For You Not Against You
For you Not Against you
By Sheila Jacobs
Have you ever felt stuck? You want to be somewhere else, get that job, find that person, but it just isn’t happening?
It’s good to learn patience. After all, if you want to choose a special item in the shops, you don’t just grab any old thing off the shelf. Finding the right thing might take time, but it will be worth it in the end. Being in a waiting place can actually be good for us, because then we will value what it is we are looking for far more. You may have noticed, God is never in a hurry. One of the fruits of the Holy Spirit is patience – along with love, joy, peace, and so on (see Galatians 5:22-23).
Sometimes it is just good to take some time out and recalibrate ourselves. Times when we feel ‘stuck’ could be God saying ‘wait’ – or He might be waiting for us to do something so we can reposition ourselves for whatever He wants to do in our lives. What do I mean? Read on.
WHO YOU ARE
Jesus spoke a lot about fruit – see John 15. Here He talks about remaining in Him – keeping close to Him. He says we can ask ask whatever we wish, according to His will, and find it will be done for us (see verse 7). It’s worth stopping here and thinking: Do I really want His will for my life? Have I really surrendered everything to Him, including my future, believing He is good and loves me? If so, how do I truly obey Him? Live a life of love, He says. And of course, earlier He has set a fine standard for us all – love God first, and others as we love ourselves (see Matthew 22:37-40).
But sometimes, we just don’t love ourselves, do we? OK, no one is talking about narcissism here –but it is good to spend some time finding out who you are in Christ and what that means. Do you know that in Christ you are righteous before God? Do you know that everything that would separate you from the Holy God has been taken by Jesus, and if you ask Him, He will make you clean and new? He can give you peace with God. That is a deep-down peace that cannot be shaken, whatever happens – or doesn’t happen – in life.
But it means putting God first. Not your desires. Not your hopes or dreams. Not a fantasy life or a fantasy figure – seeking a saviour, perhaps, in the form of a man or woman who is just not designed to take that role. Only Jesus can do that.
WHO HE IS
Recently I was reading about the woman at the well, found in John’s Gospel, chapter 4. She had been from relationship to relationship. She obviously had deep needs, and was probably quite familiar with rejection. Jesus didn’t condemn her. He pointed her to a fact that is as relevant for us today as it was for her. He can give the kind of satisfaction that you simply cannot find in another person. He likened it to water, bubbling up inside of us; he meant, of course, His Holy Spirit, who lives inside of us when we come to Christ. He said she only had to ask Him and He would give this water to her. And He will give it to us, too, when we ask.
But He won’t force it on us. Maybe we’d rather have our own way… or maybe we are afraid to ask Jesus to handle everything, because we are scared of the cost. If that’s the case we need to know that in Christ, God is for us, not against us. We need to know perhaps more fully, who He is. Or maybe the bitterness of rejection, or unforgiveness is stopping us moving forward…
Or maybe the bitterness of rejection, or unforgiveness is stopping us moving forward…
Rejection: Remember that Jesus Himself is familiar with rejection. The people who proclaimed Him Messiah wanted Him crucified shortly afterwards. The very God that walked in the garden, right at the beginning, and had a close friendship with His creation, was the God humanity hid from and rejected. And sin makes us hide from Him too.
Unforgiveness: We need to remember how much we have been forgiven, when we think about how much someone else has hurt us. Justice says ‘you will pay’; mercy says ‘I forgive’, but grace says, ‘I forgive and will give you what you don’t deserve’. We receive God’s grace when we come to Christ. If you want to move on and experience God’s forgiveness, peace and freedom, you need to let the past go. Do it because He asks you to, that His forgiveness – and therefore our freedom – is dependent on whether we forgive, and because you want to be like Him.
There is a God-shaped slot inside you and inside me. A slot that He made for Himself, and that is only ever going to be filled by Him. The woman at the well had tried to fill the Big Empty with relationships, but obviously hadn’t found the answer, or Jesus wouldn’t have offered her something that He knew could really satisfy the deep longing. We were made for love, that yearning to know and be known. It is only fully sated in God. He made us to love Him first and foremost. Any other relationship, however wonderful and humanly fulfilling, must come second for a disciple, or it is taking a place that isn’t healthy, and that it wasn’t intended to take. In fact it is idolatry.
There is a God-shaped slot inside you and inside me.
This year, why not give your heart to Him afresh? See what He will do with your life. He is good – and you were made for Him. Is that real for you? Ask Him for that living water, and remember, in Jesus, God is for you, not against you!