OK, the second subdivision in the First essential Characteristic for my husband is a commitment to remain committed to and deeply rooted into God, no matter what. The First Characteristic itself is “Living a life that is all for God”. I subdivided this into a few different aspects, and last week I considered the first subdivision, which I chose to be “knowing God”.
This characteristic of “no matter what” is actually what I would normally put as and think of as the first subdivision in “all for Jesus”. However, when thinking about it for writing for this blog, it occurred to me that as essential as this is, knowing God is actually above this, because life as a Christian is all about knowing God and living for Him.
So now, looking now at the second subdivision, this means – no matter what the circumstances, no matter what disappointment might be swirling around his head, looking at absolutely nothing else but God, and saying “This is my God!” And also being committed to persevering in a passionate pursuit of God, even in the midst of hardship or trial or tribulation or all of the above. I have a tendency to always be thinking about hard times, and unspeakable difficulties. However, perhaps the challenge to stay deep in God is even more acute when life is going extremely well, when you have scaled dizzying or unparalleled heights of success, when everyone is praising you, and you are tempted to agree with their opinion, and think that “in and of yourself” you are “all that”, or that you might not really need God all that much…Or perhaps this would be a more subtle challenge – if the success you have attained is in “working for God” or in “the Ministry”, so that in theory everything you do is for God – you have a busy and pressing schedule of speaking engagements, concerts, meetings, all attended with glitz, fanfare and pomp….and while you are busy “working for God”, you are so plain busy that your time to actually spend alone with Him is being quietly and systematically eroded…your roots are being eaten away from the inside.
This characteristic of “no matter what” is so important because the Bible promises us that as faithful followers of Christ we will encounter tribulations. In many churches I have been to, there seems to be a counter teaching that “No, as Christians, you do not need to face any problems. If you would only… (fill in the blanks) – then you would never again have to have any problems – never ever!” This is so unbiblical. And yet, the Bible makes it clear that God is all-powerful, and our prayers combined with faith do have the power to move mountains etc. An attitude of “All for God – no matter what!” is what helps to keep us strong and rooted, even while we are “praying through”, or waiting for God to dramatically change negative circumstances. It is a determination that “No matter what, I am going to serve this my God. No matter what, I am going to praise His majesty and declare His kingship. No matter what, I am going to live according to His commandments – even if I NEVER see His promises made true in my life, even if my life never seems to amount to anything, even if my time here on earth comes to an end without the slightest taste of “success” or “victory” . And also – “I am going to stand up for God’s truth – no matter what!” Even if people might think that my opinion is not worth listening to, for whatever reason.
This is one area I really struggle with, because I know the promises of God. I read the Bible, and I am not shy to apply its countless promises to my own life. And then I expect them to happen, right here, right now please! And then when they don’t happen as expected, I start getting disappointed. I start crying out to God “I just don’t get this!” I quote the passages to Him in the Bible over and over. “God, I pray! I trust You! I have given You my everything….”
Yet, I have come to a place of understanding that before all else, I have got to build up my “no matter what” quotient and my “He remains God whatever happens” measure. Because the Bible does promise us hardships on earth, but by God’s grace, when we get to heaven, it is pure victory! This is worth holding on for, and persevering for. When I am deeply rooted with a commitment to hold onto God “no matter what”, then I can stand firm in prayer until the answer does come, even down here on earth. Amen! 😉
So my husband has to totally excel in this. I have to be able to evaluate his life, and think “Yes, this is one person who is determined to “go the distance” or “run the full race” with God!”
Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, 2 looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
3 For consider Him who endured such hostility from sinners against Himself, lest you become weary and discouraged in your souls. 4 You have not yet resisted to bloodshed, striving against sin.
Though He slay me, yet will I trust Him…
1 Timothy 6:12:
Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, to which you were also called and have confessed the good confession in the presence of many witnesses.
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