Conclusions and Interpretations

accusation

“The conclusions we draw about God in the midst of our pivotal circumstances drive us toward or away from him.” Andy Stanley, Deep and Wide, pg 138

Reading Andy Stanley’s book, Deep and Wide, and coming across this section reminded me of what we’ve been talking about on this blog.  Andy is talking about how what he calls pivotal circumstance in our lives affect our faith.  Some of these experiences in life are life altering, which can be good or bad.  But either way, how we interpret these experiences determine how we perceive God and if our faith will grow or be devastated.

This returns us to the idea of the spirit of accusation found in the dry land of LoDebar.  When we face circumstances that challenge our faith, we have the choice to listen to the voices of those who make their home here, or will we stand against the words that try to accuse God to us.

The enemy of our souls will look for those experiences in our lives to try to define God to us, and by extension, define us to ourselves.  He will paint God as a tyrant, or uninterested, or even against us.  The question will be what will we do?  Will we allow our circumstances to define who God is, or will we allow Him to speak for Himself?

This is why it is important for us to learn to hear the voice of the Father.  Just as Jesus heard the Father declare him as His beloved son, we need to hear the Father’s voice speaking those words over us.  The king is our friend.  We can trust him.  Even when our circumstances try to lie to us, accuse God to us and accuse us to ourselves, we can believe him.

He has made his love and care for us known.  We must choose to believe the king has our best interest in mind, rather than the lies from the enemy.  Ask him to speak to you his truth, let his word be your anchor in the midst of LoDebar.

“Even before he made the world, God loved us and chose us in Christ to be holy and without fault in his eyes.  God decided in advance to adopt us into his own family by bringing us to himself through Jesus Christ. This is what he wanted to do, and it gave him great pleasure.” Ephesians 1:4-5 NLT

Advertisements

Without Pasture

20130822-185521.jpg

LoDebar.

It became the hometown of the hidden prince of Israel named Mephibosheth. Having been crippled when his father fell in battle, his nanny on the run dropping him, he is hidden by well-meaning people trying to preserve the life of this little guy who threatened the new regime taking over the kingdom.

Soon enough, Mephibosheth had forgotten his birth name, which spoke to strength and honor, defeating the enemies of Israel and God, and identified with his new name: breathing shame. Here in this hidden place, he learned what it was to live in a barren land. LoDebar means “without pasture.” In an agricultural/nomadic society, no one would want to pitch their tent in a place where their flocks and crops could not flourish. And yet this is what LoDebar represented: a dry, barren place with no fruitfulness.

It was here he learned not to trust. It was here he learned the accusations that were made against the new king, ones of fear and torment that the new king wanted him dead. It was here he learned to fear.

We all find ourselves in LoDebar at times in our lives. Some people out of despair choose to stay and make a life there. Others of us travel through and hopefully move on quickly to safer lands. But it is a reality of our faithwalk that we will find ourselves in places without pasture at times.

What happens when we’re in a dry place? Jesus found himself there, right after the greatest event of his life. He was in the water with John, his cousin, who had just dunked him under and baptizing him, when God the Father spoke out of heaven and people heard Him say “This is my beloved Son in who I am well pleased.” What an incredible moment! Wouldn’t you love to have a moment where God rends the heavens and speaks out on your behalf? To validate your existence and declare his pleasure over you?

And this is what happened to Jesus. Fully God, but yet fully man, he still needed his Father’s approval and acceptance and endorsement. But it was from this place he found his own LoDebar. Being led by the Holy Spirit, Jesus ends up in the wilderness, or desert, and there he is confronted by his and our enemy. The enemy begins his attack with seven little words: “If you are the Son of God…” These words have weight, they have power. They question Jesus’ very existence and purpose in life, as well as his identity.

The same goes for us. When we find ourselves in those dry, barren places, where there seems to be no refreshing for our soul or recovery from the battle, into that place comes a spirit of accusation. Just like the words that bound up Mephibosheth and threatened Jesus, the voice speaks to us that we are not who we thought we were. The truth of our identity as a child of God comes under attack, as if we were Jesus when we hear the voice say “If God really did love you, then why…”

How we respond in LoDebar makes all the difference of whether or not we will survive here or build a home in this place. Will we choose to accept the accusations of the enemy or will we trust the words we have heard before, those of love and grace and truth? Whose voice will we allow to become loudest in our ears?