â€œGod can do anything, you knowâ€”far more than you could ever imagine or guess or request in your wildest dreams! He does it not by pushing us around but by working within us, his Spirit deeply and gently within us.â€—Ephesians 3:20 (Message)
â€œThe earnest (heartfelt, continued) prayer of a righteous man makes tremendous power available [dynamic in its working].â€—James 5:16 (AMP)
â€œSomewhere, something incredible is waiting to be known.â€—Dr. Carl Sagan
This week has been a big week for me! You know how Luke 6:45 tells us that â€œout of the heart the mouth speaks?â€ Well, while I have been pretty familiar with this principle for quite some time now, I must admit that more times than not, my heart (especially as it related to my self-esteem) was not in the right place. (This is why you must follow God, first and your heart, second—Jeremiah 17:9).
Oh, but with growth comes healing and with obedience comes revelation!
A couple of nights ago, I was talking to one of my male friends about my (sexual) abstinence journey and goal. (When on a journey, please have a goalâ€¦weâ€™ll have to talk about that at another time.) You see, until I am covered by a husband, I have single and married male friends who cover me in prayer so that I can remain faithful to God (Ephesians 5:3-4) in preparation for being faithful to my husband. (God does all things decently and in order—I Corinthians 14:40)
Anyway, this was a single male friend who, while he is extremely supportive of my journey, is actually struggling quite a bit with his own (in this area).
HIM: â€œShell, I donâ€™t know if I could go as long as you have. Sooner or later, Iâ€™ve got to have it.â€
Out of the heart the mouth speaks.
ME: â€œWell, I am an unbelievable woman and so I deserve unbelievable sex and God said I can only get that through marriage. Why should I have mediocre when I ainâ€™t?â€
Out of the heart the mouth speaks!!!
It wasnâ€™t even until it came out of my mouth that the validity of what I said even started to begin register. After I got off of the phone, I thought, â€œWOW! This is where God has been trying to get me all along!â€
Itâ€™s not so much about sex or the consequences of doing it (outside of Godâ€™s will) as itâ€™s about seeing the value that I have within; seeing that he doesnâ€™t want me to have the wilderness but the Promised Land in every area of my life. However, because self is innately sinful and the Enemy hates me, when, in times past, I would try and rely on self when it came to living a whole and complete life, especially as it related to sex, I WOULD ALWAYS FAIL because thatâ€™s what flesh does: It fails you.
But when I make a conscious, concerted and committed (you must have all three to succeed) effort to recondition my mind to think how God thinks of me—apart of a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, one of his special people who was destined to be called out of darkness and into his marvelous light (I Peter 2:9), the â€œcarnal miragesâ€—that is, being so starved for something that I began to think what was before me was what I actually wanted—began to fade. I started to see that sand (men that ainâ€™t mine) is sand and water (my husband) is water and itâ€™s water that satisfies. And while, I may not see â€œthe waterâ€ just yet, I can now clearly discern the difference between what I want to see and what is and for me, settling is no longer an option. (Mediocre settles, unbelievable doesnâ€™t.)
This is great for me, but what I wanted my devotional family to see is that this kind of powerful thinking and living only comes from GOD WORKING WITHIN US. What makes me now believe and receive myself as â€œUNBELIEVABLEâ€ (amazing, awesome, fascinating, incredible, marvelous, stunning, surprising, wonderful) isnâ€™t that God didnâ€™t think this all along (when he made me, he called me â€œgoodâ€; after all, I am made in his image—Genesis 1:26-27). It was the fact that I chose to let him live within me to reveal this revelation in a way that I could receive it so that I could actually live it out.
Sometimes we can be so legalistic in our views that when we hear someone say, â€œGod is in meâ€, we chalk it up to some quirky new age phenomenon. While the Bible does indeed instruct us to â€œtest the spiritsâ€ before believing them (I John 4:1), God living in you is not some new craze. Itâ€™s what God has been trying to do for/with/in his children since we were conceived. The ultimate goal in life is to have God in us. According to the Message Version of Ephesians 3:20, this is how we can achieve something greater than we can imagine, guess or request; this is how we tap into the unbelievable!
Last point: I sat and thought about the struggles that I have gone through to get to this new and awesome place; one that Iâ€™m sure will have moments of great trials and testing but not to the point where it will destroy me (I Corinthians 10:3). It was through prayer. James 5:16 confirms it. But, it wasnâ€™t just any kind of praying. It was RIGHTEOUS praying.
Righteous: acting in an upright, moral way; virtuous
Does God listen to the pleading of his children? To a large degree, yes. But one of the scriptures that really took me to a new level of understanding when it comes to communing with God is Proverbs 28:9 (Message):
â€œGod has no use for the prayers of the people who won’t listen to him.â€
For the skeptics, hereâ€™s the Amplified Version of this same verse:
â€œHe who turns away his ear from hearing the law [of God and man], even his prayer is an abomination, hateful and revolting [to God].â€
Bottom line, we cannot tap into the â€œabove our wildest dreamsâ€ portion of the life program until we make a conscious, concerted and committed effort to not only pray and commune with God, but do it from a place where we are moral, virtuous and adhering to the laws of God. Prayer is holy ground. To be able to communicate with our Heavenly Father is a miraculous thing. Just as Moses took off his â€œcommonâ€, â€œeverydayâ€ shoes before approaching our father (Exodus 3:5), we must take off our â€œcommonâ€, â€œeverydayâ€ mindset, attitude and perspectives before coming to him as well. This is the only way we will be able to receiveâ€¦itâ€™s the only way we will really and truly be able to hear from God and itâ€™s in hearing that our plans can be directed towards the unimaginable (Proverbs 16:9; itâ€™s only then that our eyes, ears and hearts can be moved out of the way so that we can receive all that God has in store (I Corinthians 2:9). Itâ€™s only then that we can become an unbelievable vessel in preparation to contain all of the unbelievable things thatâ€™s in store.
So, I donâ€™t know about you, but Iâ€™m gonna spend the rest of my weekend basking in the fact that I am finally starting to see myself not in my eyes or the farsighted eyes of others, but through Godâ€™s vision for me and my life. I donâ€™t know about yours, but My God said that he would withhold no good thing from me so long as I continue to live in a righteous way (Psalm 84:11). Not perfect mind you, but with the intentions of wanting to please him (weâ€™ll have to get to that at another time, too).
You all can settle for less if you want to. Iâ€™ll lay back and wait for what I am—the unbelievable. God told me Iâ€™m worth itâ€¦and finally, thankfully, I believe him!
Â©Shellie R. Warren/2008
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