As I begin to write this, I continually hesitate, unsure of how to begin and phrase what is on my heart. Every week or so it feels this way, where I keep on asking myself, "Is this biblically sound?", "Does He really want me to teach on this?". Of course, we all have those rough moments in life where we're not quite sure what God is doing. In a way, it feels as though the past year has been all about that for myself. With school finishing and trying to make sense of things happening in life, there were times that a part of me would have likely said, "Well, I guess the Spirit is nowhere to be found."
I imagine quite of a few of us can resonate on this, just as David seemed to as well in Psalm 51:10-12, when he pleaded, "Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. Do not cast me from your presence or take your Holy Spirit from me. Restore in me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me." (NIV)
It's a scary low point to be at, isn't it? Where one no longer experiences the joy of salvation, to the point where one's spirit isn't even willing anymore. And often, when we do find ourselves at these low points, where we feel so broken, in pieces and twisted, we hear about the promise of seeking God with all our hearts and finding Him.
And people tell us this and we search and we search, but sometimes, it feels as though we never find anything. And, as a friend once mentioned to me, we get to a point where that feeling of abandonment and struggle is no longer a scary thought, but becomes the norm... and somehow we get used to it.
"Every week or so, it feels this way"
"In a way, it feels as though"
"where we feel so broken"
" feeling of abandonment and struggle"
Proverbs 3:5, "Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding." (NIV)
It's a little bit eye-opening, how we manage to rely on our feelings so often. How they seem to dictate our actions.
Haven't we gotten to a point where we rely so much on them as to value the sincerity of our own faith using feelings as a standard?
Instead, do we not have the canon of Scripture; In more ancient words, the 'standard' of Scripture?
If we take a step back from how we feel, and look at Scripture instead, what are we continually taught?
2 Corinthians 5:7, "We live by faith, not by sight." (NIV)
And God isn't going to change that, not while we are in our earthly bodies. And He hasn't changed that since Old Testament times. When confronted with the enemy, God spoke these words through the prophet Isaiah:
Isaiah 7:9, "The head of Ephraim is Samaria, and the head of Samaria is only Remaliah's son. If you do not stand firm in your faith, you will not stand at all." (NIV)
By why all this discussion of heads? Because God was making it clear that no matter how strong the human leadership of other kingdoms appeared, the head of Judah was God and God alone. God, who had no equal.
And as it much as it must have been terrifying in the face of the human enemy, God did not call upon their feelings and senses to comfort them, but their faith in Him.
And by looking at alternate translations, God's Word becomes adamantly clear.
"Unless your faith is firm, I cannot make you stand firm." (NLT)
"If ye will not believe, ye shall not be established." (KJV)
God has placed such a high priority on the importance of belief and faith, to the extent of dismissing the errors of human wisdom by placing faith in one's human strength and feelings.
Romans 10:17, "So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God." (KJV)
Faith comes as a result of His Word, because He would rather have us listen to His voice, than trust in our own emotions.
If the Spirit is given as a deposit to us (2 Corinthians 5:5), should we not also listen to what the Spirit says, rather than our own emotions which can deceive us?
And so we arrive at the origin of this message.
Colossians 1:29, "To this end I labor, struggling with all his energy, which so powerfully works in me." (NIV)
There is this energy that surpasses human understanding and emotion working within God's children through Christ. When looking at alternate translations, again, the message becomes a little clearer:
"For this I toil, struggling with all his energy that he powerfully works within me." (ESV)
We do not undergo His will for our lives alone, nor simply with a portion of the power of God, but with the fullness of His power.
Philippians 1:6, "being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus." (NIV)
God isn't going to let us be if we find ourselves having a bad day. By no means. Instead, if anything, it would seem that God uses this for His very purpose.
"For when I am weak, then I am strong by His sufficient grace leading me to boast in my own frailty" would seem to be the agreeable summary of 2 Corinthians 12:7-10
God is not limited by our rough days filled with turbulent emotions, nor does He ignore them.
He uses it.
Because it is at our lowest points when we stop relying on our own strength and begin to realise the fullness of the power of Christ within us.
1 John 4:4, "You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world." (NIV)
Remember this week that He is greater.
God bless you all.
"May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit." Romans 15:13 NIV