Thought for the Week - 11th JulyPastor Gareth Watkins
Genesis 22: 15-18
16 and said: “By Myself I have sworn, says the Lord,
because you have done this thing, and have not withheld your son, your only son—
17 blessing I will bless you, and multiplying I will multiply your descendants
as the stars of the heaven and as the sand which is on the seashore;
and your descendants shall possess the gate of their enemies.
18 In your seed all the nations of the earth shall be blessed,
because you have obeyed My voice.”
He could afford to go anywhere he wanted, in terms of holidays. He could choose something else, like fishing or a cruise. But no, that man, after thirty one years is still feeling the draw, the excitement and the rapture of God. So many people have lost their first love and have grown cold. They feel they’ve seen it all and had it all. But this man, after thirty one years, is going on. It’s precious. That draw still exists, is still fresh, and is still alive in his heart.
Today, I’d like to write about desiring and wanting God. Not desiring Him to have the blessings from Him, but desiring Him for Himself.
God has given us the most dangerous thing – our own free will. Have you messed up because of your own free will? Or said anything wrongly because of your own free will? The very thing that we call our own free will, can be a very dangerous thing. The man I wrote about above has a free will. He doesn’t have to attend the conference. Does his natural man inside scream out about going? The free will of man needs to be tamed under the power of Christ or it will rage against us and control us. We have a choice.
When it comes to the things of God, we need to get rid of this free will. We need to bring our will under the requirements that God has for us. God has a way for us to live, and there’s a sinful man’s way to live. We can bring our will under the control of God, or we can choose to leave it where it is. I know where my will will take me if I don’t bring it under the will of God. We need to put our will under God’s will. God calls us. He smooths our rough and hard edges, and He works in our lives. We need to get rid of our free will, and make our very wills line up with the requirements of God.
Sometimes our natural selves can line up and fight against God. But, in the midst of it all God – if we surrender to His will – does wonderful things that we couldn’t think of before coming to this place where He can touch us, minister to us, and change us into the likeness of Christ. Who are we that we should have that? He’s called us to be changed into the likeness of Christ.
That we should have a desire for Him is a miracle. That we should want God at all is a miracle. To go where God is, is another step again. Why? Because our natural man rails against it. But after, spiritually, there is a fruit, a lasting joy, a happiness, a spiritual peace and contentment. It’s not an accident.
We see an example above in Abraham. He proved to himself and to us, that the ways of God still hold fast and hold the blessings they contained all those centuries before. Imagine that voice of an angel declaring the voice of God to you! The angel comes to a man who hadn’t been to Bible College, or specially prepared. He was a man who decided to follow God. Here, the angel explains that because of his faithfulness, God will bless him and multiply him. All the nations of the earth will be blessed because of this one man.
The man I spoke about earlier at the conference has learned these eternal principles because of the way God had met him. Reigning in your sinful self, your sinful mind, your wilful self – as Abraham would have had to have done – and put it under God, brings contact with God Himself, blessings of many sorts, and a relationship with God that won’t just last for now, but will last through your descendants forever until Christ comes. That is what these verses teach us.
This man Abraham, because of his faithfulness, brings contact with God. Reigning in his sinful mind, brings blessings of many sorts and a relationship that would go on forever throughout his descendants until Christ comes again. Does that apply to you or not? Yes it does. What would have happened if Abraham hadn’t have been obedient? What if he hadn’t have shut down his natural self and done what God wanted, in spite of his natural mind? Abraham went onto be blessed through the nation of Israel. That relationship with God went on through Jesus Christ, and then on through us.
Be careful what you do with your natural thoughts. Our natural thoughts can be very misleading to ourselves. Abraham must have had very difficult thoughts, but he bent his knee. Indeed, he went one step further and build altars wherever he went, thanking and praising God for what He had done.
It wasn’t nice for Abraham all the time. He had to rescue Lot. He had to fight with different people. He had to cause wars and troubles he didn’t want to get involved with. He’d settle in a place and God would tell him to go elsewhere. He didn’t have it straightforward. But he yielded to God each step of the way. And as he yielded he found contact with God Himself. The same for the man I spoke about earlier. He too has found contact with God Himself over those thirty one years. He too has had blessings of many kinds. Like Abraham, he has found a relationship with Christ that will go on with himself and his descendants until Christ comes again. The faithfulness of God and blessing of God goes on from generation to generation to generation.
Do we think of our souls as unchanging, or as something that can grow? Are we just saved and that’s it? Being saved is just the start. Then we begin to grow. Our soul and our relationship with God starts to develop and grow. We’re not saved to uselessness. We’re saved for usefulness. We’re saved to be part of the body of Christ, not standing outside the church. That growth is in you, and that growth fits into the body of Christ.
Abraham knew. He built his altars and brought himself under God. He worshipped God. This was a spiritual man. And that spirituality would have had to shrugged off the natural man – the tiredness and draining of life – to worship God where he found Him. He would’ve had to trust God, and not try to work out things himself. Out of Abraham came the blessing that went out over the earth. Abraham could never have done that himself. Do we find God enthroned over our lives? When we don’t work things out for ourselves, then we have to trust Him. We have to look to God.
God speaks so clearly to us. He speaks to us so clearly as individuals. We are meant to go on. We are meant to grow. Abraham was one of the greatest men who ever lived, yet if you asked someone on the street, they wouldn’t know who he was. And yet a man like Abraham was one of the greatest men who ever lived. Because of his life, his decedent are being blessed in a spiritual way right up to this present age. The result for him was vision – God told him were to go, when to move on, how to work out his life. God gave him provisions. God gave him blessing. God made his life a fruitful life. If we follow God and put our natural man under God, we will be blessed, and the generations that follow and the people around you will be blessed throughout the generations unto eternity.
If we do what we can, God will do the bits that we can’t do. What we can do though is desire God. We can ask God to help us desire Him more. We can ask Him for a relationship for Him. We can go where He is. Abraham found that secret of God Himself.
We must want to be where God is. We must want of God. It’s not a standing still, or a once off thing. There must be a desire for more. There is something that is not just for now. This is something that’s going on, in which we can grow and settle. In which we can put our roots down and settle. It’s not just about today. What we’re doing now is going to go on and be blessed, and be fruitful, and gather more. Because God is in it, as He was with Abraham.
Out of God’s ways come fruitfulness and blessing.
There is an upward call in Christ. We’re not meant to be looking down and depressed. An upward call lifts you up continually as you go on and on until that day when you go to be with Christ Himself.
Be encouraged to go deeper and further on in God.