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Friday, May 25, 2007

Christ Like

Do I have the faith when God demands my all?
I wrote this is April 2004.

I have thought a lot about my walk with Christ. What does it mean to be Christ like? What is it I am supposed to do with Christ? As I came to understand the gift of salvation I was faced with the question what now. Am I to earn this gift? Am I to pay back this gift? Works are a result of our salvation they are not the means to our salvation. I know there was nothing I did to receive salvation and a simple thank you seems inadequate. So what does being Christ like mean? To me it means following Him wherever He leads not just where I want to go. To be like Christ is to ultimately lay my life down, maybe not physically but spiritually, maybe both. It is knowing who God says He is and knowing He can do all He says He can do. It is trusting Him no matter what happens. Can you trust Him if your worst fear comes true? Can you trust Him if your prayer is not answered how you had it planned? Can you trust Him? Can you trust Him enough to pray a specific prayer? Or are you too scared He might not be real? Do you doubt just a little in the back of your mind that you can’t let go? Do you trust Him? Do you trust in who you believe Him to be? Did He create you? Did he number the stars and call them all by name? Does He know your words before they are formed on your tongue? Did He send His son in a virgin birth? Did He raise Him from the dead? Was Christ the fulfillment of our sin debt? Do you believe Him? Do you trust Him? Is there something I’m unwilling to do for God? Is there something I just draw the line on, and say no? If so I have not fully comprehended the gift I have been given and I’m looking through the eyes of the physical, when I’m born again in the spiritual. As the bible says we are no longer citizens of this world, our treasures are in heaven.

If I believe that, then I must be ready to be Christ like, to follow a God who loved me and bought me with a price, a very high price.

Do I believe enough to say “Lord, not my will but yours will be done.” That to me is a sign of my spiritual growth and faith. After dealing with death on a daily basis for over 18 months I have changed. I know that God can heal Andrea; there is no doubt in my mind that the God I serve the God of the bible has the power authority and ability to heal. He has the ability to do anything He pleases because He created it all. For many reasons I believe God will heal Andrea. Though at times I do fight of doubt, as the pain, CT scans, tell me otherwise, and the chemo continues but my belief that He can heal does not waiver. My faith is not perfect, for it is in an imperfect body. But I can say if God chooses to not heal Andrea I will not doubt my God. I will not bow down to unbelief. Because if the God I serve has the ability to heal and chooses not to it is what is best. It has to be. Death is as perfect an answer to prayer as healing when you turn it over to God. Who am I to judge God as good or bad based on my expected outcome? Is God only just and loving when it turns out my way, when I get what I want? Why do we only give testimonies in church and to friends when the prayer is answered the way we want? Are we too afraid to praise God no matter the outcome? Not that we have to praise God for trials, but we can praise Him for His faithfulness in the trial, and we should always praise Him IN our trial. He does not make mistakes; His hands are not tied by this physical word. He is not powerless and unable to do as He pleases. Our life is about more then comfort. Do we choose what we want to believe? Do we believe in a God who can part the Red Sea, drop the walls of Jericho, slay a giant with the stone from a Shepherd boy, but some how can’t answer our prayer, because it does not turn out right? Are we so like the Israelites who walked on dry land thought the Red Sea and quickly turned and cried out to God that they were going to starve in the desert? And when God provided manna, are we so like the Israelites when they then cried out to God for a lack of water? And God gave water from the stone, are we so willing to accept freedom from slavery and so quick to turn from God when life gets difficult? Where is the faith? Has God suddenly lost control? Did we receive freedom from slavery; did we receive salvation so we could have an easy life filled with rewards while those who don’t accept Christ suffer all the hardships of life? Really did Christ die so we would no longer face the trials of this world? Is it all about you and me? Is our reward here on earth? Is all Christ did for the here and now? Do I have a contract with God that says life won’t be difficult? When Andrea was diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer did I have the right to run to God and say, “This is not in our agreement? You have broken the rules. What about the unsaved, why don’t they have terminal cancer?” The bible says the rain falls on the good and the wicked. Blessings fall on the saved and unsaved that is just part of life here. Just as droughts fall on the good and the wicked. Did I think that somehow I was promised to only have a certain level of difficulty, as if I had done a certain level of good deeds that guaranteed me that my trials would be correspondingly easier? Is there a buy down program with God where we stack up good on one side and it takes away the depth of difficulty we will face? Are we that afraid of trials? Are we that afraid of facing difficulties? Are we just afraid our faith is not strong enough? Or are we afraid that our God is not big enough? Or worse that our God is not real?

As hard as life can be it only magnifies the greatness of God. When we trust in a time we don’t understand we exercise our faith. We put into practice the things we learn about God in the good times. And we allow God to be God, to be as great and wonderful as He is. The more we trust, the more He reveals about Himself. And the more He reveals the more we learn of His greatness, and the stronger we become. Then trials that seemed impossible are reduced because we see them in comparison to our God. And really everything is small in comparison to the creator. We just have to believe, to trust, and too have faith, no matter what we see. There are many tests of faith, many opportunities in our life to use the gifts we have been given, many opportunities to exercise our faith, to put into action the words we speak. Every one of those opportunities are a chance to grow into deeper faith, a deeper understanding of the God we serve, a deeper understanding of why we have received such a gift as salvation.
It is not the existence of trials that sets a believer apart, it is how a believer reacts to trials that separate a believer from someone who is lost.

So my desire is to be willing to be Christ like, to go where He leads, to live where He says to live, to serve how He says to serve. It is easy to say I want to be Christ like, right up to the point where I have to stretch out my arms. Only then do I see if my actions match my faith and my words. Will I suffer for Him? Will I die for Him? Will I speak to that stranger for Him? Will I help that person for Him? Will I give up my free time that “I deserve” to study His word? Will I get up early to meet with Him? Will I overcome what others might think of me to serve Him? Everyday by these and countless other ways I’m challenged to believe and surrender myself to God. To stretch out my arms and say yes, I want to be Christ like. For no other reason than I know He first did this for me. He did not put any conditions on His death. There was no fine print. There was only pure love for mankind. A love I will one day stand before.

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