Monday, July 7, 2014

Kingdom of Belief

As a kid (Because I'm not one anymore right??? At least that's what I tell myself) I distinctly remember watching the original karate kid with my mother. I remember laughing at Mr. Miyogi and his anecdotal wisdom. I remember my mom using her best accent to mimic him for days later just to get me to laugh. All in all I have very fond memories of the movie, I mean what 9 year old kid doesn't want to do a jumping swan kick to his favorite bullies face.

While those are the memories that I cherished as a child from this movie, as I have grown up I take notice of an important lesson this movie stands to teach us that I missed as a child. It can be found when Daniel-Son agrees to train underneath Mr. Miyagi. For those who have watched the movie you will remember that Daniel shows up his first few days ready to learn how to punch and kick, only for Mr. Miyagi to instruct him on how to wash and wax his car, paint his fence and sand his deck.

At First Daniel thinks this is probably just some form of an entrance fee, thinking that if he did these long enough he would finally get to move on to learning the real stuff. After a few days Daniel has finally had it and confronts Mr. Miyagi asking when will he finally get to move onto the important stuff. In this moment Mr. Miyagi shows him that these chores that Daniel looked at as only the entry fee and not important are going to be the very things that help him advance to being a karate master. 

Recently in my life I have been learning that in my relationship with the Lord a very similar struggle has been going on. 

I was reading in Romans 4, where the apostle Paul instructs the Christians in Rome that the entrance into God's Kingdom was always on the basis of faith not works. He uses Abraham as his primary example and shows how "Abraham believed in God and it was accredited to him as righteousness". 

As I read this I found myself nodding saying "Ya Abraham's belief earned him that righteous relationship with God." It was in that moment where I felt the Lord press on my heart "It was also his belief in God that carried him through as well". At this I was immediately convicted.

I think too often in my own life and in the church as a whole we make belief in God a momentary thing that grants you access to God but once you are in you move on to the bigger and better things like "warring with sin, and using your gifts". But in this moment with my wife asleep next to me I was reminded that my belief is not just what allowed me entrance into Christianity, my belief is what carries me through.

In this moment I felt very much Daniel, realizing that this thing I had somewhat written off as not so important was actually the very thing that will and is guiding me through life. 

In that moment I had to stop and ask myself "In all life's circumstances am I believing God is who He says He is?" 

I was convicted to have to honestly answer no. I was being so fearful over all the unknown factors in my life right now: finances, the future, or family questions; and doing whatever I could to try and control these areas. In my sin I was believing that I had to fix and control these areas. 

I had to repent and remind myself that God has proven Himself faithful so I need not doubt His provision in the land where He has sent me. 

I needed to remind myself that God authors the family and ultimately when He says it is time it will happen and I need not concern myself with trying to control it.

I needed to be reminded that God relates with man in the present, so that was where my focus needed to be. 

As I let these truths sink in and I chose to believe them I found my very soul being refreshed. It was then that I realized that "Belief is not only what grants you access to the Kingdom of God, belief is what advances the Kingdom of God."

I then remembered Hebrews 11. We commonly call this the Hall of Fame for Faith. I realized for the first time this passage is not praising these people's actions but rather their belief in God that led them to perform marvelous feats for God.

As a matter of fact when your peer closely at the blemishes in these characters narratives, you find that their great blemishes came when they weren't believing that God was who He said He was. Whether it be Abraham not thinking that God could protect Him and Sarah so he sent Sarah to be one of Pharaoh's wives, or Moses not trusting God's provision and struck the rock twice. 

From this we learn that "Bad Belief  is what derails our walk with God". For bad belief will always lead to bad behavior, while true belief brings freedom.

A.W. Tozer said the most important thing about a man is what comes to his mind when He thinks of God.

So I invite you to join in a sacred moment and ask yourself:

 In my circumstances, who do I believe that God is?

Is it true???

If not let us all repent, so that our correct view of God will lead to a life of worship so ,that like the brave men and women of Hebrews 11 , God's kingdom will advance on this earth through us.