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Christianity

When God Speaks II: Threshing Floor

This is a continuation of last week’s post so check that out first here if you hadn’t read it.

When God speaks, He’s giving a life forecast. He’s intimating what His heart and mind for you and your life is and what to expect in your current and/or future seasons.

If you expect God to handle your circumstances the way you would, there’s a likelihood you’re going to be ill prepared for everything that starts to happen. Even if things are similar to something you’ve been through before, God hardly ever does things the same way. He’ll certainly get it done, but you must be open and flexible in how it’s going to happen.

Part of the how involves the role you need to play in the manifestation of God’s word in your life. There’s an insightful sermon by Bishop T.D. Jakes titled the Deceptive Nature of Grace where he talks about the cost of grace. Just because you get something for free, doesn’t mean it didn’t cost the One who gave it to you. Just because you get something for free, doesn’t mean keeping it won’t cost you.

The assumption often made is that God will take care of all the hard work that comes with His promises and we get to sit and do nothing as we wait for Him to hurry up and get it done. And yet, while we don’t buy God’s promises, it does cost us to prepare for them and to handle them. It’s the cost of stewardship.

This is where the threshing floor comes in. It’s the place between what is in your life and what is to be as God intends. God has to condition and position us to receive and steward what He’s promised us.

The condition of our being needs to be attuned to what God’s speaking will unlock in our lives. Our minds need to be renewed to see and understand the promise the way God does. Our hearts need to be calibrated to learn how to steward the promise without dethroning the God who gave it; to own the promise and not have the promise own us. Our wills need to be undergirded and trained to do that which God requires of us. Our spirits need to be sensitized afresh to the leading of the Holy Spirit in so far as the promise is concerned.

Our position spiritually and in the natural also needs to change. There are divine promises we cannot access without moving to a higher dimension of spiritual acuity. For instance, this could mean God has to connect you with someone who can impart a certain grace to you to give you the capacity to steward what He has for you. Your position in the natural may also need to shift to accommodate what the promise of God is bringing your way e.g. you may need to change jobs in order to be in the right environment for what God is doing in your life.

“Once God has spoken; twice have I heard this: that power belongs to God, and that to you, O Lord, belongs steadfast love. For you will render to a man according to his work.”

– Psalm 62:11-12 ESV

For all these things to happen, you must realize by now the high degree of direction you need from God to know what to do and how to do it, and what not to do and how to steer clear of it. There’s a principle my husband likes to call the realm of 2nd hearing where you continually go back to God in prayer to inquire of Him concerning something He has said. This means that when we’re praying concerning what God has spoken over our lives, the primary need isn’t really to remind Him (because He hasn’t forgotten) or rant at Him (because He’s not doing things our way); it’s to get direction from Him on what He requires us to do in preparation for what He’s already doing.

There definitely comes a point in the threshing floor when you realize that receiving God’s promises won’t cost you something, it’ll cost you everything. Your choice of surrender is significant because it determines whether you will cede control of your life to God’s leading or you will hold onto the reigns and continue to call the shots. It is folly to imagine that you can appropriately steward anything divine in nature without the One who created both you and it.

Perhaps, the most fundamental reality of them all, is the fact that when God speaks, it’s about you in part, but not in entirety. See, His promises to you aren’t just for you or just about you. Your breakthrough is tied to the breakthrough of others. It’s the bigger picture we must all see before God can grant us full access to His promises for us. His blessing is big enough to not just take care of us but to cater to others who need what He will make available for us and through us.

When God speaks, the question is never whether He can or will do what He has decreed. His part is as good as done the moment He utters His word. What’s really in question is whether we are willing to pay the cost to be the stewards we need to be to receive and handle His promises as He intended.

Are you?

Categories
Christianity

When God Speaks

How do we steward the word of God in our lives? As I’ve written before, to hear God and to understand Him are two different things. You can hear the right thing but misinterpret what He means. Considering how easily and often this can happen in human relationships, how much more the possibility of it in our relationship with a God whose ways are higher than ours?

I’ve found two dangerous extremes that we can find ourselves in with the promises of God.

Unbelief is on one end of that spectrum. God hardly ever says anything sensible; certainly not by our standards of logic and common sense. Unlike us humans who tip toe around issues for the sake of political correctness, God has no qualms about saying things as He sees them especially when His speaking is completely contrary to the circumstances at hand.

“God is not summoned into the presence of reason; reason is summoned into the presence of God.”

– John Webster

Trying to approach anything God says from the perspective of human logic is a recipe for disaster. Right from Genesis 1, we see God speaking not in agreement with circumstances but to change circumstances. There is no need for Him to iterate what already is as though He’s a commentator of circumstances. He’s God. Circumstances bow to Him, not the other way round. If He’s speaking it’s because there’s a gap between what is and what should be. In His speaking, He seeks to cover this gap and get you from one side to the other.

Sometimes unbelief creeps in during the waiting. The heady expectation that burned brightly when God first spoke wanes into a wilting flame that could be blown out with the next wind of circumstance. Expectation of any kind is a risk. Faith is a risk. You cannot truly hope for anything without enduring the risk of disappointment. And when things don’t quite go as you expect them to, it’s easy to slip into self-preservation mode where you acknowledge the promises of God from afar. You don’t outrightly trash them because you’re a good Christian (ha!). But your heart increasingly becomes guarded because you either don’t think God can do what He says or that He’s willing to do it for you. Unfortunately, our hearts are far more revealing of our state of being than we realize. Whether you mean for it to happen or not, your mistrust of God starts to show. And in any case, He’s never not aware of exactly where your heart lies, even when you don’t.

Pursuing the promises of God more than the God of the promise is on the other end of the spectrum. I’ve watched people start off really well when it comes to waiting on God for the fulfillment of His word. But as time starts to wear them down, their desire for God slowly gets replaced by their obsession for the thing God promised them. Their joy becomes dependent not in the presence of God but in the presence of the thing of promise in their life. As a result, their pursuit also shifts focus from God to that thing.

It’s a gray area because it’s easy to tell yourself that you’re where you need to be because you’re pursuing the purpose of God for you as expressed by the thing. It’s easy to obsessively beg God for the thing because after all, He’s the One who promised it to you. It’s easy to collapse time spent chasing after the promise as time spent relating with God.

But pursuing God and pursuing His promises aren’t the same thing. If you’ve ever had someone who only shows up in your life when they need something from you, then you understand exactly what I mean. Pursuing the Person of God and pursuing what He can give to you/do for you are not the same thing.

What God can give us is by far a bigger threat to our relationship with Him than the devil is. Probably because we never think of good things as dangerous. We don’t see the threat in our desire for things that come from God. We don’t stop to consider how easily we can dethrone God from our hearts and replace Him with the very blessing of His hand.

Does this mean that we’re not supposed to pursue the things of God? Absolutely not. It’s a question of how we prioritize our pursuit. We are to seek God FIRST and His righteousness (our right standing with Him) AND THEN all these things (His promises included) will be added to us.

To further balance this off, I’m also not advocating for being terrified of the things of God. This would only serve as another extreme that would hinder us from stewarding the things of God in our hands. We need to know that the God who has called us to certain things is faithful to keep us steady in our stewardship of those things.

Where does that leave us? How then do we steward the grand promises God makes to us?

I’ll dive into that next week when I talk about the threshing floor. 🙂 (Post now up available here.)