Yesterday's sermon at my church (New Life Community) was exactly fit to what I needed to hear. This post goes along with the second post that I wrote yesterday, but I didn't get a chance to talk about the sermon that I heard that prompted everything.
Pastor Mark Jobe talked about Revelation 3:7-13, which was about the church in Philadelphia (No, not the city in Pennsylvania). The verses that are in this passage really hit me hard. Verse 7 says:
"And to the angel of the church in Philadelphia write: 'The words of the holy one, the true one, who has the key of David, who opens and not one will shut, who shuts and no one opens."
My pastor then began to talk about how God is the one who opens and closes the doors in our lives. He is ultimately sovereign in the direction that our lives take. Which got me thinking. Am I looking for the doors that God has opened in my life, or am I just complaining and mourning the slamming shut of doors that I wanted to be open? He talked about how a lot of times we camp out in front of the doors that have been slammed shut just hoping that maybe they'll be opened again, instead of seeing that God has opened another door for us to walk through.
There are also many times where we're stuck in a waiting room because God either hasn't opened any doors for us, or we haven't seen the doors that He's opened yet. And many times we become impatient and instead of waiting for Him to show us the open door, we walk through the door of compromise and do the things which He doesn't want us to do.
I have done that way too many times in my life. I have started out in the waiting room, but told God that I don't want to wait any longer, so I've stormed through the door of compromise, only to have it be filled with pain and suffering and ending in a broken heart. Then I am thrown from the room back into the waiting room, only to become impatient again.
This is a vicious cycle that I need desperately to get out of. Why is it so hard though to just trust God? Why is it so difficult to give myself fully to Him, without expecting anything in return? Why can't I just follow Him without expecting someone to come along with me or for something magnificent to happen because of it?
I need to follow God because He is worth it. He is the ultimate. He deserves everything that I have. But I am always so unwilling to give that, and I end up just wanting to live life for myself. And because of that I end up wounded and crawling back to my Savior asking for forgiveness. Then I always make the promise that I'm going to try harder. That this time I"m really going to be different and I'm really going to follow Him. And then a week goes by, and I'm back in the exact same situation that I was in before.
I feel as though Romans 7 is really becoming a life passage for me. Paul is echoing what I'm feeling now by saying that the things that he wants to do he doesn't do, and the things that he doesn't want to do, he ends up doing. He talks of his frustration at not being able to live for Christ the way he wants. But in the end he asks who will rescue him from this body of death, and he simply states, "Thanks be to God, through Jesus Christ our Lord!"
If God is the one I'm wanting to follow, He is the only one that can rescue me from my impatience and from my compromise. I don't have nearly enough strength on my own. I need Him. I need His grace and I need His love in order to push through the temptations that I have to compromise in my faith and in my life. God is a good God, and He will always take me back, no matter how unfaithful I am. How grateful I am and should be to Him for that very reason! I don't deserve His love. Yet He gives it anyway, and I am eternally indebted to Him.