The Uncommon Life Study
“A spiritual kingdom lies all about us, enclosing us, embracing us, altogether within reach of our inner selves, waiting for us to recognize it. God Himself is here awaiting our response to His presence. This eternal world will come alive to us the moment we begin to reckon its reality.” A. W. Tozer
Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race that God has set before us. Hebrews 12:1 NLT
In this chapter of our study on the uncommon life, we begin with a story of a young man named James who was a deep man of faith. James was a man who knew Who he possessed or rather Who possessed him. He was not intimidated by the assaults of the enemy. He carried God’s presence wherever he went and was not afraid to speak of the Name that he carried. James was invited to Africa to do some ministry there. There was such an intense presence of darkness that was tormenting the people, that they could barely wait for his arrival. As the plane landed in Africa and the door was opened, a man was standing there waiting for James. This man took James by the hand and let him know how glad they were that he had finally arrived. He told James that they had been so depressed, and then went on to say, “Can you feel the darkness and oppression upon us?” James responded with, “You listen here. I have the living, powerful God of heaven alive in my soul. When I step foot on this land, that oppression feels me.”
We are called to be men and women of faith. Yet, so often things come along in our lives that try to rob us of this kind of confident faith in our Great God. The Uncommon Life chooses not to let temporal obstacles determine their trust and hope in the promises of God. They choose to believe His promises are true despite what appears to be their reality in that moment.
Let’s look at a few things that we need to remember on this journey of faith, if we are truly going to believe in the truth of His promises.
We need to remember the Treasure we carry.
Our enemy would desire for us to focus our lives upon what we feel, and lose sight of the Truth that is Supreme over our feelings.
There are days for all of us where we seem to have some great success, and other days where we seem to be overcome by our failures. Yet, there is a truth that remains, for those who belong to Him. We carry around in this human vessel the very presence of the living God. Our lives are an actual picture of the way God works. He chose to use the broken, frail, unadorned reality of our messed up lives to be the carriers of His presence. Most of us will never understand that, but what this human vessel does is, that it confirms the truth that when lives are changed, and people set free, or when we experience our victories and successes, that none of it is us. It is always about the greatness of the presence that we carry. It is always about Him being seen, about Him being glorified.
If we forget that we are carriers of this Divine Presence, then we walk through life trying to do this thing on our own. We become powerless and instead of turning to Him for His overcoming power in our difficulties, we do “our” best to be good. When we fail, we lose hope, and feel like we are a mouse on a wheel never getting anywhere, but always working hard at getting there. It leaves us tired, and feeling like we are failures.
Yet, if we truly grasp the Divine Presence we carry and live out of that reality, it gives us the ability to step onto the soil of an unknown land, or unknown circumstance, like James in the beginning, and to declare with confidence, “This isn’t about me, but about the One who is in me that is going to change this situation.”
Psalm 116:9 NLT – “And so I walk in the Lord’s presence as I live here on earth.”
“God’s presence is bursting with promises, provision, and protection and when we lay hold of, in an ever increasing way, what we possess in Christ, we will believe that everywhere we place our feet, God’s Kingdom comes to bear.” Susie Larson
We need each other on this journey of faith
Hebrews tells us that we are surrounded by a great cloud of witnesses who have born testimony to our faith. We have not been walking this faith journey alone. Even at times when we may have felt alone, there has alway been a host cheering for us. Can’t you just hear the echoing of their heavenly voices calling your name? Can’t you just hear them saying, “ His promises are true, keep holding on”, or “ we are witnesses to the faith journey and we can assure you that if you keep running, you will lay hold of His promises.” They are witnesses to the promises of God being True.
They are also a reminder to us of a journey that often feels like it is run alone, really is a journey multitudes before us have run, and many presently have embarked upon.
We need each other. I need the echoes of heaven reminding me of His Faithfulness, but I also need the present lovers of God to say, “Let’s run this together and not quit”, “Let’s hold on to His promises, even when others have lost hope in them.”
You see, it is true that regardless of who goes with you, you must pursue this road. However, when we walk it together, we do much for lifting up His Name.
I need others to encourage my heart when my legs grow tired and my strength is failing, but I also, need to join with the voices of heaven here on this earth, and declare to those who have fainting hearts that God’s promises are true. He can be trusted. Keep running. I need to declare that there is an army much larger than you can see, that is confident that in a time where people are giving up hope in God’s Promises, they are believing that you are going to hold on.
We need to believe Him despite our perceived realities.
It is so necessary that we believe His Word despite what is happening in our lives.
“Unbelief neglects spiritual soil. Faith prepares for rain.” Susie Larson
If a farmer believes that the deposit of a seed into the ground holds within its tiny frame, the promise of his future provision, he will prepare the soil. Then, he will plant the seed. He will care for that seed, and anticipate the coming rains at the appropriate time. He will tend to it, and remove the weeds, or anything that could threaten its future. He does all of this because he has faith in that tiny seed. However, if he has no confidence in that seed, he will do nothing. He will neglect the soil, he will not remove the rocks, he will allow the soil to remain hard and unplowed. He will do nothing to indicate that he has any confidence in the seed, and he will not plant it.
This is true of our lives. Our confidence in the promises of God is absolutely critical to our response to those very promises. If I have no confidence in the Word, I will give no attention to my attitudes & behaviors. I will allow the enemy’s lies free reign in my mind as if his lies are not really deadly poison. If I lose hope in God’s promises I will take care of my problems as if I am the answer, and will lean on my own understanding. Yet, if I truly believe in God’s promises, I will live out of faith in them. I will not find some personal experiential opportunity to rule away what God is saying to me. I will live like I believe the promises are for now, and not the other side. Many people sitting in our church pews today have become disheartened because of what is perceived as failed promises. They have allowed the enemy to come and rob the seed from their hearts and to put their lives in a place of unbelief in the Truth of Who God is, and the power of His Word. Because the enemy has been given that place, unbelief becomes so prevalent in our midst and we sometimes have not even recognized its stronghold.
The part that really has challenge my heart is that unbelief brings the displeasure of God. The Word says, without faith it is impossible to please God. I can put all my efforts into trying to please God, but if I have no faith in His Seed, I can’t get there. I can work, and work, and work, like that mouse spinning on the wheel, but I won’t get there. The Word tells me that I must believe that HE IS, and that HE IS a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him. What is involved in HE IS? That could be another whole study, but let’s sum it up to this, HE IS ENOUGH, HE IS TRUTH, HE IS A PROMISE KEEPER….
Sometimes, we put more faith in our obstacle than we do in the promises of God. The uncommon life, continues to believe Him despite what their perceived realities are. They have confidence in God and are believers in the truth of His promises. They believe when the soil is hard, when the ground needs to be plowed, when there are no signs of rain. Their belief causes them to act. Their actions begin by partnering with the Holy Spirit to prepare the soil, deposit the seed, anticipate the rain, and expect the promised harvest.
Real faith in His promises does not shift because of its natural circumstances, it runs to Him and believes Him to fulfill what He has promised.
I am left with a personal question that I also present to you, “What will you do with the promises offered to you?”