Tuesday, October 28, 2008

The Great Game of Spiritual Chess

Sunday was a great day. For a lot of reasons. For starters, the weather was absolutely stunning. Crystal clear blue skies that were merely intensified by the spectacular rays of sunshine that seemed to brighten everything they landed on; the warmth of the sun on my cheek as I sat outside with a friend over lunch felt like a gentl kiss, romancing my whole spirit. It was intoxicating. It was a great day to be in the house of the Lord, praising Him with His church, His bride.

Church was another reason that the day was extraordinary. We had a guest pastor…from Texas. I don’t know if I have ever mentioned that I am from Texas. His southern twang and use of distinctly southern adjectives and phrases made me feel right at home.

Now, I have been told on a number of occasions that I don’t sound like I’m from Texas. A fact that I am proud of. However, I do appreciate the southern draw, especially when I am far from the motherland.

The weight of his sermon and the Lord’s message through it was more comforting and encouraging then the way that he spoke. And that is the point of this blog.

It should be noted that much of what I am about to write is not my own idea or logic, but simply a recollection of what I heard and what the Lord showed me.

The sermon was entitled, “God Needs You.” When I first read the bulletin, I was alarmed to say the least. “No He doesn’t,” I thought to myself, “He’s God. He doesn’t need anything or anyone.” As he began to introduce himself and the sermon, he quickly got to his first point which was “God doesn’t need you.”

I furrowed my brow and cocked my head to the right. “What’s with this guy? Of all the pastors in Texas, and we get this guy?” Harsh, I know. But I’m being honest. He went on to untangle the figurative knot that he tied and suddenly what he said started to become clear and convicting.

Before the Lord can work in our lives, move in us, change us, speak to us, and teach us what He wants, we have to be willing. We have to invite Him to do so. In order for Him to act, we have to make the first move.

God is a gentleman and He is not going to force Himself on us. Matthew 7:7 is a prefect example of this concept. It says “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you” (NIV). We must be the ones to move first and “ask,” “seek”, or “knock.”

When we ask Him to speak or show up, He will because He was invited. When we seek Him through His word or through prayer, He will be found because He wants us to want Him.

In the same way that He knocks and waits for the door our hearts to be open, when we knock on His door, He will answer it. But why would He open a door that has not been knocked on? We must knock first.

Asking, seeking, and knocking all imply a certain amount of faith; a belief that when we do those things, He will in fact respond. One example that illustrates the importance of even the smallest faith on our part is found in Mark 6:5. Jesus returns to his hometown, but their unbelief and lack of faith kept Him from performing miracles there.

Did it physically keep Him from performing miracles? No. While He was fully man, He was simultaneously fully God. He could have done miraculous signs and wonders to convince them, but He chose not to because they did not think that He would or that He could. Bottom line: unless you believe that He can do what you ask, He won’t.

The last thing that the pastor elaborated on was, to me, the coolest part. When we do our part, which is natural, God will do His part, which is supernatural. He has not asked us to do or accomplish more than is humanly possible. But when we do as much as we can, He will do so much more than we knew to ask or pray for!

In Mark 16, beginning in verse 17 it says “these signs will accompany those who believe: in my name they will ….lay hands on the sick and they will recover” (ESV).

Let’s break it down. If you lay your hands on a sick person and pray for healing, the physical act of you laying your hands on that person does not heal them. But it represents the faith that you have that God can heal them. So when we act on faith, He then will act in His faithfulness. He will be the reason for healing because by His supernatural power, He can heal them.

All this to say, Sunday was a good day.

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