God can use. I recently had a heart to heart talk with God about why I was not the one He could use to do anything because of all the bad things I felt I had inside me. I know I am a work in progress, but I didn’t feel that He could use me until He took care of my laundry list.
But God just smiled. He wasn’t surprised by my list, and He didn’t change His mind. He said He would use me despite my frailties. He would show Himself great and it wouldn’t have anything to do with me at all. In fact, if I had the opinion that I was “all that”, He couldn’t use me because I’d take His glory.
Remember Gideon? That encourages me. Nowhere in the Bible does it say that we will ever become perfect here on earth. We look through a glass darkly, but then we will see face to face. We know in part. God is aware of our humanity and He chooses to use us anyway.
Do not beat yourself up about your shortcomings. We all have them. Keep your heart clean. Confess what you need to confess and give everything to Jesus. Admit that you don’t have all the answers and trust Him. Allow God to show Himself through you — a clay vessel shining with the light of heaven.
God did not give you cancer — or MS, or a broken leg, or a failed marriage, or [insert your life problem here]. God does not give us cancer to make better people out of us, or to see what we’re made of. If your natural father did that, he’d be thrown into prison.
If a son asks for bread from any father among you, will he give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will he give him a serpent instead of a fish?Or if he asks for an egg, will he offer him a scorpion?If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him! (Luke 11:11-13)
If your natural Father wouldn’t give you cancer, it doesn’t make sense that God would. In fact, God promises to protect us.
He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. (Psalms 91:1)
It’s a promise, but it is contingent on the second verse: I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress; My God, in Him I will trust.” (Psalms 91:2) Your trust in God has to be more than claiming to be a Christian. You have to put your entire life in His hands. You have to love with Him with all your heart, soul, strength, and mind. You have to hear His voice and be in relationship with Him.
Having head knowledge of God without a heart relationship is not what will protect you. Jesus said, My sheep hear my voice. (John 10:27) Learn to hear His voice in your heart. Learn who He is. Wrap your head around how much He loves you. Learn to love Him back with every fiber of your being.
When you live in a love relationship with God, you are protected under the shadow of His wings. Will bad things happen to you? Probably, we still live in this world, but the power of God in your life when you have His protection is an entirely different dimension than claiming to know Him when you don’t.
Stop blaming God. He loves your wildly and passionately. He’s waiting for you to really trust Him. He’s waiting to be your miracle. Decide if you really do love Him with all that you have and square up with Him. It’s time to really live in the kingdom.