One of my accountability partners who is also one of those men that is a great a friend and a kindred spirit, has for the last several months has kept saying something every time we meet that I understood the truth of biblically and theologically, but I am not sure I have always lived out in a practical way in how I have viewed God.
My friend’s statement, his declaration really, is that “God is for me.” He said it again yesterday morning as we met. Yet, while I have always understood this in principle even from a biblical and theological place, yesterday morning it was as if I felt the Holy Spirit tap me on the shoulder and say, “Listen up, can you make the same declaration with the same conviction?” and as I looked inside, I have to admit, I found myself wanting.
So the last 24 hours for me I have thought about this question, “What is God for?”
The place to start I would guess would be the bible…
So, what do you think? With God on our side like this, how can we lose? If God didn't hesitate to put everything on the line for us, embracing our condition and exposing himself to the worst by sending his own Son, is there anything else he wouldn't gladly and freely do for us? And who would dare tangle with God by messing with one of God's chosen? -Rom 8:31-33, The Message
Okay, when I stop and really look at what this is saying and the logic of it, how could I ever doubt that God is ever for me? Think about it, if He didn’t even blink when it came to given His only Son for me, why would I doubt that He would be for me in any other circumstance? Ah, there is my struggle right there!! I have bought into some bad theology. Amazing how the truth of scripture can point out the dark spots so quickly if I will allow it to shine into my life.
So what is the bad theology I have bought into? Well, yes, I believed that Christ died for my sins, and I have accepted Him as my Savior. So it is not in my salvation that is the worry, but in my view of God the Father and thus the struggle of entering into the “abundant life” or being a part of the vine, or how I am grafted into the tree is where I have missed it. The lie that I have allowed myself to believe for so many years is, “You may be a follower of Christ, but you are such crappy Christian that there is no way the Father could be very happy with you.” This lie comes in part from the society that we live in and part from a secret sin that I allowed myself to be so tied into for 20+ years that I felt like I had to earn the Father’s love for me. Because of this, the understanding of an unconditional love from the Father seems as foreign to me as trying to breathe air while underwater. At times I just cannot grasp it, I see it, and I know it is there, but it does feel like trying to grasp smoke at times.
So back to the scripture, looking at this thing logically, God is on my side. What does that mean?
That means He is for me with my struggle with sin.
That means He is for me in regards to my marriage.
That means He is for me in regards to me being a good father.
That means He is for me to be a good co-worker.
That means He is for me in my relationship with my family.
That means He is for me in my finances.
That means He is for me in ministry
That means He is for me in having a right attitude
That means He is for me in making right choices
That means He is for me in my recovery.
For me to REALLY start thinking this way is going to be some mind transforming stuff. I mean, normally I don’t see the Father for me in these areas. You see my normal mode seems to operate in such a way that He is just ready to put the “smack-down” on me if I screw-up, that He is just waiting for me to make a mistake to jump all over me, to point it out for all to see how I blew it. “Look here everyone!!! Tim screwed up again! I knew he would do it. Didn’t you?? See, what a shame, he just can’t cut it, such a shame, such a waste.”
However, in light of Romans Chapter 8, that does not sound like the Father I am reading about. Talk about your Stickin Thinkin!! There it is!! There is only one way to counter-act lies and that is with the truth. The place to start is with the truth that the Bible points out about the Father. As I read scripture, I have been trying to ask this question, “Father, what is this scripture saying about how You see me?” I know that may sound a little self-centered and even egotistical but I need to some ammunition. They say for that every lie that you heard, that you have to hear the truth nine times to counter-act it. How many times have I heard lies either spoken by the enemy or repeated by myself? Thousands, no more like tens of thousands of times I would guess over the years. Thus transforming my mind may take some time, so I need all of the truth I can get, and if it is a 9 to 1 ratio, then I am guessing I need at least 90,000!!
I might as well get started on it today. I realized something, I started off asking, “What is God for?” you know what? That is the wrong question, I should be asking, “Who is God for?” The answer: God is for ME! This is my declaration!! psstt – in case you hadn’t guessed He is for YOU TOO!!! Doubt it? Try this, put your name into Romans 8:31-33 as I have (see below), spend the next week reading it yourself this way, I plan on it, I bet it will make a difference. You know the next time that ‘ole lie peddler’ comes around in my life I think I will stick this in his face and tell him to “suck it!!”…God is for me, God is for us!!
So, what do you think? With God on Tim’s side like this, how can Tim lose? If God didn't hesitate to put everything on the line for Tim, embracing Tim’s condition and exposing himself to the worst by sending his own Son, is there anything else he wouldn't gladly and freely do for Tim? And who would dare tangle with God by messing with one of God's chosen, Tim? -Rom 8:31-33, The Message
Tim Kelley, Encourager Coach, CR NW Arkansas Fellowship Bible Church
For more information about CR, contact Rodney at 479-659-3679 or firstname.lastname@example.org