We think you ought to know, dear brothers and sisters, about the trouble we went through... We were crushed and overwhelmed beyond our ability to endure, and we thought we would never live through it.In fact, we expected to die. But as a result, we stopped relying on ourselves and learned to rely only on God, who raises the dead.
1 Corinthians 1:8-9 New Living Translation
There are times in the life of every Christian that waiting for God to intervene is nothing less than excruciating. You may have experienced a situation where you felt like the apostle Paul, when he wrote, “We were crushed and overwhelmed beyond our ability to endure, and we thought we would never live through it.” And yet, you found that God requires you to continue to wait.
As hard as it is to believe during such times of great stress and pressure, there is always a divinely redemptive purpose in the season of waiting that God ordains for His children. In the case of the Apostle Paul in the aforementioned scripture, the redemptive purpose of his difficult waiting period - was so that he and his fellow disciples would learn to rely on God alone and stop relying on themselves.
Self-reliance can been defined as “dependence on oneself, one's own efforts, resources and abilities.” It is an attribute that is both desired and cultivated by many people, and considered by some to be a virtue. In American culture, a person who has developed a strong sense of self-reliance is admired and applauded. So it may seem quite “un-American” for me to advocate against the pursuit of self-reliance. Yet the Bible clearly teaches us that reliance on “self” is foolhardy and leads to spiritual death. But reliance on God leads to abundant life and is to be pursued with all of our heart.
We find a crystal clear illustration in the Old Testament of the differing results that are produced when a person waits on God and fully relies upon Him to act, versus refusing to wait and deciding to rely upon “self” efforts and strategies. There was a King in Judah named Asa. Early in his reign he found himself faced with an enemy army from Ethiopia advancing against the land of Judah with a million soldiers. He was outnumbered militarily nearly two to one. The scenario was quite overwhelming and he must have felt like the Apostle Paul, thinking that he would never live through it. But instead of trying to win the battle with his own resources, he cried out to the Lord saying, “Lord, there is no one besides You to help in the battle between the powerful and those who have no strength; so help us, O Lord our God, for we trust in You, and in Your name have come against this multitude.” (2 Chron. 14:11) Because he relied on the Lord, God answered with a mighty miracle. The million man army was routed and they fled from Judah.
Some years later, King Asa faced another big trial. His neighbor, the King of Israel, besieged Judah with his army, not allowing anyone to go in or out of the capitol city. Once again, King Asa found himself in a desperate situation.
by Rita Langeland
“I can’t wait for God to do something in my life another minute. I am just going to take matters into my own hands and make something happen! It is better than waiting forever!” So said a young lady who had been praying for a husband for several years, just before she went out, found herself a man to marry, and lived unhappily ever after.
A wise man named Warren Wiersbe once said, “The ability to calm your soul and wait before God is one of the most difficult things in the Christian life. Our old nature is restless...the world around us is frantically in a hurry. But a restless heart usually leads to a reckless life.”
We have all observed the restless impatience of a young child who has been promised a sweet treat by his parent if he can only wait patiently for the appointed time. One aspect of increased maturity is the development of patience, yet we often see tremendous struggles with impatience among adult Christian believers. Impatience is the mortal enemy of the spiritual discipline of waiting on God. Impatience can be defined as the restless desire for immediate change compounded by an intolerance for anything that hinders or delays one from moving forward.
Impatience with people is often a sign of immaturity or self-centeredness, but impatience with God is a sign of unbelief. It means that you are unwilling to trust God for His timing, His wisdom and His intentions of good for your life. If you think that sounds like a harsh assessment, consider this example. If you have been waiting a long time for God to send you a spouse and find yourself frustrated, angry and questioning God’s love for you, then unbelief has crept in to your heart and disturbed your peace and shaken your faith in God’s heart toward you. God’s heart toward you is always to do you good and not evil. So when He requires a waiting season in your life, His plan is for a blessing to be yours in the end. But you will have to fight off the temptation to...
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Self Will or God's Will
by Rita Langeland
In modern society we see an abundance of “self-will” being exercised. We find it very distasteful when we see it in a child, but seem oblivious to its ugliness when it is expressed in our own adult lives. The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines “self-willed” as “governed by one’s own will” and “determined to do what you want even though other people may not want you to do it.” When it comes to our relationship with God, “self-will” places us squarely at odds with God’s will.
Fear Is Not Your Friend
by Rita Langeland
For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and a sound mind - 2 Timothy 1:7
Some years ago, a local newspaper reported a tragic occurrence. A freight train was passing through a nearby city in the middle of the night. The train engineers saw what they believed to be an oncoming train approaching on their track. One of them became so gripped with fear that he jumped from the train to his death. The other engineer soon found out that the oncoming train was traveling on a parallel train track and the two trains passed safely by one another. Fear led to a 35 year old man’s premature death.
The word FEAR has been aptly described with this acronym:
F – false E - expectations A - appearing R - real. In the case of the train engineer, a false expectation (that the oncoming train would cause a collision) which appeared very real, pushed him to make an unwise and deadly decision.
This true story provides us with a picture of how the spirit of fear operates. However, it is first necessary to understand that the Bible teaches that fear is a “spirit” not an emotion as so many people are taught from childhood. Fear certainly applies pressure to your emotions but “it” is not an emotion but actually an evil spirit. Second Timothy 1:7 identifies fear as a “spirit” when it says: God has not given us a spirit of fear… The commonly held misperception that fear is a natural emotion actually helps the spirit of fear do his “dirty work” without any resistance.
Let us take a look at the strategies of the spirit of fear: