Before jumping into this week’s topic, be sure to download the I’m ALL In Prayer Guide.
God recently blessed me with the opportunity to see some things my mom has been praying about manifest firsthand. I can’t get into details, but for these things to finally happen is nothing but a complete miracle. I’m so glad God blessed me with the opportunity to witness it. To be honest, I’m telling you, if someone else told me her story without seeing it firsthand, I would be calling cap so fast it’s not even funny!
My mom has diligently prayed about this situation for almost three (3) years. I knew what she was praying for and wanted this desire to come to fruition. Day after day, without seeing any change in our situation, I was frustrated, but not my mom. In fact, there were times–sorry, Mom–that I would get upset with her out of frustration, wondering how she could be so calm when nothing seemed to be going right.
She responded, “When you know you’re right, all you have to do is stay in faith, continue to praise God, and patiently wait for your change to come. I’ve lived long enough to know that it will come. God’s timing is perfect. It takes more time when He has a bigger blessing in store for you. God is giving you something better than you prayed for.” All I can say is, as always, she was right!
I’m honored that God blessed me with such a godly mother and, even more so, the opportunity to see this miracle play out right before my eyes. To finally see her prayers start to manifest was exciting but led me to start questioning my level of faith. When my mom is faced with circumstances, she immediately–eerily calmly, I might add–goes to God in prayer and asks the Holy Spirit to guide her out of the situation.
When I’m faced with difficult or negative circumstances, my first thought is to get angry and throw myself a pity party, “Why do I always feel like I keep getting subscribed to God’s trial and tribulation package when I want the soft life package?” Once I calm down, I complain about the situation to my mom, and she calms me down. I then pray to God, apologize to God for my behavior, and then ask for guidance on how to resolve my problem so I can reduce the time it takes to learn whatever lesson He wants to teach me.
If you couldn’t already tell, there are a whole lot of unnecessary steps in my approach to difficult or negative circumstances compared to my mom. My goal is to be like my mom. I finally asked myself, “What’s holding you back from being all in with God?”
As much as I hate to admit it, those three things are little faith, fear, and impatience. Let’s tackle little faith first.
The first thing I should do when I encounter a negative situation is to pray to God for guidance. As you can see in my example, prayer ends up toward the latter end of my resolution process. Obviously, this is a huge disconnect. I constantly fight to remind myself that God is bigger than my problems. I know this is true, but when my faith is put to the test, let’s just say I’m not acing my exams the way I want nor as fast as I would like to do so.
Every correct answer on the exam is to go to God in prayer. Yet, I end up choosing options like going to so and so for help or making a decision and assuming that God will bless what I decide later. Do you see what I mean? Wrong answers! Since God believes in retesting, failing to answer that one question can mean that I can be stuck on that same question for days, months, or years until I finally choose the correct answer–The Answer is always and will forever be Go to God in prayer.
My delay in choosing the correct answer stems from the fact that, at that moment, I’m experiencing little faith. In Matt 14: 22-33, Peter told Christ that if it was really Him, to tell Peter to come to Him by walking on the water towards Him. Peter gets out of the boat, starts walking on the water, and got scared when he saw the wind and started to drown. Peter asked Christ to save him. Christ immediately reached out his hand to help Peter and chastised him, saying, “You of little faith, why did you doubt?”
We all have the ability to “walk” over the problems we experience in life if we stay focused on Christ. However, if we allow the resistance we experience in our journey to distract us like Peter, we’re going to sink.
This is why we need to work on building up our faith by daily reading, instilling, and applying God’s word into our souls. Doing so will remind us that God is sovereign. The resistance I face in walking towards Christ may be a surprise to me, but not to Him. He’s got all my circumstances under control (1 Cor 10:13). However, the choice is up to me as to whether I’ll believe Him. Christ is not going to save me unless l ask for His help to save me. Unfortunately, so many people end up drowning in their problems because they allow fear to get in the way of asking God for His help.
Having fear is a blessing and a curse. When properly channeled, it can protect us. It can help us realize when we’re in danger and keep us from making a mistake. We’re trying to be conscientious of our surroundings so we don’t experience any unnecessary trouble by either associating with the wrong people or not paying attention to God’s signals that we shouldn’t be at a certain place or participating in a particular activity.
However, the majority of the time, when we experience fear, we’re tapping into the curse aspect of fear. We allow fear to give us a major case of analysis paralysis. We’re too scared to make a decision because we’re afraid it’s going to be the wrong one. We don’t want to make a mistake (Rom 8:28). This type of fear can prevent us from recognizing that God already has the solution to our problems, but we won’t be able to access the answer until we have demonstrated that we trust Him. Our faith activates God to provide us the ability to see that the solutions to our problems were often right in front of us–we just couldn’t see them.
Case in point, God asked Abraham to kill his son Issac. There’s no way you can’t convince me that Abraham wasn’t scared and questioning whether he had truly heard from God. After all, how could God’s promise to make a great nation come from his lineage if he killed his one and only son, Issac? Yet, Abraham didn’t allow his fear to paralyze him. He worked through his fear to demonstrate his allegiance to God. God honored his faith by stopping him from killing his son and by providing him with the solution–a ram–hiding in the thicket, aka bush. However, Abraham would never have seen the ram if he didn’t allow his faith to override his fear.
Our fear of making the wrong decision is often driven by the fact that we’re too afraid of how people will react to our decisions. I want to ABC, but I wonder what so and so might think or feel… We can’t control people’s actions, but we can control our reactions. If what we desire is aligned with God, we shouldn’t care about other people’s thoughts. We give people too much power. People can’t kill the body and our soul–that’s a feat only God can accomplish. Therefore, we need to constructively channel that fear to pleasing God, not man.
Yet, that isn’t what we do. Instead of letting Jesus take the wheel, we let impatience drive. We want to remove the thing (s) that we deem are responsible for taking away our peace of mind.
If God isn’t moving fast enough, we want to “help” Him out. Speaking from personal experience, when I identify a problem, I automatically go into problem-solving mode. What can I do to solve ABC? I wonder if so and so can help…
I mentally start rambling a list of solutions that I think–emphasis on I think–would resolve the problem. Then when they don’t work, I get upset. I have no one but myself to blame. God already warned me that His thoughts are not my thoughts, nor are His ways my ways. He’s basically saying, “I have the solutions to your problems, but I won’t share them with you if you don’t trust me enough to ask for help.”
The main issue is that God’s ideas and timing often don’t align with our desires. We want what we want when we want it. God wants us to give us what we need, not necessarily what we want. Especially if He knows we’re not in a position to handle that particular desire. Our desire to remove the issue that is causing us fear and discomfort is more important to us. The space in time we have to wait on God to provide us with the outcome we desire will, without a doubt, cause us unnecessary friction if we fail to pick up the attributes of Christ while we wait on Him.
That delay we experience in life is God pointing us towards unaddressed sin, developing us in weak areas, or clearing away obstacles we don’t see. Being impatient will place us in a position to always make the wrong decision. This will cause us to experience confusion and leave us susceptible to allowing the wrong people in our lives and searching for peace in all the wrong places. We can avoid this by just waiting on God to guide us. God wants us to experience His best. The only way to do so is to be all in with Him by incorporating the 3 Cs clarity, confidence, and courage into our lives. Let’s dive into clarity.
So many of us, myself included, delay or don’t experience God’s best because we’re not committed to the relationship. Do I trust God God? The answer is yes or no. If your answer is, “It depends,” consider that a no as well. Then this means that you are a double-minded man, unstable in all your ways (James 1:8). When your behavior is lukewarm, God (Rev 3:15 -16) will make the decision for you and get rid of you. God doesn’t want nor need fair-weather folks in His family. Having a relationship with Him benefits us, not the other way around. God wants the best for us. Knowing this will give us the confidence we need to hang in there when life gets difficult.
When you have made the decision to trust God, You can rest assured that He will give you the strength and the resources to overcome whatever difficulties you encounter. God doesn’t give us more than we can bear (1 Cor 10:13). If we wear our spiritual armor (Eph 6), we’re prepared for the battle. I can’t stress enough how important using our shield of faith is during our battles.
If we think that we’re constantly getting hit with Satan’s fiery arrows, just imagine how many of those arrows didn’t make it through the shield. Right now, I’m in a situation that would seem hopeless for many people (check out ep. 207 for more detail), but because God blessed me with a godly mom, I’ve been fortunate enough to piggyback off of her faith. This has placed me in a position to strengthen my faith so I don’t have to learn everything through the school of hard knocks. I’m so grateful and fortunate that God is blessing me with the ability to see rays of sunshine breaking through the storm clouds.
When you embrace God’s omnipotence, you’re going to have the courage to face your problems.
When God sees that you trust Him, He’s going to give you the wisdom and courage you need to conquer your battles. Christians lose a lot of battles because we focus on the circumstances and not God. We talk about how many people are against us, we further describe the prestige those folks against us may possess, and we then quote statistics that may apply to our situation without realizing that this is further reinforcing our desire not to fight back. By the way, quick side note, as someone who works in marketing, I know how easily data can be manipulated, so you have to be careful about the weight you’re willing to give to those stats.
Everything I just named weakens our resistance. It leaves us vulnerable because we’re relying on man to solve our problems. It takes a lot of courage to wait on God. Again, His timing doesn’t align with ours. Therefore, it’s going to look like He’s not doing anything but trust me, that’s when He’s doing His best work. It’s our job to have the courage to stand behind the shield of faith and ignore the naysayers as we wait on Him to resolve our situation.
It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to see that we live in a wicked world. This is why God told us to be wise as a serpent and harmless as a dove. We should always make sure that people’s words match their actions before allowing them to take up space in our lives. However, God should not be on this list. He wants to give us the desires of our hearts, but He can’t do that unless He knows that we’re ALL in with Him.
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