Last night I had to confess to my Bible study small group. I’m a runner.
Unfortunately, I’m not the kind of runner that hits the open road in a pair of Nikes with a “Just Do It” attitude.
I’m the kind that hides out when hard times come–even from God.
But I’m trying to break that habit, and I listened closely as one of my precious friends shared how she runs to God and scripture when times get tough. After I listened to her and confessed my opposite tendency, we started delving into our different reactions. “I guess it’s selfish,” she said. “I just have to go to Him for help.”
I reflected that I didn’t think it was selfishness at all. My friend has a healthy dependence and trust in God. “I think I avoid Him, because I’m afraid of what He’s going to say to me,” I said.
Do you ever struggle with a wrong perception of God like I do? If you asked me to teach on this topic of approaching our kind and loving God with confidence, I’d say all the right things. My lesson would be scriptural and full of truth, but sometimes the knowledge in my head hasn’t quite traveled to my heart.
In the last couple of months, I’ve been writing about the churches in Revelation and sharing some of my take-aways. These have been difficult lessons, because God uses some very hard words for many of the churches. In my heart, sometimes it translates to a thought (I’d never say out loud) like this, “God was very harsh to those churches, and I’m afraid He’s going to be harsh with me too.”
The truth, however, is God uses all things, even judgment, as an agent of His mercy to draw us back to Himself. He knows this simple reality…near-to-Him is the best place in the world to be. I want to learn to run to Him no matter what so I can stay close to Him. How about you?
And when He and I are snuggled up close with no sin between, God whispers the most tender words.
Take a minute to run to God. Check in with Him. Is there anything that needs to be cleaned up between you? Ask Him to shine the light of His Spirit into your heart and expose any sin. And when He does, ask Him for forgiveness. It’s painful for a minute, but unbelievable peace always follows. Bask in that peace for a few minutes, enjoying His presence, and then listen to what He says to His obedient Philadelphian church. These words are for you too.
“I know your deeds. See, I have placed before you an open door that no one can shut. I know that you have little strength, yet you have kept my word and have not denied my name.” (vs.8)
“I am coming soon. Hold on to what you have, so that no one will take your crown. The one who is victorious I will make a pillar in the temple of my God. Never again will they leave it. I will write on them the name of my God….” (vs. 11-12)
And other words of praise and peace from God…
“No one will be able to stand against you all the days of your life. As I was with Moses, so I will be with you; I will never leave you nor forsake you.” Joshua 1:5
“See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands….” Isaiah 49:16
“Like a lily among thorns is my darling among the maidens.” Song of Solomon 2:2
“But now, this is what the Lord says—he who created you, Jacob (insert your name), he who formed you, Israel (insert your name): ‘Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine.'” Isaiah 43:1
When we come to the Lord, like the church of Philadelphia, free of sin, aware of our own weakness and dependent on God’s strength, He is ready to whisper words of kindness and encouragement to us too. I’m going to remind myself daily of this truth so I will run to the Lord and not away.
What truth do you need to remind yourself of today?