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In the Living Life to the Full...Unbelieving Believers post I left you with a bunch of questions from Side Tracked in the Wilderness by Michael Wells. Following are the typical answers from defeated and struggling Christians around the world:
1. When I think about being with God, I feel….(fear, loneliness, that He is not here)
2. When I have to trust God, I feel….(Like he really won’t help me)
3. When I think about God, I wish…(I could see him or that He would change me)
4.Sometimes I get angry with God when…(He doesn’t seem to hear me, He leaves me alone, He doesn’t help.)
5. It frustrates me when God wants me to…(to do the impossible, which He always does. He gives me commandments I cannot keep)
6. I really enjoy God when…(He forgives)
7. The one thing I would change about myself to please God is….(everything)
8. When I think about God’s commands, I feel…(inadequate because I so often have not been able to keep them, or judgment for failing)
9. Sometimes I wish God would…(take me home)
10. I can really depend on God…(for nothing)
11. In my relationship with God, I’m always sure that he will….(judge me, get me, reveal to everyone my faults)
12. The one thing that frightens me most about God is…( His judgment)
13. God surprises me when…(answers or is there)
14. One thing I’m afraid God will do is….(kill someone I love to get my attention)
“God, and God alone, can meet our deepest needs; we all recognize this in our minds, but what about in our emotions? Is there anything in our emotions that might keep us from running to God to have these needs met, thus embarking us on an endless journey trying to find that one person, that special thing, that incredible place, yes, that adored idol that will meet our needs? Look at how God is described by the defeated Christian in the test above, the defeated Christian often feels that this is who is being prayed to, worshiped, and trusted to meet needs.” Pg 61
The defeated believer often feels God is like this:
“by accepting Jesus into your life, from this day forward you will have fear and no help, God will not be there, He will not hear you, it will be impossible to keep his commands, God will judge you, you will be unacceptable, and He may even kill someone in your family to get your attention!” pg 61
Would you or those you know want to follow, trust, or worship a God like that?
“We do not take seriously that many reject the Lord not on the basis of what is heard, but what is being felt….Here is the great conflict: Many do not want to go to hell at some time in the future, so a savior appeals to them. However, because emotional unbelief and fear of what will happen if He is allowed to begin dabbling in their lives, these same people must find some way to cope with life outside God.” Pg 61,62
IF God is like this we will probably find ways to avoid Him, but IF God is not like this, IF He is all together different, should we not reconsider Him? How could we know God as he is? How would we know it is really true, true enough to risk trusting Him, real enough to believe in Him? Though the Bible is just words on paper, it can be a place to start. I Corinthians 13 is about Love…if God IS love could we not replace the word love with God and get a new picture of what God is like.
God is patient.
God is kind.
God is not jealous.
God does not brag.
God is not arrogant or proud.
God does not seek His own good, but rather seeks what is best for us.
God will be polite towards us.
God is not provoked.
God does not take into account our wrong doings.
God hates any evil that has happened to us.
God will bear with you always.
God believes in us.
God can endure all things.
God will never fail.
God will always be there for us.
"Remember I am not saying we work to change what we are, but work to beleive what we already are." pg 66
When I began to read the Bible for what it said and to obey it, I was choosing to trust what it said against what I felt. The way out of emotional unbelief is as simple as that. But it doesn’t happen over night and it was not easy to face lying emotions. It was a fearful endeavour. But to the degree I trusted in Christ and opened the door up to him I was set free and found that I was living and life to the full. He is all He says He is in the written word.
"It is a great step of faith to go against all the lying emotions you have concerning who God is and to just open that door to His life one time, for one time is all it will take for you to discover the adundant life for which you have searched for so long. " pg 66
Behold I stand at the door and knock; if anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him, and will dine with him, and he with me" Revelations 3:20