Why is faith difficult? Don’t we know God is at work? And doesn’t work require a whole bunch of caution signs? Our list of faith difficulties isn’t complete, but it already includes trusting:
This series has only scratched the surface. This post will wrap up the series and I pray it has been helpful to you in some way.
Life Lessons: God Is At Work
I said this post would be a personal confession. I’ll be using one of my own faith steps to illustrate a point. This point is one we must quickly embrace if we are to experience the joys of living from faith to faith. Please notice what our Father tells us:
For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.
What does that mean? It means God planned and prepared every good work for us. When did He do that? Before He put it in front of us as a step of faith! More specifically, beforehand denotes before time began. It would be correct to say our works of faith were prepared in eternity past. Maybe the Life Lessons heading should be:
The Work Didn’t Start With Me.
So that step of faith that looks so scary to us is a done deal from God’s point of view. He is there, on the other side of our leap of faith, waiting for us to undertake and enjoy what He has prepared! How awesome is that?
Life Lessons: More to Faith Than Work
Remember, we’re working to develop a point that will help us live from faith to faith. God’s beforehand work is about more than the tasks He sets before us. This was evident in my use of Paul’s encounter with Ananias in an earlier post. God’s calling, and our steps of faith, will always include other people. We serve God in a community of faith; no Lone Rangers!
Life Lessons: Confession is Good
Our ministry was decades long in local churches. Then we faced this out-of-the-blue(?) opportunity to step away from that and do international missions work. Did I see all God had prepared before we were called to make that decision? Not really.
It was easy to look back on 25 years of mission opportunities. We had shared the Gospel in many countries. I had taken many church members into mission settings for two reasons:
Meeting needs on the mission field and meeting my responsibility to disciple others.
How would we go forward in a full-time missions position? There was so much to do and it all seemed so overwhelming. The to-do list included:
- Fundraising for mission projects
- Speaking to churches and other groups
- Fundraising for personal support
- Staffing mission teams
- Training mission team members
- Planning mission opportunities
- Working with pastors and mission committees
With a list even longer than that, it’s easy to wonder how one person could get it all done. But one person doesn’t have to do it all! Unseen by me were the people God would also call to engage in this ministry. The longer it goes the more amazed and humbled I am at the people God has chosen to use.
It would not be appropriate to name names, but it’s OK to make a list of things done. Various people have:
- Been faithful in prayer support
- Volunteered to staff multiple mission teams
- Equipped mission teams (without being asked!)
- Sent others on mission
- Quietly & consistently made monthly contributions
- Periodically made substantial contributions
I could say more. The point is, God never intended all these things to be done by a single person. The enemy wants people to believe that. His weapons are doubt and discouragement. These two things will haunt and hamper anyone who fails to understand God has prepared good works and good people to meet our steps of faith.
Men at work means we should exercise caution. But if we understand God at work, caution will be overshadowed by excitement, gratitude, humility, and an awesome sense of amazement at what it means to follow the Father in faith!
Soli Deo Gloria!