I awoke this morning with the title “Limitless” on my mind. I know why from a logical standpoint. My wife and I went to a late lunch yesterday at the Olive Garden, one of our favorite restaurants. It offers “unlimited” breadsticks and salad with each entrée. But my subconscious mind connected the words “limitless” and “unlimited” with some psychological and emotional difficulties I have been going through lately. I have been going through a “crisis of faith” to use a term I first heard from Henry Blackaby in his book Experiencing God. A “crisis of faith” is when you come up against a situation where you are asked by God to step forward in faith to do something and have a difficult time believing that what you have heard is from God or have a difficult time believing you can do what God is asking of you. My emotional difficulties related to my efforts to build churches in Africa and establish a Bible School there. I had forgotten some of the basic principles of faith and the process of following Jesus. I had forgotten how to be a faithful sheep. Let me explain.
I must review some of the principles of following the Good Shepherd as a faithful sheep. Before I do that, however, let me state that the basic principle is that God is the initiator and the One who accomplishes what He calls us to do. My problem in all of this “crisis of faith” is that I had forgotten that basic principle and had begun to take on God’s role.
- We are given the authority to become daughters and sons of God: “Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believe in his name, he gave the right to become children of God.” (John 1: 12 NIV)
- When a situation arises that seems like it is overwhelming; the Lord takes over and does the work: “Then the Spirit of the Lord came on Jahaziel . . . He said, `Listen, King Jehoshaphat and all who live in Judah and Jerusalem! This is what the Lord says to you: `Do not be afraid or discouraged because of this vast army. For the battle is not yours, but God’s.’” (2 Chronicles 20: 14a, 15a NIV)
- The principle by which Jesus lived His life was that with God all things are possible: “Going a little farther, he fell to the ground and prayed that if possible the hour might pass from him. `Abba, Father,’ he said, `everything is possible for you.’” (Mark 14: 35 NIV)
- Jesus sent the Holy Spirit so that we would be able to understand all that the Father was doing through Him and so that we would receive, for all time, what Jesus wanted us to receive: “But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all the truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come. He will glorify me because it is from me that he will receive what he will make known to you. All that belongs to the Father is mine. That is why I said the Spirit will receive from me what he will make known to you.” (John 16: 13 – 15 NIV)
- Jesus expects us to carry on the work He began in the power of the Holy Spirit: “Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father.” (John 14: 12 NIV)
- The principle that Jesus lived by that in God all things are possible is now extended to us: “And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it.” (John 14: 13, 14 NIV)
- We are living in an era when God the Father is subjecting the world under Jesus, the Son, for the purpose of glorifying the Son: “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters.” (Romans 8: 28, 29 NIV)
To put it in very simple terms, such as a graduate of kindergarten might understand, God’s expectation that He accomplished through Jesus is that there are lots of daughters and sons in the world just like Jesus; doing what Jesus did. When I remember this everything becomes easy and I can trust that what God has assigned for me to do will get done. It all becomes easy in the glory; in the very presence of God.