Friday, August 28, 2009

What Do We Believe about God?

Originally posted on Tuesday, September 7, 2004

“He calls us out of comfort into uncertainty. Faith is all about character, trusting in the character of God, being certain in who God is and following Him into the unknown.” ~ Erwin McManus, Seizing Your Divine Moment

What does your life tell others about the character of God? I am ashamed to admit that my life reveals very little about God's character. The reason is because I have been too afraid to journey into the uncertainty of God's will. I have not trusted God to lead me to the place He wants me to be.

Too often we miss out on God's best for our lives, not because of the wrong we are doing, but because we do not go when He says go. Both are sins. We sin when we do what God has told us not to do, and we sin when we don't do what God has asked us to do. Obedience is not only avoiding what God has told us to avoid, it is also going when God tells us to go.

I think a main reason we don't go is because of fear. We are uncertain of what awaits us. Since we do not know the outcome we hold back, and the result is that we don't do what we know we should do. What do we fear? We are afraid of being rejected, of becoming the subject of jokes, or of failing. In other words we are afraid of negative outcomes.

I have come to believe that the outcome isn't really the most important thing. The most important thing is our obedience. It is through our obedience that we are able to declare to the world the ultimate truth about God. To obey God, especially in the face of uncertainty, tells the world we that we trust God no matter what happens to us.

It is this trait, going with God in the uncertainty of life, which separates us from the faithful we read about in the Bible. Job, Abraham, Joseph, Jonathan, David, and others followed God even though they didn't know the outcome. Their obedience continues to announce the character of God.
And what more shall I say? For time would fail me to tell of Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, of David and Samuel and the prophets—who through faith conquered kingdoms, enforced justice, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions, quenched the power of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, were made strong out of weakness, became mighty in war, put foreign armies to flight. Women received back their dead by resurrection. Some were tortured, refusing to accept release, so that they might rise again to a better life. Others suffered mocking and flogging, and even chains and imprisonment. They were stoned, they were sawn in two, they were killed with the sword. They went about in skins of sheep and goats, destitute, afflicted, mistreated— of whom the world was not worthy—wandering about in deserts and mountains, and in dens and caves of the earth.

And all these, though commended through their faith, did not receive what was promised, since God had provided something better for us, that apart from us they should not be made perfect.
(Hebrews 11:32-40; ESV)

The future is uncertain. God has not promised us that if we do what is right that everything well go well (at least according to our perspective). It is a real possibility that if we summon the courage to talk to a friend about Jesus that we will get laughed at. We could make a stand for what is right and true and be called a bigot and full of hate. God never said that obeying Him would be easy. The reality is that suffering is a part of following Jesus into the unknown. Yet, God has made a promise to us. When we follow Jesus we will discover the life God created us to live. The full life Jesus promised is found on the other side of obedience. Am I willing to obey God in order to discover it?

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