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Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight (New International Version, Prov. 3.5-6)1.
Welcome back, friends!
I’m so glad you’ve decided to join me for Part 2 of our series. I hope yesterday’s message intrigued you, challenged your thinking, or even sparked some conversation around the dinner table. Let’s jump right back in and discuss another truth about Christians:
2) Christians are still trying to “figure it out” just like you.
Another way to say this is Christians are still maturing in their emotional and spiritual health, trying to understand the Bible and what it means for our lives, and getting to know different facets of God (and ourselves) all the time. All of this impacts our walk with God and some beliefs and tendencies are rooted so deeply into our past that we don’t even know they need sifting and cleansing. And just when we think the Lord has taught us everything there is to know, He is quick to show us we only see the tip of the iceberg 2.
There is so much more under the surface of who He is and who we are. Many things He chooses not to reveal to us. Or He exposes them slowly. But we must lean into His wisdom and guidance, not our own. Thankfully, no matter how complex it all is, He is faithful to reveal truths and transform us if we let Him 3.
It just takes time.
A lot of time.
So we put our trust and faith in Him during the process since we can’t always see what’s going on. We listen as hard as we can. He works in mysterious ways and, if we are truly in tune with Him, our lives unfold by His design…but its often to our surprise and not at all how we planned it for ourselves in our heads. Just when we think we have it all figured out, whatever “it” is, God smiles and shows us otherwise.
On the flip side, its very easy for His voice to get lost in the crowd, drowned out by the chatter of the world around us. It is natural and normal to have spiritually dry seasons, meaning we feel out of touch with God and we tend to stray off course and back into old habits of acting and thinking. Staying in tune and in step with God at all times is a challenging, daily discipline for all Christians.
So, sometimes we mis-step. We don’t get it right. We offend, assume, judge, and fail.
Yet, God uses our valleys, failures, wrong turns, and dry seasons to direct us back toward Him and, hopefully, we will have deepened in maturity along the way. From the day we accepted Jesus, God promises to slowly develop us and our character to be like Christ for His purposes, but He is clear that it’s a partnership 4. A joint effort. So, because we get in the way of ourselves, it isn’t always straightforward…it’s a path with loops, bridges, valleys, mountains, deserts, forests, wilderness, and rough terrain.
Two steps forward, one step back.
Since we are always a work in progress, we will continue to mess up, accidentally offend, and give into our humanness until the day we die. We’ll never completely figure it out. We won’t always understand what He is doing, where we are going, if we are making the right decisions, etc. Sometimes we don’t even know that we need help until we need help. It’s a yin-and-yang process, sometimes swinging from confusion to understanding all in the same day.
But, if you stand back and look, the walk of a Christian emotionally and spiritually maturing is marked by an overall forward motion in faith coupled with a deepening understanding of the love of Christ and how it is to be displayed in daily life toward others. That forward motion in maturation is what God has promised us if we are partnering with him. If we are, He is faithful to deliver 5.
So, if you think Christians have it all together, or have it all figured out, or should have it all figured out, think again.
We’re messy people with messy lives. We mess up ALL. THE. TIME. Just like everyone else. But God is ready to help and He comes alongside us to encourage, clarify, challenge, re-direct, and guide. That said, we have a part to play in order to grow…and growth and increased understanding typically comes slowly over time. We must constantly re-focus our eyes on Him and His ways. We must be willing to ask Him for directions, lean into His wisdom and respect His guardrails, and not rely on ourselves.
Friends, there are so many things I don’t understand…and walking blindly and releasing control is downright terrifying. I know I don’t have it all figured out…and I never will. God’s ways and thoughts are higher than my own 6. Only He can see the entirety of my life.
And although I know in my head and my heart that He works for my good according to His purposes 7, and His plans are to prosper me and not to harm me 8, relying on myself and giving into my own thoughts are still natural tendencies. Christians fight every day to turn to God and not themselves. Sometimes it’s simple, sometimes it’s not.
But trust me when I say it is always easier said than done.
See you right back here tomorrow, friends!
With love and In Christ,
- The Bible. New International Version. Bible Gateway/Biblica, 2011. BibleGateway.com, www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=proverbs+3%3A5-6&version=NIV. Accessed 7 Dec. 2018.
- See Isaiah 55:8-9.
- See Jeremiah 29:13; Matthew 7:7-8; Ezekiel 36:26-27.
- See Philippians 1:5-6.
- See Philippians 1:5-6.
- See Isaiah 55:8-9.
- See Romans 8:28.
- See Jeremiah 29:1.