”If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him. But when he asks he must believe and not doubt, because he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. That man should not think he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all he does.” -James 1:5-8
In the past several years, I have found it harder and harder to have faith. I’m not talking about my belief in God and Jesus; I have seen and experienced too much to doubt them. Instead, I have struggled with my faith in the power of the Holy Spirit. I have seen people healed of pains and sickness, I have had financial needs met in the eleventh hour by no doing of my own or anyone I know, I have engaged in Spiritual Warfare, I have even received and confirmed prophetic words over my life regarding situations I hadn’t told anyone about. And yet, somehow, I reduced my faith in the Holy Spirit to a simple “feeling”, a “conviction” to do the right thing, and a church phrase. The last few days I’ve been exposed to more workings of the Holy Spirit, events that have screamed out, “I’M RIGHT HERE!”, and even in the midst these blatant outpourings of the Holy Spirit, I remained hesitant. My immediate reaction was to analyze, to question, to doubt…
I have nothing without God. Without Him I am nothing.
“But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you…” -Acts 1:8a
“In the last days, God says, I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your young men will see visions, your old men will dream dreams. Even on my servants, both men and women, I will pour out my Spirit in those days, and they will prophesy.” -Acts 2:17-18
I remember in years past when I was a new Christian, the fire and zeal I had for God. I wanted to do nothing but serve him. Even when I got my first full-time job as a file clerk at a huge staffing firm, I rarely went home after work. I was at Church serving the youth, talking with the elders, learning from those who had gone before me in Bible studies and prayer meetings. While at the office, I kept scripture posted in my cubicle and memorized them, I would take part of my lunch hour to pray and spend time in the word and other devotionals.
Now, in my free time I play games, watch movies, listen to music, whatever it takes to keep me entertained; whatever it takes to avoid the “chore” of praying and being in the Word. I have taken hold of the lie. I have allowed Satan to twist my desires and lead me away from my Savior.
“When tempted, no one should say, ‘God is tempting me.’ For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone; but each one is tempted when, by his own evil desire, he is dragged away and enticed. Then after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full grown, gives birth to death.” -James 1:13-15
But God loved me anyway. He stayed with me, in spite of myself. He didn’t give up on me. He has reminded me of that tonight. Just before writing this I cried out, praying that God would remove the doubt from my heart. I don’t want to live double-minded anymore, and I believe with every fiber of my being that He honors that. I felt his Spirit wash over me and I know that in spite of my doubt and my unfaithfulness God has been with me all along, patiently waiting as He always does.
Somewhere along the path that has led me to this point, I had forgotten about the true power of prayer. It’s more than a church-phrase. An earnest prayer has SO MUCH weight to it. God hears his people’s cries, and he answers in one form or another. A lot of the time, I forget about my own testimony of prayer.
In college, I was unsure if I’d be able to enroll in a second year because I had been unable to locate enough financial aide. I also had no summer job lined up, and the semester was a week from ending. God showed up, twenty minutes after a prayer meeting, with the last of the money I needed; I was even able to enroll early! About ten minutes later I got a call back with a job offer. I don’t believe in coincidence. I don’t think it was chance that two prayers were answered within ten minutes of each other just after having a group of people in prayer.
“Again, I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about anything you ask for, it will be done for you by my Father in heaven. Where two or three of you come together in my name, there am I with them.” -Matthew 18:19-20
And I just found out that this evening has been an answer to my Abby’s prayer. I need to remember to pray about EVERYTHING! I used to pray until I got a response, and that’s what I have been missing. A friend of mine once said, “You can’t have a relationship with someone without talking to them, so how can you have a relationship with God without talking to Him?” It’s not about power or pride, it’s about relationship, it’s about being in love with God and DESIRING to serve Him on this earth. I don’t want to miss out on what He is leading me to.
After Abby and I got married I began working at Starbucks and stayed their for 4 years. In my current position I have more respect, authority, and responsibility which I like, but even in that I am not satisfied. I am not doing the work I was called to do. I know now, without a doubt, that I am going into ministry. I don’t know where, or when but it is clear that this is a time of learning. I am eager to see what God is going to do in my heart, my marriage, and my family.
The best is yet to come.
“May the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit, forever. Amen.” -Galatians 6:18