Tuesday, March 15, 2016
Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take. Proverbs 3:5-6(NLT)
There are a number of things I share with others. I share DNA with members of my family. I share space on our street with our neighbors. I share a love of ice cream with my bride (the love of ice cream…I didn’t say I share the actual ice cream with anyone).
Something else I share (gladly) is with Christians everywhere; at a point in time each of us who love Christ yielded to Him, confessing our sin, being forgiven by God, and having the Holy Spirit take up residence within my heart and soul to teach me how to live a life pleasing to God, encourage me to live that life, awaken me when I slip off the right pathway, and help me relate well to the Body of Christ as I serve the King.
This yielding to Christ’s Lordship is something which is almost palpable when Christians gather. Paul declared in his letter to the Roman church that:
…his Spirit joins with our spirit to affirm that we are God’s children. Romans 8:16(NLT)
But the Christian family is not one-size fits all! Because we are all created uniquely in God’s image, we are different and we respond to life in Christ in different ways, to different depths of commitment and within no set timetable. In short, this is a journey that has many different pathways, obstacles and outcomes, as well as different joys and sorrows. One thing is certain, however, genuine Christian life is never boring.
For the rest of this week, let’s concentrate on the differences that yielding to Christ makes in our lives. First – the ways the Father answers us when we yield in prayer:
I cannot point you to a single verse, but the over-arching principle in Scripture indicates that God always answers our prayers when we are truly seeing His will. He answers in a variety of ways:
Sometimes God answers by shaking-up my mind
I don’t know what your experience is in prayer, but (too often) I go to God with pre-conceived ideas about how He ought to answer me. “God, I need this, and this, and that, and oh, a little bit of that other wouldn’t hurt…and, and…!” Often God just remains silent (I think He does, but sometimes I can swear I hear muffled laughing – or crying, though). These have been times when seeking His will somehow got lost in what I considered my “urgent” needs.
Sometimes God answers by changing my circumstances
There have been times when God sent such an immediate answer to a need very connected to His will that it was scary. I prayed one time for a dear friend who had asked me to pray about his smoking habit – my friend had a heart attack shortly after. When we spoke several days later, my friend thanked me, but told me the next time I pray for him to pray gently!
Sometimes God answers by changing me
I don’t know how you interpret that statement, but the change in me is generally a change in the way I look at the circumstances. God usually answers me this way with a friend who brings a different viewpoint to the table than I hold. I’ve found that it’s important for me to treat everyone with the kind of holy respect God said we should have for each other, because those with whom I most differ in opinion are the very ones who often press me to think outside myself, so I can see the moving hand of God.
Have you noticed how God answers your prayers? For me, these are not the only ways God answers, and I don’t know which kind of answer I prefer more. But I’ve found all His answers are opportunities for me to yield and be obedient to His perfect will.