Schedules were rearranged yesterday to care for a sick boy. I brushed his hair back as he fell asleep, finally, exhausted from illness. The verse penned on my left hand, almost rubbed completely off, caught my eye. A reminder to go deeper today into the hidden places of faith we all have.
I’ve taken a break from my #write31days for a few reasons. The biggest being I want my words to have integrity. I don’t enjoy slapping words down just to fill in the calendar, and I know readers appreciate content richer than I can offer half-heartedly.
Monday I began my daily prayer walk around my house. I stopped mid-walk and got real with God. But more than an honesty, I found a fear, a hesitance. I saw that I was approaching God as a lowly servant (which I am) to a high and lofty King (which He is) – but with an attitude contrary to what I know and profess about Him.
And I “walked” head-on into where the rubber of my theology meets the road of my faith.
What I know and what I believe, deep down, are obviously not the same thing.
Recently, I happened to define the difference for a class: To know is to understand; to have a clear and complete idea; to perceive. To believe is to accept or regard as true.
If you tell me God heals through prayer, I can completely understand what you are saying. It is quite another thing to believe it is true.
Beth Moore says, “We will act out what we believe, not what we know.”
If I don’t really believe, deep down, that my prayers matter, I won’t persevere in prayer.
If we really believed prayer made a difference, wouldn’t more believers be doing it? There is much discouragement aimed at the saints today in the area of prayer. I devote the majority of my study time to the subjects of prayer and spiritual warfare. I can say with no hesitance that oppression is the number one strategy of Satan for believers.
Oppression is often pinpointed to the core of what we believe about God. In my case, I found a deep-rooted seed that will take a persistent digging up to conquer. I too often judge God’s view of me based on my own limited human understanding.
I default to a God of judgement because I default that way with myself.
I can know and quote multiple verses on the character of a loving God, so why – WHY do I keep approaching Him as if He is my enemy? As if I’m starting over every day and need to slowly work my way up to some holy level and earn a spot at His table. It’s incredible, really, when your eyes are opened to deep-seeded beliefs.
I sat down in my living room and really thought about it. I don’t really believe, deep down, that God is totally for me, I thought. Why am I approaching Him this way?
My prayers have been hindered.
Then I thumbed through a devotional by my bed, and the last line said this: “To say God is for you means He is NOT against you.” Okay. So I remembered the sermon I heard a week ago on Romans 8, and I grabbed my Bible. Verse 1: “There is therefore, now, no condemnation for those who are in Christ.”
I’d found and confirmed what God needed to uproot in me. Though condemnation is the easy word, it’s not the deepest root. Most every problem is rooted here: unbelief.
I texted a friend and asked for prayer. I know to persevere, to change habits, to reform a belief system that will affect everything about the way I live my faith will take community.
A pastor recently mentioned to me that we often miss a big part of the prodigal story. When the Father looks upon his son, just before running to him, he is filled with compassion. Interesting thing is….when you are full of something, there is no room for anything else.
God has no room for condemnation. He is full of grace.
And I don’t know what took me there, but I came upon Galations 2:20, one of my first memory verses years ago. All these years I looked at it as something I needed to do. “Lord, crucify me.”
But just like the Spirit – in just the right time – on just the right day – to provide a whole new revelation. It actually says, “I have been crucified with Christ.” Have been. Done deal.
So now Christ – right now – already – lives in me. So Christ, the Son of the Living God, is there, approaching the Father through me. I can truly stop approaching God in fear because I no longer live…but Christ lives in me. And He had a pretty great prayer life.
I think we all have them: default beliefs. When the waters rise, what we really believe comes out. It’s important here, in these places – to run into the truth. To face what we see about ourselves head on.
We bring our questions and thoughts to the Word, and let Him sift the untruths. It matters that we know AND believe that God is love, so we can freely love others. It matters what we really regard as true, because we will act on it.
How we perceive God is how we will portray Him.
I’m thanking Him, moment by moment, that all who are in Christ have passed from death into life…and we will not be condemned. John 5:24