April 11, 2013

Firsthand Experience | Day 4

All God

Scripture to meditate on Isaiah 30:15: “This is what the Sovereign Lord, the Holy One of Israel says, ‘In repentance and rest is your salvation, in quietness and confidence is your strength.’

The following is an excerpt from Firsthand: Ditching Secondhand Religion for a Faith of Your Own by Ryan and Josh Shook.

Our strength comes from trusting God with our weaknesses. To be radically transformed by Christ’s love, we must stop trusting in ourselves to take care of everything in our lives. He doesn’t force us to let go. He asks us and waits patiently for us to trust Him. But He cannot begin transforming our lives until we admit we have a control problem and we hand the problem over to Him instead of relying on our own power.

For me, this is a daily struggle. I start the day telling God how much I need Him and acknowledging His control. Only minutes later I’m trying to figure out a problem through my own wisdom, trying to handle a situation that seems out of control, or relying completely on my strength to get through the day. I may acknowledge God with my mouth, but I often function as if I were an atheist. Can you relate?

Fortunately, God loves me so much that He allows me to fall on my face until I finally give in to His care and control. He picks me up and holds me and fills me with His strength, wisdom, and peace. And He’ll do the same for you.

What real change so often comes down to is this daily surrendering to God and letting Him do whatever He wants in my life. Real change doesn’t hinge on a four-part plan or five easy steps. More often it’s a daily decision followed by a continual process in which I allow God to restore and remake my life one day at a time.

Looking back, I see that after I made the decision to let Christ in the door of my life, I went a number of years without allowing Him to change and rearrange everything in my life. I let just enough God in so that I could feel better about things… but still be in control. I wasn’t all in with God. My faith was definitely more about religion than relationship.

Firsthand faith is different. It’s all about letting God do what He wants to in my life daily. For some reason I thought I could pray to receive Christ and then everything would fall into place. But accepting Christ is just the beginning. You can’t rely on God partly and try to rely on your own strength at the same time. In the Christian life there is no hedging your bets. You’re either all in with God, or you’re all out. To constantly rely on your own strength while acknowledging Christ as your Savior is a contradiction that God refuses to let you get away with for very long.