Go even deeper. Listen to the January 26, 2014 podcast, FOUR THINGS YOU SHOULD NEVER ASSUME with the free Courage Matters App, available through iTunes (search for “Courage Matters”) and the Google Store. You’ll find the podcast in the Flight Lounge. It’s message #42 in the series called A Doctor’s Narrative From the Gospel of Luke. You can also listen at GraceYork.com
“On the next day, when they had come down from the mountain, a great crowd met him. And behold, a man from the crowd cried out, “Teacher, I beg you to look at my son, for he is my only child. And behold, a spirit seizes him, and he suddenly cries out. . .” – Luke 9:37-39
If you are serious about soaring higher with God, there are FOUR THINGS you should never assume – and we learn what they are through the story of a young man who was harassed all his life. The story, and the lessons, are found in Luke 9:37-43 . . .
1: NEVER ASSUME A PHYSICAL PROBLEM IS JUST A PHYSICAL PROBLEM. In fact, the physical world sometimes merely reflects the underlying reality found in the spirit world. The young man seemed to have a condition that mimicked epilepsy or at least insanity influenced by the cycles of the moon. But his real problem was not physical at all. Behind his physical symptoms was a serious spiritual problem. This can be true not only in the area of illness, but also relationships, money or any other problem we face in life. Don’t assume the problem you are facing is merely physical. It could really be spiritual, with symptoms overflowing into your physical world.
2. NEVER ASSUME THAT IF YOU PURSUE GOD, AND FOLLOW HIM CLOSELY, YOU’RE IN FOR SMOOTH SAILING. A fallacy (heresy?) being spread in Christian circles is that if a person really follows God, all will go well for them. Nothing could be further from the truth. If your number one ambition is to live a comfortable life of convenience, you’re in for a let down in your walk with God. While God protects His followers, a real disciple of Jesus Christ is in for a life of adventurous opposition. If your ambition is to follow God, you will, by definition be opposed. Jesus was opposed by men and demons. If you follow Jesus, why would you think you’d be exempt from what the Master Himself faced habitually?
3. NEVER ASSUME YOU CAN DO GOD’S WORK WITHOUT FAITH. You don’t need faith in yourself. You need faith in God. Have you begun to serve God only to find yourself ironically operating without faith – or far less faith than you should have? And what do you do if you find yourself in the shoes of the young man’s son – with his head below water, drowning in a sea of pain and uncertainty? You do what he did – cry out to God. His prayer was “I believe; help my unbelief!” (Mark 9:24). The biggest irony of all is a man or woman trying to do “God’s work” without faith. Forget it. It can’t be done. The same is true of a church or ministry. You must have faith if you intend to do God’s work, God’s way.
4. NEVER ASSUME YOU CAN DO GOD’S WORK WITHOUT PRAYER. How much prayer? Probably more than you realize. Any lasting, significant work of God, by God and for God (where people are partnering with Him) requires the people involved to be people of prayer. Not babbling prayer. Lip service means and does nothing. It must be prayer characterized by faith. It’s easy to begin working for God, and to start that work with dependence upon Him, in prayer. But with the passage of time and the business of life, we can begin to stray from Him. We don’t necessarily see the connection, but to stray in prayer is to stray from God. How do I know this to be true? From my own life. I’m the lead pastor of a large and growing church. I have a family. There is never a lack of things to be done, people to see, scraped elbows to bandage up or marital romance to rekindle. I fumble as a matter of expertise. And all I do is supposed to be for the glory of God, in His power? I’ll tell you what, I struggle with that! I really, really do. It’s hard to balance a life of faith living down here, outside of Eden – but it’s possible. And this is what God calls us to do. It’s who God calls us to be. It’s something we can shoot for while we rest in the knowledge that it’s a journey and a process. Who knows, maybe in reading this you’ll even offer up a prayer or two for me. God knows I could use it!
It’s never too late to fire up your faith and take your next steps with God. Don’t be discouraged. Today is a great day to take your next steps. Tomorrow is overrated, and yesterday is old news. You have this moment, and in this moment you can make the wise, right, eternally significant decision to move forward. This has practical implications right here, right now. In the physical and spiritual realms.
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