New Thinking, New Faith

June 29, 2018

 

Have you ever felt like you’ve reached a ceiling in your faith? Sometimes that ceiling can look like a wall, a rut, or even a routine. It’s a mindset that believes you’ve gotten to a point where there’s nothing new to be had in your relationship with God. It’s a heartbreaking lie wrapped up in a painful truth.

 

When we get to these points in our faith, and we all do, the truth is that we’ve gotten comfortable within the limited sphere of our understanding of the scriptures and our experience of God. It’s old hat. We’ve been there and done that. The lie, is that this is all there is.

 

If all we ever do in our walk with God is read our Bible and go to church on Sundays then we’ll be looking at Christianity as a spectator sport. Living on the energy and zeal of someone else’s revelation while never coming to one of our own. We go to the next conference, listen to the next speaker, read the current best selling Christian book, get convicted, feel really good about moving forward, and go back into the same pattern of behavior as before.

 

I have nothing against conferences, books or eloquent speakers. What I’m saying is that we cannot rely on these to be what matures us in Christ, because they won’t. I’ve tried.

 

If we find ourselves bored in our walk with Jesus it’s because we’ve stopped walking with Jesus and we’ve parked ourselves in religion. Somewhere along the line we stopped taking the cross and the Word of God seriously.

 

We read scriptures like, “But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you” (Matthew 6:33, ESV) and within five minutes we’re worrying about how we’re going to pay our bills at the end of the month, or how we’re going to fix that rattling sound in our car. As if the Word of God is irrelevant to our circumstances.

 

We have to stop looking at the words in Scripture with admiration, and we need to start obeying them. Not out of a place of obligation or duty, but in a grateful response to the love of the One who gave up everything so we could! His grace isn’t just about pardoning us from sin, but about enabling us to live the way we were actually designed to live: like Jesus.

 

It’s not about being perfect and checking all the boxes, but rather being perfected by His grace as we draw nearer to Him in relationship and repent when we find ourselves thinking or behaving in a way that is not seeking first His kingdom and His righteousness.

 

When we do this, the ceiling we’ve been banging our head on will vanish. The more we seek Him, the more of Himself He gives. There’s an enormous difference in your walk with Jesus when you stop making your walk about you, and you start making it about reflecting Him. Have you been forgiven? Amen! Go forgive people who have hurt you. Have you been healed? Fantastic! Now go heal people.

 

Yesterday I was taking photos of a group of women during one of my equine ministry sessions. One of the women was ending her horse session early because she was having some pretty bad pain in her sciatica. Immediately I felt convicted to pray for her to be healed. Out loud. In front of four other women, two of whom I didn’t really know at all.

 

I stalled by asking her questions and felt the stirring of the Holy Spirit. I didn’t have to do this, and I knew God’s love for me wouldn’t change if I chose not to pray for her. But I also knew that the biggest reason the God of the Bible doesn’t manifest very often today the way He did then, is because very few people are willing to do today what the disciples and apostles of the first century church were willing to do then.

 

As I stalled, I knew that I wanted to know the Jesus Peter and Paul knew. I didn’t want to just have scriptures memorized anymore, I wanted to experience them. Jesus said that we can do even greater things than He did because we have the Holy Spirit (John 14:12). I want to know on a heart-level and experiential level what that means! I wanted it enough to do something about it.

 

I asked her if I could pray for her to be healed of her pain. “If you really want to,” she shrugged. I had to remind myself that God is far bigger than anyone’s unbelief. While I wasn’t sure that He would heal her instantaneously, I was certain that her pain, which was causing her to stop engaging in an activity she loved that included hearing about the love of Jesus, was not a kind of pain God wanted her to endure. So I prayed a simple prayer of gratitude and healing and invited her to get back on the horse.

 

I saw her wince when she sat in the saddle again, and I admit I had to resist feeling defeated. The Holy Spirit reminded me of the fig tree Jesus cursed in Mark 11:12-14, 20-26. Sometimes what we pray for is answered immediately in the spiritual, and it takes time to manifest in the physical.

 

We can’t allow our fears of stepping out in faith limit our experiencing the love and power of Jesus because we’re stealing so much from those we encounter by doing so. The Word is either true or it’s not, and if it’s completely true then there is a whole lot more to this walk with Jesus than my own healing and joy.

 

That ceiling we hit for ourselves is an invitation to take the Word of God seriously and be willing to look like a fool for the sake of the gospel. Be willing. I didn’t witness immediate healing, but it doesn’t mean healing won’t happen. I’m confident it will.

 

I look forward to hearing the story of how she woke up one day and realized the pain was gone. Step outside of what you know to be true and explore what He says is true. When we get out of the boat, it’s terrifying, but it’s worth it to walk on water.

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