On a day to day basis I was wondering what practical steps I should take next. I started to make plans to start my own business and at about the same time an idea took root in me that perhaps the Lord wanted us to become ‘poor’ and face the challenges posed by this situation. The more that I thought about this the more convinced I was in my own heart that this must be in God’s mind. I started to resist this idea and I did not share it with my wife or anyone really and I did not want to seek the Lord about it in case He confirmed my fears. What I actually did was to work harder at trying to build up my business in preparation for when the redundancy took effect in nine months’ time. Things started to come together but I could not shake off this fear.
As I was writing this article I thought about the time that Jesus was tempted by Satan at the end of His fast in Luke 4:9-12 ‘Then he brought Him to Jerusalem, set Him on the pinnacle of the temple, and said to Him, If You are the Son of God, throw Yourself down from here. For it is written: He shall give His angels charge over you, to keep you, and, In their hands they shall bear you up, Lest you dash your foot against a stone. And Jesus answered and said to him, It has been said, You shall not tempt the Lord your God’. In a way the temptations are all about ‘another way of doing things’ – outside of the Father’s purpose for Jesus’s life. It is interesting that Satan quotes that scripture above, but leaving out one point (To keep you in all your way); Psalm 91:9-12 ‘Because you have made the Lord, who is my refuge, Even the Most High, your dwelling place, no evil shall befall you, Nor shall any plague come near your dwelling; For He shall give His angels charge over you, To keep you in all your ways. In their hands they shall bear you up, Lest you dash your foot against a stone’.
It is this ‘keeping us IN ALL OUR WAYS’ that it is easy to miss - to claim the promises but only when I/we want or need something. Particularly in Western culture we are seduced into thinking of God’s provision like a corner shop; go buy something when we need it. The whole of bible teaching is not like that though, it is the everyday walk that counts:
Joshua 22:5 ‘But be very careful to keep the commandment and the law that Moses the servant of the LORD gave you: to love the LORD your God, to walk in obedience to him, to keep his commands, to hold fast to him and to serve him with all your heart and with all your soul’
Romans 8:5-6 ‘Those who live according to the flesh have their minds set on what the flesh desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires. The mind governed by the flesh is death, but the mind governed by the Spirit is life and peace’
The Lord reminds us so often in scripture and in life that He did not just come to take our sins away but also that we should give our lives to Him and walk in His purposes (not ours) and live according to the Spirit (not the flesh).
One little addition to the story; three years later when I was in fact working for myself and God had blessed us in unexpected ways for which I had never planned, I went back to one of the meeting rooms in the Regional Health Authority and I entered the room I felt anger and resentment build up inside me for what ‘these people’ had done to me three years ago. However this time I had learned my lesson. I struggled with the feelings for 30 minutes and then brought them before the Lord praying forgiveness for everyone involved and that the Lord would seal it up for me. His peace came and I don’t remember thinking about it again. Take a look at Psalm 91 and Romans 8 - go on do your heart good!!
Author: Chris Pearson
May God bless and enrich your life?
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