The title of week 3 of this study is “God’s Refining Process” and uses this key verse:
John 15:16 ï»¿You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruitâ€”fruit that will last.
One of the things Blackaby brought up today is that even though we often grasp that we have been created for a particular time and place, we often fail to see the opportunities that are placed in front of us. I think that is very much true. Suppose it’s a topic for another day but I often see men doing what I used to do. Nothing. Because they are seeking “God’s will”.
When I finally figured out that I believed that the Holy Spirit was living in me and then made the conscious decision to allow Him to control my life, it became apparent to me that whatever I did was God’s will. I don’t need to chant something 83 times and hold my breath for an hour, I just need to do what is on my mind.
That is the single most important thing I have learned about walking with Christ. I am. I will. I do. If I screw up and make a mistake, all I have to do is do as 1 John 1:9 says and deal with any consequences. But I don’t have to worry about some mystical “God’s Will” that He keeps hiding from me unless I do something to impress Him. T’aint gonna happen.
Oops. Back to the study. In speaking about character, Blackaby discusses fear of the Lord, or rather the lack of it in our churches. He’s right. Why is there no longer this type of fear of the Lord? In the Bible stories, the nations going against the Israelites were not afraid of the people, they were afraid of the people’s God.
Jeremiah 5:22 “You should fear me!” says the Lord. “You should tremble in awe before me!ï»¿ I made the sand to be a boundary for the sea, a permanent barrier that it can never cross. Its waves may roll, but they can never prevail. They may roar, but they can never cross beyond that boundary.”
The fear of God will not come upon the people outside the church before it comes upon the people inside the church.
No doubt. People in the US view God as some sort of super Jack-in-the-box, ask Him to do something and He pops right up and does it. Is it any wonder that the world mocks us when they see a good portion of our faith represented by money grubbing television preachers, huge church buildings, massive parishes, constant begging for more money â€“ we make God look impotent when we allow those things to occur in our congregations.
One other thing Blackaby points out today was Paul’s instructions to Timothy.
1 Timothy 4:12-13 Let no one look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in your speech, conduct, love, faithfulness,ï»¿ï»¿ and purity. Until I come, give attention to the public reading of scripture,ï»¿ï»¿ to exhortation, to teaching.
Two things stood out to me in that passage, which I’ve emphasized. The power of the Word is incredible when it is read publicly. We read quite a bit aloud in our class on Sunday mornings and you can feel God’s presence.
One area that is in dire need of correction by individual Christians is their speech. The coarseness of society has affected believers to such an extent that they don’t even recognize it. I see it daily as I maintain several online forums. We’ve even come up with new terms that take the bite out of our hate, our cursing, our relentless attacks on Christ.
We need to change, we need to follow Paul’s guidance to a young man, we need to be examples to young men.