Time to Switch Careers!

Photo by Kimberlykv - CC BY 2.0

For some reason Christians often believe that blessing and difficulty are mutually exclusive words. Unlike peanut butter and chocolate, blessing and difficulty don’t seem like good traveling companions.

When God blesses our lives shouldn’t our circumstances work out with ease? Shouldn’t we prosper in every aspect of our jobs? Shouldn’t others like and respect us? Shouldn’t our ministry efforts go smoothly? After all, God certainly has the ability to make things happen, why wouldn’t He—all the time? Shouldn’t the Christian life be a piece of cake?

Thinking about the Apostle Paul, we would all concur that there was a man who lived a blessed life! But when we survey the actual details of Paul’s life, he experienced difficulties for Christ that would make a Navy Seal wince. Even at the end of Paul’s life, most of his traveling companions had abandoned him. And yet he was blessed!

Apparently Peter’s thinking also fell along these lines: “Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal among you, which comes upon you for your testing, as though some strange thing were happening to you…” 1 Peter 4:12 (NASB).

I think it’s safe to say that not only are we surprised by fiery ordeals, we often find ourselves incredulous that God would have the audacity to even allow them. Isn’t a fiery ordeal a sure sign of an uncaring or absentee God?

As I said in my last post, an integral part of God’s agenda is to form us into champions of the faith. Perseverance through adversity breeds proven character; everything good and true must be tested. If our Christian lives don’t in some form stretch our faith to its limits, I’m not sure that we’re walking with God.

During a profound moment Jesus told His followers not to work for physical food, but rather for eternal provision. Whether confused or upset I don’t know, but they responded with a question: “What shall we do, so that we may work the works of God?”

Photo by Kevin P. - morgueFile

Surprisingly, Jesus responded with “This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He has sent.”

Um, well, not exactly what your average pastor would say on any given Sunday. But I think I get what Jesus was saying. The foundation for all of life is an absolute trust in our heavenly Father. Out of faith flows redemption and peace with God. Out of faith flows physical provision. Out of faith flows fruitful labor for the Gospel.

In a sense Jesus was saying, “Don’t be a laborer. Switch careers and be a believer! Don’t expend all of your energy to fill your stomach. Feed your soul on the Bread of Life! Don’t walk by sight. Walk by faith!”

Did you know that some (not all) forms of depression are reactive? We become discouraged and depressed as a result of our reaction to circumstances that are not what we want (or think they should be). We hold onto an idealized form of reality, while growing increasingly negative in our view of life. Some (or all) of our reasons for being bothered may truly be valid, but when our expectations morph into an attempt to control our circumstances and the people around us, everybody loses.

All of this means that we need to periodically reevaluate our approach to life to ensure that we are deliberately processing everything through the eye of faith. Personally I find it necessary to sometimes slow the pace of life, taking extra time to prayerfully reflect on issues that may be bothering me. Concern for a loved one, an unanswered prayer, frustration with our government, or a reluctance to move in a new direction in life can all be things that weigh on me over the course of time. I begin to feel burdened without really knowing why. As I take the time to honestly identify specific issues, surrender them to God, and choose to exercise faith, I can sense the burdens immediately begin to lift.

Photo by Magic B - CC BY-SA 2.0

Christianity is a full-time faith-walk. Not a comfort-walk. Not a security-walk. Not a spectator-walk. But a faith-walk. Until we come to grips with this reality; that every facet of life must be processed through the eye of faith, we’ll not only be discouraged, we’ll be continually plagued by a deceptive sense of powerlessness.

God has so much more for us than we are currently experiencing. Let’s get on with our new career!

Advertisements

5 thoughts on “Time to Switch Careers!

  1. Hi Bob,

    What can I say? Mere words would not suffice with telling others how much your (God’s) work has blessed me. Thank you for stepping out of your comfort zone to do the Search For Me small group series. Your “Hidden Trails” have also been a blessing. I do see my God in a whole, new and positive way. My eyes have been opened.

    “Christianity is a full-time faith-walk. Not a comfort-walk. Not a security-walk. Not a spectator-walk. But a faith-walk. Until we come to grips with this reality; that every facet of life must be processed through the eye of faith, we’ll not only be discouraged, we’ll be continually plagued by a deceptive sense of powerlessness.
    God has so much more for us than we are currently experiencing. Let’s get on with our new career!” Amen and Amen. I wish SFM would have been availabe 30 years ago, but I know God’s timing is perfect.

    Bob, Again, I Can’t Thank You (God) Enough.

    Thank You!

    Later,

    Bob (Isn’t Bob A Great Name?

    1. Bob, I’m not sure why it takes us so long to truly grasp God’s goodness, but at least later is better than never. It’s taken me 30+ years to learn some of these life lessons and I feel as though I still haven’t completely grasped them. There is so much more to come!

      And I think “Bob” is a great name!

  2. Bob,

    Love what you’re saying here. It’s echoing what I’ve been learning lately. Jesus is our bread, He is our drink. We can come out of the worlds economy and into His. It’s a hard road though, because it’s the unknown road.

    This post reminds me of a talk I had with God the other day. I have gone through an extreme fiery ordeal and have found Jesus to be a wonderful counselor. He has brought me to a point of living in truth. I would never have dreamed of asking Him questions revealing my weakness when I was striving to be holy. So, as I stood outside and watched my husband blow leaves off our roof, I asked Him, “Why do we have to go through these hard times Lord?” He said, “They transform you.” I said, “Why can’t You just instantly change us, and then it would be done?” He aid, “Then it wouldn’t be real.” I said, “Oh, okay, I guess I knew that (living stones vs. bricks), but can’t we just be changed by good things?” He said, “Who says these hard things aren’t good things.”

    I was stopped in my tracks. My definition of good must change. James 1:2 – Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, and all the similar verses, make a little more sense now.

    My husband and I have been listening to your audio Search for Me series and are greatly appreciating them. You are saying a lot of the things that I say (and I know I’m viewed as blasphemous by most for saying them. It’s always nice to hear someone who agrees with you 🙂 I was led to your Search for Me series when I prayed for direction in living out of who God says I am. Thank you for posting the audio. I have 1 more to listen to, and then I’ll start over at the top!

    Marisa Shepherd

    1. Marisa, I’m thrilled that you and your husband are being blessed by the SfMe Series! It seems that we agree that to be in step with God will at times bring us out of step with much of the Christian community. Your one statement especially strikes me: “My definition of good must change.” I think this is so hard for us to get. Some people see God as bringing all of the difficulties and bad things upon our lives. I think that the hard times are a given due to the fact that we live in this fallen world. He doesn’t seem to spare us from many of the hard times, but He does use them in a powerful way to transform our lives. The key is to respond in faith as many of us are learning to do. In the process we learn to see the goodness of God in ways to which we were previously blind.

      Thanks for the note of encouragement and please spread the word about our site. We think that a lot more people need to benefit from these truths! Bob

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s