Sunday, December 15, 2013

Waiting For the Lord: God's Grace and the Virtue of Patience

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Waiting For the Lord
God's Grace and the Virtue of Patience

                                 I fear God in many ways and for various reasons described below, but then I realized that I often have a tendency to try to scramble to get all my “ducks” in order. Under the impression of an absolute rule I felt was wholly and always applicable—that is, the guiding rule that we must all pursue God ourselves right now lest we lose out on the relationship—perhaps does not have as much credence as I thought ‘til tonight (05/15/13). It is wholly appicable, but also if a person is prone to impulsivity, then they may end up stepping in front of the Lord. Some of us (I, included) want to go very fast, but the Lord is slow moving and patient, so it's important to pace ourselves with God. In my own fear, I had been vigorously praying to God.  I felt I had to do more for him to propel our relationship as fast as it could forward. The idea obviously came from the rule above; and to think that the relationship we shared would be hindered by my slowness to react and to understand his will was not as spot-on as I had thought. For God shook my heart when I desperately prayed for his will to be revealed, “You want to do it all yourself!” was the feeling that popped into my heart.
Matthew 16:23 23"Jesus turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me; you do not have in mind the concerns of God, but merely human concerns.”

Ring a sinful bell for anyone? Get BEHIND Jesus, Kyle, geez golly oh man! What is my deal lately! Perhaps it was the Sin of autonomy? The fall of my sins here was more a lack of understanding than an inherent will to dictate to God. Innocent enough, for we all learn our lessons. However, while this might not seem inherently bad to those of you who also have a powerful need to pursue God's lessons of faith as if they were short strokes of a paintbrush, the reality is that this kind of 'stepping in front of the Lord' is utterly DISASTROUS for a Christian. In essence, I was accidentally taking the lead in the relationship, thinking I knew better in an unconscious way. My vigor had turned against me.
The good I wanted in my life "for me" had deceived me, just as Peter's good will for Christ would have actually condemned all humanity if he had his way. Another harmless misunderstanding? Perhaps it was since God is always in control regardless, but for both Peter and I the rebuke was painful and hard learned. Deceived by my own desire to correct my flawed character, I became more self-interested in being white as snow which was filled with vanity and false self-actualization in Christ. It became about being more like a Pharisee than it was being righteous for the sake of Christ. It actually caused me to sin the worst sin—heaven became more important than Christ and inherent pride caused me to make demands of God. Winning spiritual treasures became an object to win with hard work and not by Christ’s Grace. My ducks were far from in order.
I did not face disaster, thankfully, but I lost some serious sleep over it for nearly a week thinking God hated me. The truth was I grieved God by accident. Therefore, do not be concerned so much with your character as you are now, but instead concentrate on protecting Christ's heart by emulating Him calmly and patiently. It may sound incorrect to some of you, but try it. Focus only on the Lord and His will in deep patience and sincerity. Your character is not truly in question because we are washed in cleansing blood of Christ, and it would be quite fruitless to try to rectify those past sins without Christ, for the inherent sins of man and his wicked thoughts are simply cleansed by Christ. Our ways are not God's ways, but through Christ we slowly form that steady learning relationship through abandonment of ourselves to Him. Instead, be concerned for what you can do for God according to His will, and not about looking bad in God's eyes.
Wait and be patient for His answers. Be ready to serve in ways that you are not ready for or wanting to. Be instant in-season and out-of-season. Ministry for God means doing things you don't want to and being ready to minister to others in need when you are rushed, tired, lazy, or even sick (etc) and often you may be put into situations that are scary, deadly, uncomfortable (etc). Serving Christ like a pastor is so generic and not terribly useful to Christ for us all since there is a great need for regular people to simply reach out to everyday regular people at any given notice. I have found that my own homelessness had placed me in a position to minister to other homeless people! I found once when I was very sick and near death that I ministered to two other sick people and they began attending church with me! So you see, "doing" things for God is not about not sinning but the change in heart. Your attitudes begin to change. The old things you used to value and want slip away and before you know it you talk about Christ all the time. People listen to you and you suffer for Christ and feel the love of Christ in ways you never thought possible. I had to suffer homelessness and sickness to minister to those three people, so be prepared, being a servant of God is more than not sinning, it's about Christ and being concerned for Him. It's a heart change, not so much about not sinning but grace!
Psalm 27:13-14
13 I remain confident of this:
    I will see the goodness of the Lord
    in the land of the living.
14 Wait for the Lord;
    be strong and take heart
    and wait for the Lord.
                      Follow God, for although it may seem a better virtue not to be patient when pursuing him with all your vigor, patience is still a virtue even then. In these times of limbo, tidy yourself up and try to stay productive while waiting for the voice of the Lord to give his answers to your heart. Remember when Christ spoke to the rich young man?
21 Jesus answered, “If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.”

Jesus says, if you want to be perfect, then that is how you go about achieving that perfection! Even Christ makes it clear what we must do for perfect emulation of Him. Well, what are you waiting for?