Chastening By God PART 1
Talking about the chastening of God for the purpose of establishing His kingdom on this earth. All will learn righteousness .. and I talk a bit about that process.
Talking about the chastening of God for the purpose of establishing His kingdom on this earth. All will learn righteousness .. and I talk a bit about that process.
Psalm 111:10 The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom; A good understanding have all those who do His commandments. His praise endures forever.
Feelings can be VERY misleading. Our feelings are based on what we believe and know at the moment. One area they can be incredibly misleading is in regards to our connection with God; especially for those who haven’t diligently sought God in truth and spirit. Feelings like God doesn’t care, He is distant, seeking Him doesn’t matter, and reading the Bible doesn’t matter. We have to fight and disregard these type of feelings when it comes to seeking God, which can be difficult. However, for those who fight through those emotions and continue to seek, they find a relationship with God far beyond their expectations, thus a life beyond their imaginations for He is life.
As in the verse above, those who do God’s commandments from their core are those who have pushed through contrary emotions and have discovered a deeper wisdom and knowledge. They’ve learned that the paths to abundant eternal life are walking in God’s ways and not their own. They’ve learned that all else is lies and deception that lead you further from what you desire instead of closer. Thus, they willing and desire to walk in God’s ways and truth and are driven to keep pushing deeper into Him.
We start out in this life following our own will, which is formulated by the world’s (culture, society, traditions, etc) concepts. From birth, we’re consumed by this world and its philosophies therefore that is what we own as truth and live by. But as we seek God in spirit and truth, we gain an altogether different understanding. We see not only the truth of God, but also the truth of our own lives and what we are truly manifesting by following our will. We start to see that when we are in “control” we manifest depravity and not the life we desire. We begin to see when God is in control of us He brings about every perfect gift and blessing.
It’s hard for people to seek God, to truly devote to seeking Him as He calls us to. We’ve been misled to believe that His paths aren’t really full of life, but hardship, depravity and loss when in reality it’s our ways that bring these afflictions. It’s all backwards. Further, we look at others who are supposedly following God and judge God and a life with Him by their lives, a HUGE mistake most of the time. Many people aren’t truly seeking and walking in God’s truth. They are following a man-made religion, not God. They don’t truly seek and therefore in lack of truth and knowing cling to their self-will of depravity.
Only when the God is truly YOUR God, meaning He is in charge and you are at rest, do you journey His paths of truth leading to abundant life, in the deepest and fullest sense. When you do, the life you live far exceeds your expectations. Eph 3:20
While most never traverse this path, because the lies they hold about God that keep them at bay, some do. Matt 22:14 For those who come to the point to dare to seek God as they feel a stirring that there is much more, they seek and continue to seek despite what they initially feel. They seek in spite of the fear of losing their lives, of losing control, and what their lives might become once they step into God’s domain. They seek regardless of not wanting to at times because they are buried in lies that a life with God is anything less than magnificent.
Those who actually do His commands, (not the religious commands governed by mere humans Matthew 15:8-9), are those who have sought and understand the Truth of God. They understand that God’s way is the only desirous way, yes desirous. And it’s actually not their own will, but God’s light and truth pouring through them as they’ve become united to God’s will by laying down their own.
I’ve traversed this journey, I fought against what I felt many times and continued to seek God. I have the before and after pictures of my life and the afters blow my mind. I know His ways are better, my life is a testimony to me.
This newness of life fuels my passion to encourage you to seek and persist in seeking. God’s gifts are like a consuming ocean, more than we could ever want. The more others have of this true life blesses my spirit all the more. There is nothing more important than seeking first God’s kingdom and His righteousness. Matthew 6:33
Seek and persist regardless of what or how you feel. It’s the path of life that’s met with much resistance in this world. Realize this conflict as you embark upon this journey. Don’t trust your feelings. Trust if you seek you will find. Meditate on God’s truth and promises. You have nothing to lose; and everything to gain. For those who persist in seeking God in His truth, there awaits in this life, unspeakable joy, purpose and blessing.
The Path Found by Few
Shrouded in a cloak of lies
Hoping in what only binds
Trusting in what won’t deliver
The deepest desires cast to a sliver
An existence governed by strife
Hoping, yet never bringing true life
It’s a faulty assumption of hope
That self-will brings what you grope
There’s a way out
Clouded by doubt
That looks like depravity
Yet holds true vitality
To walk God’s paths leaving your own
Is the only way to be full grown
To be the budding vine
Is to be enraptured with His wine
To drink from the heavenly fountain
To rise to His Holy mountain
It’s narrow and disguised
This path out of the lies
But for those who dare to walk
Enter into His sacred flock
The home of all they hold dear
A place without pain, angst or fear
Flowing streams of life abound
Watering the soul to be unbound
Now covered now garments of light
Transformed and entering endless heights
~ Rachel DiPaolo
September 7, 2011
When I started cultivating a relationship with God, there were obstacles I had to overcome; barriers that suppressed my motivation to seek God as He calls us to.
Giving up our ways and will isn’t easy but that is what moving into a real relationship with God requires. It’s a willingness to go down another path, to acknowledge our ways might be wrong and to change direction. The very concept of seeking means we are looking for something we haven’t discovered before and when we find it to be willing to let it change us.
Letting go to embrace the truth of God begins with understanding what we are holding onto and why. When we understand the nature of our blockades then we can penetrate it with God’s truth. God showed me two significant lies I held that kept a wall between Him and I, two I believe many others share; a fear of embracing all of God’s character and putting others between us and God so the relationship is impersonal and indirect.
First, I was misled that if I fully embraced God as all powerful, just, righteous, and sovereign, then hardships and intense tribulations would consume my life. What if He led me down a path like Job’s, sent me to places I didn’t want to go, or made me live in outward depravity? I wasn’t ready for that life, nor did I want it. So I kept a safe distance and sought Him very little. It feels similar to thinking about getting married, for some of us. The fear of being hurt, making the wrong choice, and being stuck in something we don’t want can plague our thoughts. These fears block openness and trust that are required to move forward in a relationship. However, when the desire is strong to be united to someone, then the longing starts to override the fears. I came to the point in my life when my desire to be united in truth to God was overriding my fear of letting go and trusting Him. I began to seek within a comfort zone by spending a little time with God each day. God is patient and longsuffering. He meets us where we are at. He knows our thoughts, fears, and doubts about Him. He knows everything. They don’t disappear in an instance, but over time as we get to know Him. He connects with us in whatever season of life we are in and works with the faith we have.
Over time, as I learned about God the fear began to subside. He was much different than what I had been taught. He opened my eyes to the truth and it replaced the fears I held onto. He showed me His true character in the circumstances of my life and my trust grew.
God’s love is unlike any love we know. He desires the very best for us. When we commit to learning about Him, we discover who He is and not who we created Him to be; the image that made us fear being close to Him. This image, which we learned from the world, false teachings, family dynamics, and other mediums, is gradually replaced with the truth producing a real relationship with God; a relationship according to His design, not ours. He taught me I had nothing to fear and that He was my hope, life and the source to everything I needed and truly desired. When you taste of God’s love, mercy, care and goodness, a hunger develops to be consumed by Him.
We don’t need to be afraid to learn who God is. As we spend time with Him we learn this truth. We don’t have to fear what Job went through. Though his trial was intense, it lasted only a season, it wasn’t his life. Job’s life was incredibly blessed. Job 42:10-17 There have been times in my life where I went through something so difficult that I thought I would rather die than live, but those times were only for a season. Overall my life has been exceptionally blessed. In hindsight, I wouldn’t change my past. Those hard times taught me truths that I probably couldn’t have learned any other way and those truths set me free to have a better present. Most of my trials came from my own stubbornness, depravity and living lies. If I would have sought and trusted in God’s way initially I would have avoided many hardships, but those times brought me to Him, so I am thankful. Unfortunately most of us grow by difficulties not ease. We grow by experience not theories.
As we spiritually mature, our fear will continue to fade and the only dread we will have is being separated from God in any way. Bit by bit we surrender a little more. We must fight the influence of this world telling us that a life with God is anything but glorious. God is life. In Him we experience true life.
My second blockade was people. Godly men and women were my bridge to God. I didn’t trust or believe that I could learn and know God like these seemingly godly people. Besides, my time was limited and I didn’t have the time to give to search out His depths like they did. What if God thought about me like that? What kind of relationship is this I am offering Him, one all about me? I depended on others to teach me, lead me and nurture my spirituality. God and I had an indirect relationship. I only knew Him through others because I put the church system and others in place of Him. It’s like spending time with our spouse’s friends instead of your husband. We will learn a little about him, but we lack the intimacy of a true marriage. God calls us to know Him personally, not just hear about Him from another’s words, sermons, books, or teachings. God has given us His spirit, His Word and He is calling each one of us to come to Him directly. This intimacy is Christ’s gift to us.
Letting go of the middle man takes faith and faith comes from the Word. Come to God in the quiet of the day and ask God who He is; to show you His truth and ways. To open your eyes and ears to see and hear Him.
Seek God. Don’t be afraid of drawing near to Him because any fear isn’t real. He is love. But you must fight your fears by drawing a little closer each day so you can experience His goodness. And don’t hand your relationship over to another. It’s yours to nurture and develop. When you do you will discover a relationship that will be your greatest treasure.
Hebrews 11:6 But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.
God will not reward foolishness.
No good father does.
We’ve all seen the scenario of a child acting up in the store and to assuage him the parent lets him have some M&Ms from the check out stand. What does that teach the child? Act up and get rewarded! Thus, the cycle begins. Can you imagine if God did that with us?
A more knowledgeable parent or perhaps a more patient one doesn’t encourage bad behavior and neither does God. God won’t reward us for our foolishness, but for our obedience. Our foolishness hurts us and others so God won’t reinforce it. Instead, we experience the discomforts of our actions instead of reward. Yet, because of His mercy, God keeps us from the full onslaught of the consequences we’ve manifested. He allows as much discomfort as we need to get our attention for the areas He wants to address in our lives. Psalm 107:17, Psalm 119:71
The discomforts (like physical aliments, trying situations or relationships, physical hardships) are to get us to seek. When all is good, we don’t ask. It’s when things go wrong that we start looking for answers. Our discomforts are often a sign we are somehow out of line with God and His will for us.
We chose to be either rebellious children living in a world of affliction because we are not heeding His Word and instruction in our lives. Or to be children who seek to walk in accordance with God’s will because it’s a path of truth, freedom, and love. Obedience is our wills coming in line with God’s so that we start living in the fullness of abundant life He desires for us. As our wills align, we gain unity with God. We live as one with Him in truth, love and purpose. Proverbs 13
Obedience isn’t about forgiveness. We are already forgiven now and always in Christ.
Obedience isn’t about being “good”. No one is good but God. Obeying God’s commands is about walking in God’s will. The moment we focus on trying to be a good person, we act according to our expectations and assumptions about what good means. Because we think we know what good is, we cease to seek God’s will in all things. Instead, we are following our definition of good thus our will, which is limited and often different than God’s. The essence of religion is people trying to be good, according their definitions. It’s easier to follow a set of rules verses seeking and listening to know God’s will day to day, but following rules doesn’t bring abundant life – drawing near to God does. True Christianity is about being in unity with God’s will. Big difference. Obedience is about the heart. If you are in line with God’s will in your heart, the right actions will follow.
Obedience isn’t about US taking control and making things right. It’s about God working in us. For Him to work, we have to submit. For a doctor to do surgery we have to submit to his work. We can’t be running around the hospital. Once we know God’s will for us in a situation, then our focus changes from moving forward our way to His. Part of our submission comes through prayer. Our prayers start to align to His will, and that is when our prayers become powerful. John 15:7
When I have a discomfort like an affliction in my spirit or a physical aliment, I seek. I seek God’s instruction and He opens my eyes to see my error. God doesn’t want us in affliction. He rewards a seeking heart with enlightenment and truth. Usually, it’s something I’ve justified to such an extent that I don’t see it as going against God’s will. But as I seek because of the rising discomfort, the Spirit points it out so clearly that I can’t deny my error. As a child of God, I desire to walk in God’s way. So upon knowing my error, my heart is moved to walk in His truth.
Though I desire to walk in God’s will, it can be hard to obey. We do what we do for a reason; approval, fear, self-protection, or lack of trust. So God also has to deal with this aspect of our rebellion as well. He has to go the source of why we do what we do, not just the outward actions. If you don’t fix the source nothing is fixed. Thus, obedience is a process. It’s a deep work of the heart and that takes time.
Because it’s about the heart, and it’s God who changes our heart, our part is to seek God’s work in us. Our role is to be willing to submit our will to God. To lay down on the surgeons table; to take the small steps of obedience as He leads us; and to pray in line with His will. Because a changed heart isn’t easy, we will never be more dependent upon Him, His strength and mercy. We have to depend on God to carry us through. We have to depend because it’s His work, not ours.
One area for many of us is a change in heart toward another. Can we just change our heart? Have you tried? I find I can’t in my own strength, but I’m not meant to either. My duty is to come to God and desire to submit and pray. I pray before each encounter with that person. I pray for a new perspective about them. I pray for God’s love to abound in me. And above all I trust in His work in me and His grace to carry me through.
Obedience is a process – an affliction or discomfort happens, we seek to understand, the Spirit reveals our error, we submit to God’s will, we pray according to that will, God works through our issues that cause such actions, and we start walking in His will. It’s a journey, but it’s the path to life. I’ve walked through this process in enough areas in my life to know it truly does lead to a more fulfilling, freeing, and loving existence.
Don’t ignore the discomforts or explain them away or think that is just life – seek. Deeply seek and listen as you spend time in God’s Word and prayer. Let God peel back the layers of your soul to expose the truth of your heart and actions because only then can your will start to align with His. As your will aligns with God it begins a sequence of events to bring on a change that will move you out of the discomfort and into the reward. Hebrews 11:6