I just…I can’t…I don’t even know where to start with this week. It’s been AMAZING. God is so good! As you guys know, one of my biggest struggles being here has been over disappointment with God and bitterness/anger toward Him because of what I’ve perceived as letdowns in my past. And even here. I’ve been making slow progress through this, chipping away at it. This week took a sledgehammer to it. Time will tell if it’s fully obliterated, but I know we’ve done some fatal damage.
It’s been in a million different ways. The first day with Andy Byrd we talked about justification. This man speaks with so much fire and confidence…it’s just astounding. Confidence is infectious. I aspire to have as much confidence in my justification, my calling, my God as He does, because then I’ll be able to set hearts on fire like he can. There wasn’t a heart in the room that wasn’t burning as he talked about how our feet are on SOLID GROUND because our justification and right standing are a gift through Christ and there is NOTHING that can shake us free from it. I was burning too…for a little while. And then he started talking about the things that happen when you really, finally take your justification to heart. How you start to truly believe that you can be a world changer. That you fear nothing. That you start movements. And I realized that I know my justification is real in my head, but I don’t have it in my heart yet. Not really. And then the enemy started whispering discouragement; “It’s never really going to sink in. This is your life. You’ll always be just a little disappointed.” And I ended the lecture near tears as everyone else rejoiced. But I left with the determination that I would have a testimony for the next morning. And I did. You can read about it in “Hope.” Hammer stroke one.
Yesterday, Andy talked about sanctification, or holiness. This is something that we grow into. Our justification is given. Our full entrance into a Christ-like life comes with time, and it comes as WE decide to make it happen. It was an amazing lecture, we talked about how Jesus has to be BOTH our Messiah and our LORD. We can’t just take the Messiah part, be like, “Thanks for saving me! Peace!” and go along our merry way. We don’t get one without the other. And he has to be Lord of all, or he’s not Lord at all. We talked about how condemnation ties God’s hands, because He can’t help us grow if every time we get correction, we spiral. We talked about how we can take every command in the Bible as a permission slip rather than a burden, and how every permission slip comes with the grace and power to make it happen. Talked about the desire and power to do God’s will is God’s part (Philippians 2:14), and making Godly decisions is ours. Guys, THE DESIRE IS GOD’S PART! And how we CANNOT do God’s part and He WILL NOT do ours. Ahhh! All of this was SO GOOD. But the thing which really really struck me was a perspective shift. He was talking about glorification and how it fuels our sanctification by giving us eternal perspective on life and he said something extremely profound. We will never again, throughout all the millions and billions and trillions of years of eternity, have the privilege that we enjoy during our very brief tenure on earth to choose God in the face of hardship, adversity, pain, or sin. We will never again have the privilege to choose Him even though we hear Him imperfectly or see Him imperfectly or don’t fully understand what He’s doing. It is a privilege to be able to be confused and wonder if maybe we’re just crazy and be frustrated because we’re not hearing Him clearly and still say “I choose to follow you anyway. I choose to believe you’re good anyway. I choose you.” What a sign of love! Now I can, in my struggles, appreciate the chance to choose God in a way I won’t be able to for the rest of eternity. Hammer stroke two.
Today Shannon Castille spoke. Phew! I thought Andy was fiery! This woman tells it like it is! She’s a fighter, and she called us all to take our place as fighters too. God forbid we live our whole lives like we’re in peace time when there is a spiritual battle RAGING and we are called to be on the front lines. But we have to be ready for battle. We have to count the cost. We have to know what we want. (Reference Isaiah 6 and Mark 10; God knew he would send Isaiah, but He needed Isaiah to volunteer for the gig. He knew what Bartimaeus needed, but he needed him to be clear about what he wanted.) And first and foremost WE MUST know God. We have to know that He is SO MUCH bigger than us. We have to know that He is all good, always. We have to know that He will never leave us or forsake us or fail us. And then, we have to fight. WE HAVE TO FIGHT FOR OUR PROMISES. Luke 11:8 says
Luke 11: 8 (AMP)
8 I tell you, even though he will not get up and give him anything just because he is his friend, yet because of his persistence and boldness he will get up and give him whatever he needs.
If we don’t see what we want from God yet, we keep asking. He will give to those who ask and keep asking. Open to those who knock and keep knocking. This was my big revelation from the day. I am not the only one who struggles with feeling like God isn’t behaving how I want Him to behave. (Oops, my bad. Who am I to have the audacity to be disappointed in the creator of the heavens and the earth because I think He’s not doing it right??!?! Eek.) Everyone struggles. What separates the men from the boys, the winners from the losers, is that THE WINNERS GRIT THEIR TEETH, DIG IN THEIR HEELS, AND FIGHT FOR THE PROMISE AND REFUSE TO GIVE UP. They refuse to accept “Well, He’s not real.” They refuse to accept “He’s not good.” They refuse to accept “He’s testing me.” They refuse to accept “I’ll never change.” Lordy, Lordy, give me the strength and holy boldness to fight for my promises. To demand them from you. To refuse to let any circumstance or struggle talk me out of them. Hammer stroke three.
I’m gonna get this breakthrough.