Last night’s message in the GBC Basics Class that is going through the book of John triggered some tremendously clarifying thoughts for me. We’ve reached verses 15-17 of chapter 7 where the Jews were marveling at our Lord’s teachings, wondering how He could speak with such authority and confidence when He’d never gone to Rabbi or Pharisee college. Jesus’s answer:
“My teaching is not Mine, but His who sent Me.”
Now, He was not teaching the same stuff as the other rabbis and pharisees, yet they all claimed the same source for their messages. In fact, Jesus’s message was pretty much opposite what the Pharisees were saying (keep the law and you’ll please God and be saved vs believe in Me and you’ll be saved) Naturally the Jews wondered how they could know who was telling the truth? Jesus said,
“If any man is willing (ie, determined) to do His (the Father’s) will, he shall know of the truth, whether it is of God or whether I speak from Myself.”
Pastor Joe, the pastor in training who teaches the Basics classes, said that the student who makes the word alone his absolute standard and doesn’t tolerate nonsense derived from human minds will know it’s from God. If you keep at it and keep taking in the Word from your prepared Pastor on a daily basis, God will, through that, give you the ability to see the success of the Word when it’s applied to life and circumstances. We see its success in the fact that we have inner peace in a situation that formerly would have reduced us to, as my friend Mary likes to say, a trembling puddle on the floor.
That’s true. I have experienced that. When I gave the deadline and the publicizing of my books over to God to handle, I experienced great inner peace. But as I listened to the lesson and recalled this, I still had some doubts. Forgetting about the inner peace, I recalled that I’d trusted Him with the success of The Enclave. Trusted Him to be my publicist, to build the readership apart from social networking and the help of man which would encourage me to compromise my beliefs.
Yes, I experienced the peace that came with slamming all my cares on Him, but in the other matters it seems that He didn’t come through. My books aren’t apparently huge sellers, I’m not getting a bunch of fan letters and in fact, The Enclave is rated only 4 stars at Amazon, the lowest of any of my books. So… what’s up with that? I trusted Him and this is how He came through?
Ah, but as I thought through that sequence during the class, reminding the Lord that I’d trusted Him to build the readership, etc, the Holy Spirit seemed to say, “Well… who’s to say He hasn’t done that? Maybe He didn’t do it on as great a scale as you had hoped, but He’s still done it…”
True. And if it’s not as much as I’d dreamed of, well, there’s a reason. More than one. First, being wildly successful would be a distraction to my spiritual life. It would probably have consumed me, I would have thought I had done something to earn it, and wouldn’t have had to go to Him again and again like I have because everything would have been going “right.” I certainly would not be making the applications of doctrine that I am right now. In fact, now that I think about it… I wasn’t trusting Him with my cares so much as I was trusting Him with MY plan. Seeing that things weren’t going as I’d hoped, fearing that the book would be no good, that I’d lose readers, that… blah, blah, blah… I couldn’t write and so I gave it over to Him to fix. But it was still MY plan.
Which is hardly the way it’s supposed work. I’m supposed to be trusting Him for HIS plan, whatever it may be. MY plans are stupid and small. Earthly. Temporal. His are way beyond anything I can imagine. Nothing so small and temporal and petty as the acclaim of a fallen world, but plans for my eternal benefit, plans to give me what money can’t buy and very few enjoy. Worldly acclaim can’t compare to unshakable inner peace, joy, love… confidence that His word works, that no matter what He is with me, that He will never leave me nor forsake me… That I am who I am by His grace, and who cares if people don’t like that? Confidence that there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.
But what about all the people watching — those who read of my decision not to do things the world’s way, and who haven’t seen Him come through for me? Won’t it look to them like He didn’t? Maybe. Will they think to themselves, “Oh, see? She should have banded together with us, trusted us to bring her success. That’s the way it’s supposed to be done.”
But why should I care? Am I serving man or God? And anyway, who decided that worldly success is the mark of God’s coming through? Those, I would guess, who aren’t willing to trust God with their plans and would rather take a shot at fulfilling them themselves.