The path to building a relationship with God takes many forms. People are introduced to Christ through family, parents, friends, books, music, organizations, churches, and other methods. There are those that encounter Christ when circumstances in life push them to rely on something bigger than what the world has to offer. If you look closely at a new Christian, you will find a peace and happiness that you may find strange to explain. However, the path to mature in our walk with Christ is not a fairy tale. Many will fall into backsliding when they realize that following Christ is about giving up much in order to gain even more.
I have learned that my particular path has been filled with many disappointments, plans not completed, dreams not pursued fully, and regrets. I cannot sit here and tell you confidently that my faith is now amazing because of the struggles. It is quite the opposite. I have learned to humble myself to the one true God that remains sovereign in spite of me. I’ve had times when I knew that God was leading me down a path, only to find out that He meant for me to leave it all behind. Here’s the kicker: the “leave it all behind” story is not a one time deal. I have come to understand that leaving things behind takes more than a single action. If you look at your life, there are experiences that you have amassed from an entire lifetime. You have developed habits and attitudes that require adjustment.
The biggest threat to faith is the struggle that you do not wish to turn away. The biggest threat to your faith is the very thing that you believe defines who you are. It takes years to develop an identity that builds your self confidence. It is hard to understand why God will allow us to be brought up in certain areas of the world, with certain economical backgrounds and families just to reiterate that we are to be transformed. The biggest threat to faith is sturdy conviction because it is the core of everything that you believe. Let me give you an example: imagine that God has gifted you with a beautiful singing voice. In this scenario, this is not just your opinion…everyone knows that you have an amazing voice. You use this gift to glorify God at church, and whenever the opportunity to worship God through music presents itself.
Suddenly, you start sensing that singing is no longer where God has called you. You ignore the change of thought, and eventually, you get so sick that you can no longer perform. This is a completely assault on your person; singing is how you serve Christ. Now, you feel as if God was giving you things just to take them away. Your trust in Christ starts to diminish because you are distracted trying to figure out if this is His voices or just a setback that He has sent so that you will overcome it in Jesus name!
Here lies the threat!
The doubt, the question, the old tactics of the crafty serpent. How do we respond in times that threaten our faith and trust in God? I seek refuge in Proverbs 16 because it is full of wisdom to manage the expectations that we instill on ourselves.
“To humans belong the plans of the heart, but from the Lord comes the proper answer of the tongue.” Proverbs 16:1
HARSH! When we look at the condition of our hearts, even after trusting and following Jesus, we are kindly reminded in the word that our hearts are still deceitful.
Proverbs 16:2 goes even further by stating that “All a person’s ways seem pure to them, but motives are weighed by the Lord.”
No, God is not telling us to depart from our wants, dreams, needs. On the contrary, God is pointing us to himself. Life is a gift, even within the confines of this fallen world. Do not forget that. In your moment of despair and need, I want you to remember that God is sovereign. He is sovereign now and until the end of our lives. I encourage you to depart from fear, and look into the light. I do not know where you are, but you must find at least one beautiful thing. Look at that thing, and remember that your Maker has not forgotten about you.
Proverbs 16:9 “In their hearts humans plan their course, but the Lord establishes their steps.”