Hello again after so long! I took a long break from writing on here so I could refresh my ideas and be able to really focus on the events from this past summer. Before I say anything else, this summer radically changed my life. From mission trips, leading/attending camps, internships, and more, this summer has expanded my view of God's power in ways I never could have expected. No matter how many times you believe that God is finished, He never is. He can always outdo Himself, always out-prove His love for us, and always break down our expectations until all we see is Him. This summer has provided me with stories to tell for years, and I am positive I will share many right here on this platform. The best part about this: He still isn't done. This summer was only the beginning of a revelation of His great power and love; I for one, cannot wait to see Him move even more.
Have you ever noticed that when you deeply and earnestly pray for something, God will put you in circumstances where you will learn about what you prayed for? For example, many times I have found myself praying for patience, and within a day or two, I am surrounded with circumstances that require my patience. It is so frustrating, but when we ask for something, we will receive it (John 16:24). Those circumstances aren't necessarily always desirable, but they do teach us how to be patient, how to rely on Him, and how to look to Him in every and all circumstances. These past few weeks I have found myself praying to understand what the "things of the Spirit" are, and let me tell you, God heard and answered the prayer swiftly. I feel as though everyday of the last couple weeks has been full of circumstances that have shown me what the "things of the Spirit" are and how to fully and constantly "walk in the Spirit".
"For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit. For to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace." (Romans 8:5-6).
One of my favorite Bible stories is the story of Joseph. If you had any experience in Sunday school, Joseph was always a favorite because his was the story with the bright and colorful robe given to him by his father Jacob. From an outside perspective, this is a pretty attractive story. Joseph becomes the ruler of Egypt and saves the lives of thousands of Egyptians when a seven year famine struck. He had everything he could possibly want: land, food, a glorious title, and now he was a hero? This guy was the star of Egypt. But let's take a look at his whole story. The story of Jospeh is found in Genesis 37-50. Joseph did not become the head of Egypt until Genesis 41. What happened in the five chapters before that? What led up to this amazing honor? Most who are unfamiliar with his story would assume that he was born into royalty, or was previously wealthy, or even that he married into kingship. Unfortunately, Joseph's story is much darker. He was not even an Egyptian. Joseph was sold into slavery by his own brothers after having told them that he would one day be a ruler over them. Joseph then found himself in the house of an Egyptian master, who threw Joseph into prison for a false claim. He spent years in prison, until God gave him the ability to interpret the dreams of two of the pharaoh's men. Joseph asked these men to tell the pharaoh of what he had done for them, but instead, Joseph was forgotten about, and spent two whole more years locked in a cell. Finally, the Pharaoh heard of Joseph's ability and asked his help in interpreting a dream. This dream held the destiny of Egypt. Quickly approaching were seven years of great plenty, and then seven years of severe famine. Joseph warned Pharaoh that he needed to elect a ruler that could save the lives of all of Egypt before it was too late. God gave Joseph favor and he rose to power and was the savior of Egypt by storing enough food during the years of plenty to make up for the years of famine to come. But here is the plot twist. The famine reached as far as Joseph's father and brothers. They came to him in search of food, as they were almost starving to death. His brothers did not recognize him, as it had been 13 years since they had seen him (he was sold into slavery at 17, and crowned ruler at 30). I know in this moment, if I had been Joseph, I would have walked back into my palace and closed the doors of my food pantry. These men had plotted to kill him, then settled to sell him into slavery, and then lied to their father, saying he was killed. Why should he open his resources and save the lives of the men who tried to take his? When I read this story, I was so ready to see how Joseph took revenge on his brothers. I was ready to see them get they they deserved. And then, I read Joseph's response to his starving brothers. In that moment I was reminded that I had prayed to understand the "things of the Spirit." Joseph clearly walked, thought, and dreamed "in the Spirit". In Genesis 45:4-8, Joseph says to his brothers, "...do not be distressed or angry with yourselves because you sold me here, for God sent me before you to preserve life... so it was not you who sent me here, but God...". Not only was Joseph not angry with them, he told them to not be angry with themselves for what they had done to him! He was so content following God's will, that he understood any method in which God used to fulfill His plan for good.
I pray that we can learn from Joseph. He sought after God with a willing and open heart, ready to take on whatever challenges God had in place for Him. He was so confident in God's promise of good to Him that even being sold into slavery did not cause him to waver and doubt God; it only allowed him to see the ways in which God can use what the enemy means for harm for His purposes and for our good. (Genesis 50:20).
If we really want to walk in the Spirit at all times, we need to be so confident in our God's promises over our lives that not even the most confusing, most unfair, and most painful circumstances would cause us to waver, question, or doubt Him.
To keep it simple: "things of the Spirit" should really say "thing of the Spirit". The one "thing" that should consume our thoughts in the midst of confusing and unfair circumstances is God's faithfulness to fulfill His will, no matter the method, because part of His promise says that it will always be for our good, as well as His glory.
If He can use slavery to save lives, I promise you that He can use your circumstance (unfair, uncomfortable, painful, and all) to radically change lives, and win hearts for His kingdom! There is a reason you are walking through this! If you are walking through a painful situation, rejoice, it means you are watching God use something the enemy meant for evil, for a beautiful outcome and for a perfectly designed purpose. What a privilege it is to see the God of the universe move right before our eyes, for us!
Be encouraged today, knowing that you are being fought for. The enemy would love to distract and discourage you. He would love to make you question God. But God is still faithful, even when we are faithless (2 Timothy 2:13), and he himself fights our battles for us (Deuteronomy 20:4)!
"Walking in the Spirit means being so fixed on the promise of God's will, that we are content with any method He may use to fulfill His plan for our lives. "