A reader wrote me last week to share that she knows there must be more to life with God. It got me thinking about how we tap into the "more" of God. My greatest delight in this life is digging around to uncover the mysteries of God. His wisdom is hidden in every detail of our lives. As we set our hearts on knowing more of Him, we grow our faith. As our faith grows, so does our courage to obey when He calls. Walking in obedience is the key to discovering more of our great God.
Setting out into the unknown
Imagine driving down a dark highway on a night with no moon. There are street lights, but they are so spread out that there is total darkness between them. Thankfully you have headlights on your car as you drive. The light on the road directly in front of you allows you to see just enough to get you to the illumination of the next street light. Here, you can get a look at your surroundings and recover your bearings. Without your headlights, you might not have had the confidence to move from the light of one street lamp to the next.
Think of your headlights as the Holy Spirit’s guidance in your life, moving along with you constantly. You are given the ability to see where you are and what is right in front of you with pretty good clarity. The knowledge of your current surroundings and the little you can see just ahead reassures you and allows you to keep moving.
Our trust in the moment-to-moment guidance of the Spirit allows us to obey God’s command to set out into the darkness with the promise of new perspective ahead. The broader light of each street lamp can be viewed as moments of clarity and understanding of God’s will. We will never fully grasp the mind of God or see our journey in the same light that He does. Even though we will rarely understand why He wants us to drive a certain stretch of road before we're compelled to drive it, we can and must move forward with confidence in His sovereignty. If we don't let His faithfulness increase our faith, we might give up and pull over to the side of the road in fear.
What if I am afraid?
The key to trusting Him when we can’t even see the next street light in the distance is to turn on the high beams, so to speak. Connect with God’s promises in His Word. Look back on the road behind you and remember His faithfulness in bringing you to where you are now. Even if you are afraid, affirm His Truth and choose to put your foot on the gas pedal.
Thanks to the Spirit of God living inside us, we can take hold of the courage to explore the infinitely "more" of God waiting to be discovered. Each time you choose to set out in obedience, you have the opportunity to find new levels of intimacy and awe. As you make your way in faith, you become more confident in the fact that He will continue to give you just the right amount of light. It will be enough light to see what you need to see to in order to obey when He asks you to keep moving. With that confidence comes greater affection for His ways and as a result, deeper intimacy with Him. Knowing Him more intimately and experiencing His unending love assures us of His active participation in our lives. Over time, we become brave and undaunted by the darkness. Our faith moves us to a new level of understanding God’s ways and hope for what is to come. Obedience no longer evokes fear of the unknown. Instead, it is now a source of great excitement because we have seen before that what He has down the road is better than anything we know or can think of with our limited minds.
The Upward Spiral
This life of faith is one of constant expectancy. Just when we think it can’t get any better, any weirder, any riskier, any more contrary to the way the world thinks— He challenges our devotion and asks us to venture out once more so that we can climb to the next level. Even when He’s asking us to defy the world’s common sense way of life, we can expect that what lies ahead will bring glory to Him and peace to our restless hearts.
The way of radical obedience, remembrance and ever-increasing faith is a cycle. When we recall His faithfulness in the past, we look forward to His goodness still to come. Remembering God's faithfulness feeds our faith. With increased faith in God's hand on our lives we develop the courage to obey, even when we don't understand the "why" of His command. His blessing on our obedience gives us something new, something greater to remember... which builds our faith, and so on and so forth.
Now imagine that cycle on a spiral staircase. As you live out a life of radical obedience, you are always climbing to the next level of relationship and understanding with God. This is how you mature in your faith. Just as a child grows in ability and understanding over time, we Believers move through phases of our Christian life. When we set our intention on digging for the "more" of God and seeking greater Glory for Him in our lives, He reveals Himself and His ways to us. Often trials that require the type of obedience I've been describing are what bring about opportunities to move to the next level in our faith. As we are faithful to obey, God will soon entrust us with greater challenges. So "we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God's love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us." Always set your sights on His Kingdom's cause when you begin to feel afraid. Your obedience brings Him glory and your reward is righteousness and blessing on your life.
This brings me to an important point as I take the liberty of abusing the dark road metaphor to the fullest extent. I can't resist pointing out that as we move around with our Holy Spirit high beams shining around us, we become the light for others to find their way to greater understanding. We have to remember that we don't move through this life with God for our own gain, but for the expansion of His kingdom here on earth and His eternal Glory. And to combine my two illustrations, let us remember that as we climb to the next level in our revelation of who God is, we can't just leave those around us behind, perhaps lost or pulled off on the side of the road. Bring them along with all humilty and grace for their level of understanding at any given point in their personal journey. Soon, they too will begin showing others the way.
How do I start Climbing?
Finding a guide who has traveled longer and farther than you is never a bad idea. With or without a mentor, if you want to start moving you will have to make a decision. Depending on where you are in the cycle of faith, obedience, and remembrance, you must choose to do one or more of the following:
Look back for where God has come through for you in the past. If you struggle to think of something, pray for God to remind you. You can also look to His Word for examples of His faithfulness to others throughout history.
Believe that because He was faithful before, He will be faithful again. Pray for God to take away your unbelief and He will kill your doubt if you let Him.
Based on what you believe about God's goodness and faithfulness, determine to act when you know He is asking something of you and do not waiver.
From there, the cycle continues as you remain devoted to learning, loving and following God. If you want to learn more about the adventure that is life with Jesus and how to hear His voice in your life, register here and I'll send you a special article that details the five most common ways God speaks to us in our daily lives. Hearing from God will grow your faith exponentially, unlocking the mysteries of His love and perfect will for our lives.