It is interesting to me that so many of us in the Church, myself included, despise uncertainty when choosing our next steps as followers of Christ. Isnít uncertainty inherent in a life lived by faith? If every choice was obvious and simple, I think my faith would grow quite flabby and weak. In fact, our hatred of feeling unsure actually gives the enemy a huge opening to deceive us, because weíre ready to embrace just about anything instead.
I suspect it isnít that we donít hear Godís call but rather prefer to hear it in the absence of challenges or questions. We long for a pure relationship with the Father devoid of temptation and confusion: In a word, Heaven. But until this old body of mine is glorified, I must deal with it as-is.
So, called by God but feeling inadequate, and listening to fearís voice, we resist the Holy Spirit. Perhaps lack of time with Him has weakened our faith; or, in the midst of a great trial, we seek respite more than we seek Him. Of course, it doesnít help that where God calls us to seems like the hardest path.
As I considered these times in my own life, it occurred to me that my fear and resistance about going there, doing the hard thing, only sprung to life because the path He called me to take was in fact right and the best choice, and some part of me already knew it. Otherwise, dismissing the idea as ridiculous or just too hard would have been a piece of cake. Instead, I struggle and fight, longing for peace and comfort, and that is not evil. But the promise is for the peace of Christ, so we must look at Him, at His life, to understand how that peace is fulfilled. When was the Lord Jesusí life without challenge? His peace came not from events or people or success, but from one place alone: His relationship with His Father. And we are called to follow Jesus, to eat, work and sleep in our armor, drawing strength from our Father as well. (Eph. 6:10-18)
Whether dealing with sin in our flesh or being called to a ministry each of us have hard days ahead. We will wrestle with the fears and weaknesses of our flesh, the New Creation pulling against the well-worn paths of the Old, and this is extremely painful, even agonizing. Pursuing wholeness and holiness is rough because there are many shriveled or dead shoots which, though crucified, still protrude from our branches. God has promised to cut those worthless pieces away, but that experience is often neither quick nor painless. (John 15:1-2)
Nevertheless, each of us as children of God is regularly faced with the same decision: respond to Godís allure or that of our flesh, the easier, familiar, well-traveled way. With just about every step, thereís another fork in the path, and we must choose again. Finding the choice difficult, even excruciating, doesnít mean somethingís wrong with you; all men feel the same until they finally relent and step onto His path for them. Just remember, you are not alone! The Holy Spirit lives in your new heart, and He is helping you to turn to the right way, despite your flesh. And there is no timetable. But oh, when we believe God, when at last we turn, fulfillment! The peace of Christ, the joy and pleasure of our Father, and the confidence of the Holy Spirit suffuse our souls, and we discover again the real life weíve heard of and longed for.
You make some great points in this message, "If every choice was obvious and simple, I think my faith would grow quite flabby and weak." I like that you concluded with "peace." You have a great title for this article.