But without faith it is impossible to please God. – Hebrews 11:6
If there is one prayer that I might have used too much over the years, it is the prayer of protection. I like the words “hedge of protection” in the book of Job. Over the years, these words have made me feel safe and protected from the enemy. At the same time, I believe I have often misinterpreted these words to mean, “keep me comfortable and happy while not making me do anything too difficult.” In that sense, these words have kept me from stepping out in faith.
I think back to the beginning when God wanted me to leave the “popular” lifestyle of partying and hanging out with certain “friends.” I had no idea what was on the other side of all of that. Who would I hang out with? What would I do on the weekends? It was so much easier to just keep on “believing” in God and ask for forgiveness at the end of the day for the junk I did that I know He didn’t approve of.
Stepping out on faith was so costly in the short term. It was lonely. It was incredibly difficult and I thought constantly of quitting. I had no replacement friends for the ones I gave up. But, I did learn in that alone time in the wilderness how to be friends with God. I talked to Him. I read His word. I wrote songs for Him and played them for Him. He was all I felt like I had, so He became my best friend.
Before long, opportunities to publicly declare His word came about. Public speaking was my all time number one fear. My voice would literally and obviously shake if I had to do something as simple as read in front of a group of people. My heart would pound so hard that I wondered if it would come out of my chest. I would just tell Him, “Lord, I can’t do this. Please don’t make me do this.” I had a choice. I could stay protected in my little shell, or I could step out on faith. Fortunately, when I did, God allowed me to crawl before I walked. He allowed me to preach short, simple little devotions to small groups of people and “work my way up” to bigger crowds. Stepping out on faith pleased Him because He sure started to bless me with some wonderful revelations about His Word.
Then came quite a big test: “Will you pastor a church?” I didn’t lack for excuses, “Lord, I only have a handful of sermons. How can I come up with something every week? How will it affect my family? Are you sure you don’t want me to retire from teaching first? Can I answer later?” I had so many reasons to say no. But, this verse resonated with me. All of my questions were about my own abilities. The right question was this: Do I trust You, Lord, who I claim as my God, to supply all that need to do what You have called me to do?
I said, “yes.”
How could I please Him otherwise?
I so want to please Him.
Have you ever stepped out on faith and done something really difficult for Him? I’m talking about something that really takes you out of your comfort zone and everything in you just makes excuses like crazy. If you haven’t, do you really expect Him to say at the end of your life, “Well done, my good and faithful servant”?
Without faith, it is impossible to please God.