There may be 101 reasons why we’re waiting for God’s vision to be accomplished in our lives, but whatever the reason, I think most of all, God wants to use our time of waiting as a gentle way to
- reveal where we are getting our needs met apart from Him and to show us that truly He is the fulfillment of what we need;
- remind us that our help isn’t essential to bring this dream into reality;
- demonstrate that our performance or our past don’t determine whether His vision will be accomplished in our lives.
He wants our eyes on Him, to experience living in intimacy with Him, to totally trust Him. He doesn’t want us to operate out of our flesh or self-effort but to live in and out of Him, to live in complete dependence upon Him, knowing and experiencing Him as our All-in-All.
How many of us, though, are used to calling the shots and figuring things out and controlling and maybe even manipulating God (as if we could!) and people to get what we want or think that God wants us to have? We have a relationship with God, of course, and we love Him, and we know He loves us, but we’re pretty confident in our own abilities. It’s like we’re saying to Him, “I’ve got this handled, God. I’ll let you know when I need Your help.” This is what living in the flesh looks like.
Our flesh patterns are consistent go-to ways of living life without God that are a part of our memory banks from being “in Adam” (see Romans 5:12-21). Because you are a Christ-follower, God lives in your spirit through His Holy Spirit. He can live in you because your spirit went through a radical transformation as a result of the death and resurrection of Christ (see Romans 6). But your soul and body are still in the process of being sanctified, a process that will be completed when we are in Heaven with Father. In the meantime, every moment of every day, we have a choice to live life and respond to people and things out of our flesh patterns or out of who we truly are now that we are in Christ and He is in us. It all comes down to surrender.
The opposite of living out of self-effort or flesh is living out of grace. Do you know the difference between mercy and grace? Mercy is not receiving what we deserve. Author Steve McVey, in his workbook The Grace Walk Experience, says that mercy is like not getting the ticket that I deserve from a police officer who pulled me over for clearly going over the speed limit. As a result of being born into the line of Adam (Romans 5)—which meant being conceived and born alienated from God which, in turn, impacted my performance—what did I deserve? I deserved God’s wrath, His utter rejection of me, His anger, His judgment.
But what did I receive instead? Mercy! That’s what the Cross of Christ did for me. His shed blood gave me mercy. I didn’t get what I deserved.
To be continued…
Questions for reflection…
Are you experiencing the Father as your All-in-All?
Are you living out of self-effort or are you living out of grace?