Confidence

And my God will meet all your needs according to His glorious riches in Christ Jesus.  Philippians 4:19.

The strength of a person’s character depends not on their intuitive or inherent ability but on their connection to God.  You see, a person who claims prosperity outside of Christ has absolutely no guarantee it will last and a sure guarantee that it won’t (in an eternal perspective), therefore their boasting is vanity, empty and useless.
 
Those in Christ find a wealth outside of the human perception or ability to grasp.  Earthly wealth, prosperity and comfort all bases itself on the ideal of walls, material goods and/or currency of some sort.  The person’s take on the subject depends on what they lacked at one time or another.
 
I have a cat named Nips.  Nips came to me as a kitten stray but noticeably tame not feral.  I’m pretty sure she went hungry a few times because I could see her bones sticking out on her hips, so I began to feed her once a day outside my house.  Then the weather got cold so I invited her to sleep in my house and put blankets or old towels in a corner for her snuggle into.  As you would expect, she adopted me and I haven’t been able to let go of her since.  But Nips inhales her food so fast that she many times throws it up outside.  Going hungry put a little tick in her kitty brain that she should eat any time she could find food, so she begs for it constantly from me.
 
I can’t feed her as much as she wants and keep her healthy at the same time, so she gets two meals a day (small handfuls).  She accepts this with resignation but complains pretty vehemently around 7 a.m. and starting at 3:30 p.m., if I’m home to listen.  I’ve had to steel myself against this onslaught of piteously begging meows or I would have a 20 lbs. cat on my hands with heart disease.
 
In my last post I wrote about a difference of opinion which occurred between me and one of my close family members over the life choices I’ve made.  I also confessed to being in debt due to some bad decisions during a stressful time.  Since that discussion, the person and I have come to terms with these things and they admit God’s provision for me has been unprecedented and pronounced.  We went on to discuss what this might mean to our various life structures.  In other words, peace reigns.
 
God provides out of His abundance in different ways.  Some people are financially wealthy, others are not.  Both ends of this spectrum can be just as faithful to the Lord but not have equal financial security in the world’s eyes.  Yet this is not the case when it comes to God’s provision, for the person of wealth has been given it to minister to the unfortunate in the church–not necessarily to give it away but to employ or otherwise raise the person up who is struggling to maintain provision.  Both situations are from God in order that the wealthy might learn grace and mercy by giving and the poor might learn humility and grace by receiving.
 
God provides my needs wonderfully.  He hasn’t chosen to give me all the money I need for a comfortable life or timely payments to my creditors, but I am able to meet my obligations.  God’s time is not man’s time and visa versa.  Our renewed minds take on a new perspective which excludes man’s priorities and conforms to God’s alone.  This doesn’t mean we ignore our world or their requirements, rather it means that if we don’t have the means because God hasn’t provided at this time, we in humility approach the creditor or authority with honest lack.  Then in our lack we demonstrate God’s miraculous power to provide for both parties through our faith.
 
Yet God requires that we be faithful with what He gives us.  Jesus called us out to discipline by saying,  “Those faithful with little will be faithful in much!”  In other words, He won’t trust us with much until He knows we can handle the little.
 
If there were never any poor, disenfranchised, oppressed or persecuted, the world would never see the character of the God we serve, for it is through our trials that He shows Himself powerful and loving.  Many argue that if God really cared, He wouldn’t make us go through such bad times at all.  This is quite inaccurate Scripturally–and for me, experimentally.  Never has my witness been more powerful than when I demonstrated weakness in the eyes of the world but incredible strength in the eyes of faith toward my God.
 
He owns the cattle on a thousand hills, all the earth is His; I am His child and a sheep in His pasture.  What do I have to be afraid of even in the worst situations the world can throw at me?  Nothing.  Yet I am at times–to my shame.
 
God provides for us with or without our faith working. Yet our faith opens us to His peace while we wait for Him.  One of the passages of Scripture which warns us against falling back into human solutions or methods of protection ourselves is found in Isaiah 30:15-26, but I will emphasize verse 15 & 18:
 
This is what the Sovereign LORD, the Holy One of Israel says:  “In repentance and rest is your salvation, in quietness and trust is your strength, but you would have none of it.
 
“Yet the LORD longs to be gracious to you; He rises to show you compassion.  For the LORD is a God of justice. Blessed are all who wait for Him!”
 
You see what I mean.  In between verse 15 and 18 He warns them if they fall back on human resources, they will fall by the sword and their enemies will use human methods to kill and subjugate them.  Only when we rely on the Lord for our salvation and strength will we find either one of them.  It is only in the quiet trust in God’s character that we will find the strength to face the onslaught of human Resistance to His will.  It is only in turning away from their methods and attitudes and resting in God’s promises and instructions that we find our salvation.
 
It’s not by accident our salvation is based on an oxymoron in human eyes.  For the cross is foolishness to those who seek wisdom and a stumbling block to those who count on mysticism, but to us it is the light of life, the salvation of all who believe.
 
In my lack I see God come through daily.  I see the bills pile up and watch as my Savior provides in the most unorthodox ways.
 
You and I are children of the king, which makes us royalty as well.  A prince or princess doesn’t ever wonder where they will get the means to pay for their way because their daddy owns it all, right?  It’s the same with us.  No matter what kind of scrapes or stresses we might get into, our Daddy provides for us.  Now He might let us go through a period or two of hard times to teach us a lesson in discipline, which I believe He is doing in my case, but He will always provide a way of escape from sinful temptations and results if we repent and depend on  Him completely.
 
We as sons and daughters of the Most High are wealthy beyond human imagination for our Father in heaven made everything and so owns it all.  This means that out of two loaves and a few fish He can, has and will provide a meal so overwhelmingly abundant that we will have leftovers to share.  Yet when we walk away, most likely we won’t take anything away with us but will leave it for those in need.  Why?  How can we do this with such confidence?  For the simple reason we walk with the supplier.  His storehouse is the world and the fullness thereof, therefore we can live unencumbered by worry or travel trailers full of junk.  Our heavenly savings account is full to overflowing in Christ, so what have we to worry about when we lack by human reasoning?
 
We are always on His mind.  We are always in His thoughts and He loves us with an everlasting love.  If we die here, lack here, suffer here, our faith is not shattered or lessened because we know this is just a season of eternity.  In fact, if we suffer at the hands of men, we claim like Paul that we are honored to be like our Master in all things–even to sharing in His death at the hands of evil men (and that unjustly to boot).  Our wealth is in the character of Christ, material wealth means nothing for it isn’t an issue for those who belong to the King of kings.
 
This perspective is wildly counter to what we’ve been taught even in Christian circles that borders on insanity.  And yet, this is exactly what Paul claims the world and most of the religious world thought of those who served Jesus in his era.  Should we be thought of as fools, we celebrate for we know that for the most foolish in the eyes of men, God can bring about wisdom and strength beyond what they are capable of or can imagine.
 
If you felt bad for me in the last entry, it is because this perception of my condition or situation has been twisted to mean something other than what God would have us see.  I am not destitute.  You can ask anyone who knows of my life or failings and they will tell you with amazement of how God provides.  I am just an ordinary man with no more advantages than men who will read this blog.  I am not super Christian, a spiritual guru or anything special outside of what God is able to do through my gifts. Yet I can testify daily to the fact I don’t have to be anxious for anything or stress myself out over difficulties for God is able and has shown Himself ready, willing and eager to meet me in the mud in order to lift me up.  God alone can clean us off, He alone saves us from ourselves and man’s intentions.
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5 Responses to “Confidence”

  1. tlc4women Says:

    The gospel Jesus brought was good news to the poor. That wasn’t just people without money but people without relationship or spiritual knowledge or poor judgment. I suppose that’s why our lives confound the world.

  2. jonnysoundsketch2 Says:

    And in some form, I have each of those problems you mentioned. To me it’s the beauty of grace that God takes us as we are, where we are, loves us anyway and calls us His children, for none of us conform to the mind of Christ accurately. It’s one of the real reasons the body of Christ exists in order to keep us all accountable.

  3. tlc4women Says:

    I want to throw something in here, because while I understand what you are saying
    about grace and believe it wholeheartedly, I might add, I also see where mature
    Christians, and even me, to my shame, use grace as an excuse not to pull certain
    aspects of my life together. So while he accepts us, those tests and trials are there
    to grow us into losing old habits and making new ones. I often see where our
    testimony sometimes hinders the growth of those who are watching. I am much
    more aware of that over the last several years.

  4. jonnysoundsketch2 Says:

    Right. That’s actually what I was trying to say but couldn’t get out right. We make the mistake in our calling to righteousness what Dietrich Bonhoffer called “cheap grace” where we don’t actually change but talk about it a lot. The cost of being a disciple comes down to our dealing with our issues honestly, forthrightly and with active faith.

    Like my checkbook issues. I could make excuses for the fact that my computers went down (which they did) or that I struggled to the downloads to work (which I did) and that I grew frustrated with the whole process since nothing seemed to help, but that would be a cop out. I’ve since been developing my own Excel page (still working out the kinks) so I can keep track of my finances in a simpler way than either Microsoft Money or Quicken did. This way I keep it on track without all the confusion and don’t worry about missing anything.

    But without proactive efforts on God’s gift of grace, we become codependent on God, which He abhores. Proverbs rebukes the slacker quite a bit. In fact one proverb that comes to mind is that one about sluggered afraid to go to work because there might be a lion in the streets.

    I don’t think God cares how fast we grow as long as we make steps toward Him in all areas of our lives. That said, as we mature, our strides in these areas must grow as well.

    My record keeping muscles are a little atrophied from neglect, but with exercise, I’ll get back in shape.

  5. jonnysoundsketch2 Says:

    And thank-you for speaking about this.

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