Skip to main content

Wide Awake The Live Blog: Chapter 4

The Believer

It is very easy to become jaded and hard hearted on the journey to live out the calling God has placed on our hearts.  We can remember the times when the circumstances of life turned sour, when our dreams shattered, and our hopes were dashed.  The result is that we give up on our dreams and we tell ourselves that this is as good as it gets.  Life is tough and we just have to deal with it.

In chapter 4 Erwin McManus tackles this reality and reminds us that much of success depends on our outlook:
If you're going to create the life of your dreams, you're going to face a lot of failure, difficulty, and obstacles.  You're going to be informed by the world around you that you cannot accomplish what you are setting out to do or become the person you long to become.  You will be told it is impossible to accomplish the goals you long to achieve, to create the life of your dreams. 
One of the most important characteristics of people who achieve the extraordinary is they live a life of expectation--they expect the good to happen; they internalize optimism (p. 92).


The reason we can live with optimism is because we are connected with the Creator of the Universe.  Since God created everything we can see and touch out of nothing and since He brought Jesus back from the dead to live forever then there is no limit to His power.  We should live our lives in confidence and optimism because of the mighty God we worship.

Part of the foundation of a life of optimism is the hope of New Creation.  When we have a belief that one day God, through Christ Jesus, is going to make everything right then we live with a great hope for the future.  In fact we begin to do what we can right now to make that future a present reality:
To create the life of your dreams, you have to lean forward. You have to expect, to believe, to live a life that could actually be described as a life of faith.  You must live a life that presses into the future (p. 97).
Our willingness to live such a life reveals much about what we truly believe about God and what He is doing in the world.  By seeking to build for God's Kingdom now, anticipating the New Creation promised by the resurrection of Jesus, we are proclaiming that God is a Promise Keeper and can be trusted to do what is right.  It truly is what a life of faith is all about.

Erwin McManus nails it with this:
Faith is about confidence in God's character, that he is good and true and beautiful.  There are many things that are uncertain to us, but we know that God is good, that he can. He can be trusted with our lives, and that we should live our lives in pursuit of the future he paints for us--a picture of a better world he promised would come to pass if we would live as if it were our destiny (p. 103).
I think this brings us to two very important questions that we need to ask ourselves: 
  1. What type of future is God creating? 
  2. What is my part in making this future a reality?
The importance of these two creations is that it will help us discern which dreams are the most important to follow because they will reveal which dreams God has actually placed on our hearts.  Few things are as defeating as discovering you have put your time and energy behinds something that had little value.  We need to be sure what we do, how we use our time, is valuable.

Now comes the thought that none of like to hear and that is the idea of sacrifice. Erwin writes:
"I wonder if for many of us, tho only thing stopping us from living the life God created us to live--the life of our dreams--is to let go of a life so good that it betrays the great.  Are we willing to give up all the things we have right now to be able to obtain that which God longs for us tomorrow?" (p. 106)
It is a scary thing to give up what we know, especially when it is good, and take a risk on the unknown.  Reality dictates that until we loosen our grip on what know we cannot experience the great.  Too often we let the good things of our life, our present blessings, hold us back from the great things God has for us in the future.  We need to trust God and expect that He will bless our lives as we seek to create the future He desires we enjoy. 
It is very likely that the life God has given you as a gift today is the very thing he will ask of you as a sacrifice tomorrow (p. 108).
While we long to make a difference to do something great, the story of history is that we will be overlooked by the history books.  Even worse we might be fail.  All our efforts and trust in God might end with no apparent change taking place.  Hebrews chapter 11 is a good reminder for us.  There you find a list of all these people who have done great things for God's Kingdom.  Then at the end of the chapter we read of the people who died anonymously for the kingdom.  They lived in hope and faith, but they met a tragic end.  That is why this reminder is so important:
God is not limited to your success or failure.  God is glorified when you simply live your life for the right things, whether you succeed or fail (p. 113).
Ultimately that is our hope.  It is the answer to the first line of the Lord's Prayer, that the name of God be "hallowed".  A life of faith will always bring glory to God, and that must always give us hope, especially when things don't turn out like planned.

To live wide awake is not about finding a way around the suffering or difficulties of life.  It is stepping into the life God has for you (p. 115).

Erwin McManus, Wide Awake, Thomas Nelson (2008)

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Prayer: Married Bedtime Prayer

My wife Jenny and I have been using the Bedtime Prayer that John Eldredge wrote for Walking with God as part of our bedtime routine.  As much as I have enjoyed the prayer I thought it was time for a prayer that was better suited to pray together.  Hopefully this will encourage you to implement prayer into your bedtime routine.

Our Father in Heaven, we pause at the end of this day to say thank You.  We give You thanks for the blessing of life, for the blessing of each other, for the blessing of family, and for the blessing of a home. You have richly blessed our lives. Restore us Father to Your Son Jesus.  He is the vine and we are the branches and He has become our source of life.  Open our hearts to receive the Holy Spirit's guidance, healing, and transformation.  May our lives and our marriage bear the fruit of the Spirit.  We surrender our lives and our marriage to You.  You have our bodies, possessions, and spirits; we give You our hearts, souls, minds, and strength.  We belon…

God Uses Unlikely People

One of the things that strike me about God is that the value society has given to people makes no difference to Him. In fact it seems that God would rather use the common, even the despised, people of the world to make a difference in this world. Consider Moses. God doesn’t use Moses when he is a prince of Egypt, but when he is a nomadic shepherd. Certainly God has used the rich and the powerful, but more often than not God has used the poor, sinful, and abused. God uses the unlikeliest people.

This reality comes our loud and clear at Christmas time. Think about the major characters of the Christmas story: Joseph who is a poor and scandalize carpenter, Mary who is a young and scandalized girl, Shepherds who are a bunch of untrustworthy characters. Only the Magi have credibility in society, but this diminishes in Jewish culture since these men were Gentiles. The most important event in the history of the world and God chooses people who are rejected and wouldn’t be believed by so…

Worship is a Lifestyle

"It's a lot easier to sing a song than it is to stop and touch the broken. It's a lot less taxing to go to church than to take 'church' to the world. But sharing with others is a sacrifice of worship that makes God smile." ~ Louie Giglio; The Air I Breathe

Worship isn't just about music. Worship isn't just an activity that is planned and programmed. Worship is about glorifying God with our lives. When we seek to honor God, we worship Him.

Worship happens anytime and anyplace. It happens Sunday mornings at church. It happens Wednesday night at Bible Study. It happens when we chat with our neighbor. It happens when we serve those in need. It happens when we show love to the lonely. Worship is what being a Christian is all about.

Worship is a life lived in response to God's gracious blessings. God has given us so much. We owe Him every breath we breathe. He is responsible for our talents we use. God has given us blessing after blessing. Only a life o…