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How God Builds Your Faith: Decision

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Spirit/e—The Purpose Driven Life

2009. 8. 1.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
 
"But when you ask Him, be sure that your faith is in God alone. Do not waver, for a person with divided loyalty is as unsettled as a wave of the sea that is blown and tossed by the wind . . . Their loyalty is divided between God and the world, and they are unstable in everything they do" (James 1:6, 8).
 
After God gives you a dream, the next step for building your faith is decision; God challenges you to do something about your dream.

Nothing is going to happen to that dream until you wake up and put it into action. You've got to make the decision: "I'm going to go for it!" For every ten dreamers in the world, there is only one decision maker. A lot of people have dreams but they never get to step two: making the decision to trust God and follow their dream.

James says, "But when you pray, you must believe and not doubt at all. Whoever doubts is like a wave in the sea that is driven and blown about by the wind. If you are like that, unable to make up your mind and undecided in all you do, you must not think that you will receive anything from the Lord" (James 1:6-7).

Faith is a verb. It's active and not passive. It's something you do. Decision making is a faith-building activity. You use your muscles of faith.

Faithful decision making requires two things:

1. You must decide to invest your time, money, reputation, and energy. You lay it on the line; you take the plunge. You say, "God, You've told me to do this and I'm going to be faithful to do it!"

2. You have to let go of security. You cannot move in faith and hold onto the past at the same time. You have to move forward. God told Abraham that He was going to make him the father of a great nation, and that meant Abraham had to leave his home for an unknown destination. Moses had to let go of his position in Pharaoh's kingdom in order to do God's will. Nehemiah gave up a secure job in order to go build a wall around Jerusalem. In other words, if you want to walk on water, you've got to get out of the boat.

A great illustration of God's plan is a trapeze artist. They swing out holding onto a trapeze bar, and then they let go in order to grab hold of another trapeze bar that swings them to the other side. But, at one point, they're not holding on to any bar. They're suspended in air for a split second.

Have you ever been there in a career, where you're leaving one job for another and nothing's in between? You're 180 feet above the ground with no net below and holding onto nothing.

But if you don't let go and grab onto the vision God wants you to have, you swing back. only you don't swing all the way back; instead, you swing back lower and lower until you're finally stopped, hanging there in the air. And there's only one way out: down!

That's why God brings you to a point of decision, so your faith will build as you swing toward the dream God has given you.

 
 
 
 

 

 

 

 

 

 
"But these things I plan won't happen right away. Slowly, steadily, surely, the time approaches when the vision will be fulfilled. If it seems slow, do not despair, for these things will surely come to pass. Just be patient! They will not be overdue a single day!" (Habakkuk 2:3).
 
Even as you make a decision to follow the dream God places in your heart, you can expect a delay. God will not fulfill your dream immediately because this is another step toward building your faith.

In Habakkuk 2, God says, "These things I plan won't happen right away. Slowly, steadily, surely, the time approaches when the vision will be fulfilled."

In this step of faith-building you will most likely start asking the question, "When, Lord? When are You going to answer my prayer?"

And we hate to wait. We don't like to wait in a doctor's office, or in traffic jams, or at restaurants, or for Christmas presents, or for anything else. But what we hate worst of all is waiting on God.

Have you ever been in a hurry when God wasn't? It's so irritating! You're ready, but God isn't. God wants to work on you before He works on the project. Every believer must go through the University of Learning to Wait (ULW). Some of us are still working on our degrees from ULW!

• Noah waited 120 years from the time he started building the ark until it began to rain.
• Abraham was told he would be the father of a great nation and didn't have a child until he was 99.
• God told Moses he would be the leader to lead his people out of 400 years of slavery, but then made him wait in the desert 40 years.
• Joseph spent years in prison before God raised him up and he became the ruler God wanted him to be.
• God had David anointed as king, but then David waited for years until he actually got to be king.

We all have to go through these waiting periods. Even Jesus waited for 30 years in the carpenter's shop before setting out on his public ministry.

Why do we wait? It teaches us to trust in God. We learn that His timing is perfect. one of the facts we have to learn is this: God's delay never destroys His purpose.

A delay is not a denial. Children must learn the difference between "no" and "not yet," and so must we. Many times we think God is saying, "No," but He is saying, "Not yet."
 
 
 
 

 

 

 

 

 

 
"This means tremendous joy to you, I know, even though you are temporarily harassed by all kinds of trials and temptations. This is no accident—it happens to prove your faith, which is infinitely more valuable than gold" (1 Peter 1:6-7).
 
In order to build your faith, God will give you a dream, then He'll urge you to make a decision, but then He'll allow a delay, because in the delay He matures you and prepares you for what is to come.

The truth is you'll have difficulties while God delays. This isn't because He doesn't care about you or that He's forgotten your circumstances; rather, it's one of the ways He pushes you toward the deep end of faith.

As God delays, you'll face two types of difficulties: circumstances and critics. This is a natural part of life. God designed it this way because He knows we grow stronger when facing adversity and opposition.

When Moses led the children of Israel out of Egypt into the desert toward the Promised Land, he had one problem after another. First there was no water. Then there was no food. Then there were a bunch of complainers. Then there were poisonous snakes. Moses was doing what God wanted him to do, but he still had problems.

David was anointed king, and then for the next several years he was hunted down by Saul. Joseph had a dream of becoming a ruler, yet he was sold into slavery and thrown into prison on a false charge where he languished, forgotten. Imagine the difficulties Noah had building a floating zoo!

The Bible says that when Moses died, Joshua was appointed the new leader. Moses led the people across the desert and then Joshua led them into the Promised Land. Did he get the easy part? The Bible says that when the Israelites entered the Promised Land there were giants in the land. Even in the Promised Land there were problems!

God does this because He is building our faith and character. When we finally come to a place where the difficulties become so bad, where we've reached our limit, where we've tried everything and exhausted all our options, it is then that God begins a mighty work through us: "I know, even though you are temporarily harassed by all kinds of trials and temptations. This is no accident—it happens to prove your faith, which is infinitely more valuable than gold" (1 Peter 1:6-7).

 
 
 
 

 

 

 

 

 
 
“At that time we were completely overwhelmed, the burden was more than we could bear, in fact we told ourselves that this was the end. Yet we believe now that we had this experience of coming to the end of our tether that we might learn to trust, not in ourselves, but in God who can raise the dead” (2 Corinthians 1:8-9).
 
When the pursuit of your dream deteriorates from difficult to impossible; when the situation looks hopeless, congratulations! You’re in good company.

Even Paul went through dead ends: “At that time we were completely overwhelmed, the burden was more than we could bear, in fact we told ourselves that this was the end. Yet we believe now that we had this experience of coming to the end of our tether that we might learn to trust, not in ourselves, but in God who can raise the dead” (2 Corinthians 1:8-9).

If God can raise people physically, He can raise people who are dead emotionally. He can raise a dead marriage. He can resurrect a dead career. He can resurrect you from a health problem. If God can raise the dead, He can do anything.

In Abraham’s situation, God said, “I want you to become the father of a nation,” but then Abraham had to wait until he was 99 years old before he had his first child. The Bible shows Abraham’s situation going from difficult to impossible. He looks at his body and says, “No way!” Then he looks at his wife and says, “Double no way!”

But Sarah got pregnant and they laughed about it. When the baby was born, they named him Isaac, which means laughter.

God often lets problems become impossibilities. The disciples planned to follow Jesus. They thought He was the Messiah, but then the next thing they know Jesus is hanging on the cross, dying. Was this a dead end for the disciples? For three days it seemed that way, but then Jesus walked out of the tomb.

When you face a dead end, you may start asking, “What’s going on, God? Did I miss Your will? Your plan? Have I missed Your vision?” Keep in mind that dead ends are part of God’s plan for you.

What’s the best response to a dead end? “He has delivered us from such a terrible death, and He will deliver us; we have placed our hope in Him that He will deliver us again” (2 Corinthians 1:10).
 
 
 
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
“‘What do you mean, ‘If I can’?’ Jesus asked. ‘Anything is possible if a person believes’” (Mark 9:23).
 
God will build your faith by planting a dream within you. But that dream will require a decision of faith, and then God will stretch your faith as you face delays, difficulties, and dead ends.

It is then that God comes in and delivers. God does a miracle. God provides a solution. For instance:

• In Moses’ case, God parts the Red Sea.
• In Abraham’s case, he and Sarah miraculously conceive a child.
• In Joseph’s case, all of a sudden his dream comes true and he finds himself no longer imprisoned in a dungeon; instead, he is the second in command in Egypt.

And Jesus was resurrected! God can even turn a crucifixion into resurrection, and that means He has the power to transform your dead ends into deliverance. He builds your faith through delays, difficulties, and dead ends, so that when He delivers you—God gets all the credit!

When faced with a dead end, the best response is to expect God to act. What are you expecting God to do in your life? Jesus says, “According to your faith will it be done to you” (Matthew 9:29).

When you wait for deliverance, then God gets the credit. And you can look back to see how God led you through a path of faith, expanding and increasing your trust of Him with every step. Your faith is stronger and now you can say with confidence: “I am expecting the Lord to rescue me again, so that once again I will see His goodness to me” (Psalm 27:13).
 
 
 
 
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

PurposeDriven.com by Rick Warren