You may recall I posted earlier about wondering where God is, and why He doesn't seem to come through, and whether He is really listening. Well God has his ways, and while I still have the same job, the same finances, the same needs, He used some mostly unrelated things at church this weekend to teach me on this. So I will share it with you.
1. Recall what you know God has done for you in the past (I Sam 12:23-25)
When you really stop and think about all the times before that you know God worked in your life, it begins to seem really silly to doubt God. If you have been a Christian for any length of time, you have had important points in your life that you can point to, where God has stepped in and taken care of you. Taken together, these points in your life form a testimony to the goodness and faithfulness of God. Take time to quietly think back over your life and consider these times God has shown Himself faithful to you.
2. Realize God wants you to trust Him day by day (Mat 6:33-34)
In Psalm 37 we read, "I have been young, and now am old; yet have I not seen the righteous forsaken, nor his seed begging bread." Again, take a look back over your life. Has God ever left you desolate, as a Christian? Hasn't he always provided for your basic needs?
Also, whenever you have seemed to have lost it all, hasn't God always, in His time, set you back on your feet again? Even at the low points in your life God brings the ravens to sustain you through the times of testing and trial. A full savings account was never necessary to secure God's provision, was it?
Maybe you have been coasting along through life with your job and budget and paying bills and not thinking twice about it. Now you find yourself wondering how you will make it. Maybe God is trying to pull your focus to Him.
3. Remember that this world is not our home and our blessed hope is in Christ coming again (Tit 2:12-14)
I was raised on Southern Gospel music and much of that music was about heaven and the joy of seeing Christ face to face. Have you thought about His coming lately? When I thought about it, I was taken aback by how long it has been since I really stopped and meditated on Christ's coming and our final reward. As Christians, our expectation should be on Christ and His promises, and primarily on His promise to come again in glory and power. We will be glorified, sin's power will be completely broken, our new bodies will be whole and healthy, we will meet our departed brothers and sisters in Christ never to part again, and we will see Christ face to face! "Thy kingdom come" should be our heart's desire.
4. Let the Holy Spirit renew your mind and so transform you into His image (Rom 12:1-3)
The renewal/transformation is the process of sanctification, which is carried out by the Holy Spirit. It has three parts:
1. Reception- Learning/Conviction
2. Response- Obedience
3. Reward- Spiritual Growth
The Holy Spirit teaches and convicts you, after which when we choose to be obedient then the Spirit gives us the power to obey, after which our faith increases as we move forward in our Christian walk. However, this process can never happen if you aren't receptive to the things of the Spirit and of God.
Are you allowing yourself to be taught? Do you read the Scriptures? Do you attend church? Do you fellowship with other believers? Do you study spiritual matters and doctrines? All of these things are nothing in themselves- but they are powerful in that they are opportunities for you to receive teaching and instruction so that you may be more obedient and conformed to Christ.
Are you yielding to conviction? When the Spirit knocks at the door with a message of correction or rebuke, do you listen, or do you try to shut it out and ignore it?
God cares enough for your soul to send His Holy Spirit to teach, convict, comfort, and guide. He is very much interested in perfecting you. If I were working on a wooden replica of a sailboat, painstakingly recreating every detail, do you think I would leave it out in the rain without treating the wood? Or would I hand it to a 2 year old to break? Certainly not!
If you are a Christian, you will know the fine hand of God working out your spiritual condition over the years. And you must know that your spiritual condition is paramount to Him. If He must bring the circumstances around you down to the ground in order to advance the condition of your soul He will. If you are not focused on the work of the Spirit in your life and the renewing of your mind, you will not understand this, and you will condemn Him over circumstances when He is simply exercising responsible stewardship over your soul!
This is why the issue of the "renewing of your mind" is important. In making the Spirit's work in your life a primary focus you unlock the potential to actually have an answer for the question, "Why is this happening to me, God?"
If you DON'T have the answer to that question in your life right now, this is a clear indicator that you need to seek Him, and put more focus on what He trying to do for your soul. Your circumstances actually become an invitation from God to have a closer relationship. And to think we are upset about this!