Wednesday, April 30, 2014

God's Word molds me to be like Christ...

This is #5 in a series on the importance of God's Word...
During this time in my life, I learned how God was conforming me through His Word into His image and how important that is to me and my well-being.

In the fall, we began studying Ezekiel and God began really molding my heart to His will.  Ezekiel was a contemporary of Isaiah.  They were both called to prophesy to rebellious Israel, but in different locations.   

From the moment God called Ezekiel, we find that He asked him to do some crazy things.  He called him to lay on his side for 390 days for the sins of Israel and then 40 more days on his other side for the sins of Judah.  Can you imagine? And that was just the beginning of the crazy things he asked him to do. And we see that Ezekiel never questioned God.  

 In studying Ezekiel, God began to give me some perspective on my own ministry and what he was calling me to do.... and what he wasn’t.   

 But then we hit chapter 24 and I was not prepared for what I would read.  God tells Ezekiel one morning that that evening he is going to take the delight of his eyes, his wife, and he is not to mourn her or cry over her in public as an example to rebellious Israel that they are about to lose the delight of their eyes, Jerusalem.  

 Wait, did I just read that right?!!  God, you are going to KILL Ezekiel’s wife, the delight of his eyes?  The one man that is doing exactly what you ask him to do, with out questioning.  You are going to take his wife as an example for a nation that is not even listening to you?!  

 That was too much to ask.   
And you know what, I got angry with God. 
And as I wrestled with it, God revealed that I was angry because if he could ask that of Ezekiel, what would he ask me to do?!!  Was he going to ask me to face even harder times for our church? 

I shared with another lady in the bible study that I was struggling with this chapter and she sent me a sermon from a Scottish pastor that she had found on-line, hoping it would help me.   

His words cut open my heart.  

 Because he said, we struggle with this passage of scripture because of PRIDE.  We think we have “rights”.  If we are obedient and doing all that God is asking us, then things should work out, we should be vindicated, we shouldn’t lose our jobs, we should see results.  But we don’t have any “rights”.  We gave those up when we accepted God’s free gift of salvation.  We became bond servants of Christ. 

And God has the right to ask ANYthing of us that brings Him glory.

This preacher says in his sermon “It amazes me that even in personal grief Ezekiel was still God's prophet. Do you know something? That is the struggle of cost, the struggle of the cost of being called of God. You see, this is the difference between a prophet and a pretender. When the cost comes home, when there's something more than just a message, when your whole life has to become that message!” 

Henry Blackaby says “The Lord cannot always spare you and your family and complete his redemptive work in those around you.” 

Honestly, those are scary words.  Yet, I knew them to be true.

At that moment, I was completely broken by God.  And He pulled away that layer of pride in my life.  And He asked me the question, did I really believe he was God….the one who spoke the universe into being, the one Isaiah says can measure the dust of the earth, the one who has given every star a name, the one who I have been studying about……the one who has comforted me, cared for me and given me courage…..the one who set me in this place and this time for a purpose?  And if I believed, why would I not trust Him with my future. Why was I allowing fear to take away from my faith?

 This study on Ezekiel was last fall......and now here I am with my husband having lost his job.  I look back in complete awe how God took the time to prepare me for this loss.  Through His Word, he brought my heart to a place where I could honestly trust Him with whatever He asked of me....before He asked it.

Change is always hard. Learning to surrender my will to His and conforming my pride into humility has got to be the hardest thing I have ever done. But it is the most rewarding as I see more Christ in me. Jesus conformed from heaven to earth, from king to slave, from spirit to human to save me. Now, He’s leading me to conform for Him.

I can tell you that I can honestly look back with JOY at what God has allowed and done in these last years, not only in MY life and MY heart, but my husbands and the many people around us that God used us to touch.  And most of the molding of my heart came from my time in His Word. Which then flowed through me to the people God called me to serve.
In our fast paced, have to be involved with everything society we are allowing ourselves to push God aside.  We’ll get to bible study when we have more time.  We’ll get back to Bible Study when our children are not so small.  We’ll get back to spending time with God when our nest is empty.  You have to be intentional about spending time with God.  You have to put him first if you are truly going to set the time aside.

Israel is a great example to us.  

 They were sent into exile, away from all God promised them, because of their lack of knowledge of Him.  Make the choice today to pick up your bible and treat it like the treasure it is.  Read it, study it and find the Care, comfort, courage you need to truly trust Him completely and he will conform you to be everything He has called you to be.


Mari said...

Wow - I don't remember that part of Ezekiel, but as I read your post it bothered me too. Thanks for this post, for your input on it and that challenge to stay in God's word. I have to admit that I too often take it for granted and too often read to check it off my list of things I need to do today... You've challenged me today.

Crossroads Keeper said...

You had me until bible study, but I have my own issues.

Weird. Me and a friend just discussed this yesterday. Different context, same subject.