Don’t Ask. Tell.

At most, only a minute had passed.  I just didn’t expect it to happen this fast or this way, nor did I expect this adventure in the mountains to include an eye-opening adventure with God.

At long last, my husband and I were back in Rocky Mountain National Park to drink in the gorgeous scenery and do a bit of hiking.  The weather was fairly cool, especially for us in mid-June, but the sun was rising high among beautiful deep blue skies and scattered white clouds.  Though the forecast called for thunderstorms to roll in mid-afternoon, they wouldn’t affect our plans, since we would only hike enough this time to prepare for a more strenuous hike the next day – all before bad weather would come.

After a bit of a climb that warmed our bodies despite the cool temperature, we found a shaded area just off the trail for a picnic lunch.  Initially, the shade and breeze were a welcome relief.   However, the longer we sat, the cooler the air became – and not owing to our internal thermostats.  One upward glance told us why.  Nothing but gray skies overhead.  A little farther off, over nearby mountains, we could see the rain coming down, and coming our way.  Though we turned back immediately to beat the rain down the mountain, we couldn’t move fast enough.

After the first few drops, we donned our ponchos (Is that what you call wrestling with those cheap things?) to protect ourselves and our belongings, and walked on.  I asked God to hold back the rain until we could get down the mountain.  Even in the middle of my request, I heard Him saying, “Don’t ask Me.  You do it.”  So, out of my spirit I declared, “Clouds, go around us!”

On we hiked, looking down to keep our footing on rocky, uneven, and wet ground.  Moments later, I became aware that the rain had stopped, and I glanced up through the trees to check the sky.  It was blue with white clouds, surrounded by rain clouds, the ones that had to go around us in response to Jesus.  I was speechless, except to say repeatedly, “Wow, God!”

In that moment of correction, God reawakened in me the Truth that He has already given me all authority in Christ1, wherever I set my feet2.  In those moments of awe, I was reminded this Truth is for more than weather.  This is how I am to live – in His authority, by His Spirit – day in and day out!  Not asking Him to do what He’s already done, and what He’s given me His authority to do, but doing it and saying it.  As He is, so am I in this world3!

Mark 4:37-39  NIV  37 A furious squall came up, and the waves broke over the boat, so that it was nearly swamped. 38 Jesus was in the stern, sleeping on a cushion. The disciples woke him and said to him, “Teacher, don’t you care if we drown?” 39 He got up, rebuked the wind and said to the waves, “Quiet! Be still!” Then the wind died down and it was completely calm.

1 Luke 10:19, Matthew 28:18
2 Joshua 1:3
3 1 John 4:17

The World Was Not Worthy

Hebrews 11:38 AMP  [Men] of whom the world was not worthy . . .

As I read the chapter of Hebrews this morning commonly referred to as the “hall of fame of faith,” the above phrase arrested my attention in a way it never has before.  Immediately previous to this verse was the brief mention of various men and women who lived before Christ came, yet they believed.  For their faith in what never manifested during their lifetime, some were mighty and strong in this life – in the power of His Spirit.  Others, refusing to deny the One in Whom they believed, were tortured in many ways, and died gruesome deaths at the hands of those who didn’t believe.

Yet, what does this verse say?  The world was not worthy of them.  They lived as though Christ had already come.  They lived so others would see Him, simply because they believed that God’s Word and His promises were true.  And then they died without seeing those promises fulfilled.  Still, they went from this earthly life into eternity without wavering in their faith.  How?

I don’t think this chapter is at all about the faith of the ones mentioned in it.  Rather, it’s about the faithfulness of the One Who promised them what they never saw in the natural.  The people who are mentioned were so focused on Him that the extreme difficulties in this life were unable to divert their attention to their temporary troubles.  They simply believed God was True.

How much better for us as believers today, for Christ has come, fulfilling the promise!  We can know with certainty the faithfulness of our God, where those mentioned in Hebrews 11 could only hope.  We have the written Word and the ability to read it for ourselves, with Holy Spirit as the Teacher Jesus promised would come – not having to rely solely on the teaching of others.  The world is not to be worthy of us, either.

It has everything to do with our focus, not with our perfect words and actions.  The more aware we become of Jesus Christ and His righteousness, and that we are (not will be) God’s righteousness in Christ Jesus1, the less consumed we are with our human failings and weaknesses.  This is when we find the strength to endure the struggles of our own lives.  Jesus becomes our indivertible focus.  Just as the world was not worthy of Him, the world is no longer worthy of us, either.

Oh, Lord, my prayer is selfish, even while including the entire body of Christ.  I’m asking You to help us so see Christ that our self-focus dims.  May the totality of our desire be that the world sees Jesus when they see us, not because we try so much harder to be Christ-like, but because we are so full of Him alone.  Help us to quit negating what You have already said about us – that we are Your righteousness in Christ, and that as He is so are we in this world2 – by reminding You of our every wrong thought, word, and deed.  Instead, help us to stay firmly entrenched in the complete, forever, nothing-left-out, finished work of Jesus Christ on the cross!  May You, alone, receive all glory and honor and praise, even as we stand firmly in the Truth that the world is not worthy of us, just as it was not worthy of our Christ.  Thank You for what You have already done, precious Lord Jesus!  Amen.

1 2 Corinthians 5:21
2 1 John 4:17