What Stands Between You and God?
Once in a while I need a kick in the butt spiritually…know what I mean? The good news is that I have come to realize when I need it. When I reach this point, I will often pick up “The Seeking Heart” by François Fenelon, a 17th century monk. His writing is incredibly intense. I can only read about a page at a time before I’m overwhelmed. I received my “kick” just before Christmas when I read this:
“Often what you offer to God is not what He wants. He usually wants that which you dread giving Him. It is Isaac, the well-beloved, that He wants you to give up. What he is after is what comes between you and Him. He will not rest, and neither will you, I might add, until you have given Him everything. If you want to prosper and enjoy God’s blessing, don’t hold anything back from Him. What comfort, freedom, and strength there is when nothing stands between you and God.”
– François Fenelon in The Seeking Heart
[As it happens, I was just reading the story of Abraham and Isaac as part of my daily reading plan. God loves to do this when he wants to make a point!]
As a parent, I’ve always been blown away by the faith of Abraham when he went to sacrifice Isaac. Like most parents, I perhaps could imagine sacrificing myself for my kids, but sacrificing one of my kids? That would be crazy! Fenelon’s words saying that God wants what I dread giving him, “my Isaac”, hit pretty hard. I asked myself, “What is my Isaac, the-well beloved, that stands between me and God…The thing that I dread giving him right now?”
My mind was blank…for days.
Yet God is good and he will show us what he wants us to surrender if we listen. “Be patient,” I told myself. I let the question linger…
In my book, “Unlock Your Life” I introduce the foundational concepts of the Mission Curve™ process, which are based on the S-Curve, a well know business principle. The key in the Mission Curve™ process is the Spiritual S which captures the path to Oneness with God. With each cycle through the Spiritual S, we are challenged to give up (surrender) a worldly belief to God.
A surrender occurs when you finally accept a promise of God, releasing an “Isaac” in the process.
This reminded me that I needed to refocus my thinking on what promise of God I was doubting.
I thought back to the time over 15 years ago when I left my secure 21-year career in the medical device industry to become a financial advisor with a mission. Financially this was a huge “Isaac” for me. I would take a 75% cut in income, going to a full commission. People thought I was crazy…and I did too! But God challenged me to put all my family’s financial needs on the table and decide if I would really trust his promise to provide. While I was well aware of this promise, I had never really accepted it deep down. I remember being intensely focused on what Jesus said in Matthew:
“So don’t worry about these things, saying, ‘What will we eat? What will we drink? What will we wear?’ 32 These things dominate the thoughts of unbelievers, but your heavenly Father already knows all your needs. 33 Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need.”
Jesus Christ in Matthew 6:31-33 (NLT)
Focused on my mission, I let go of the thought that providing for my family financially was all my doing. Though nowhere near the faith showed by Abraham, nor nearly as crazy, for me this was a huge jump in faith. I didn’t hold my financial life back from God. It was scary. The result? I enjoyed incredible Intimacy with God; my trust in him increased immeasurably. Because I made this bold (but not impulsive) move, I enjoyed God’s blessing just as Fenelon described. I made huge strides toward reaching my full Godly potential and I became contagious for his kingdom in the process. God loves this and he rewarded me with his presence. What could be better?
“And it is impossible to please God without faith. Anyone who wants to come to him must believe that God exists and that he rewards those who sincerely seek him.
Hebrews 11:6 (NLT)
What went through Abraham’s mind before, during and after his offering of Isaac? As crazy as this act must have seemed to him, he was committed and courageously went forward. His trust in God’s promise to him was evident when he responded to Isaac’s question, “…where are the sheep for the burnt offering?” by saying, “God will provide the sheep for the burnt offering my son.” Abraham’s trust pleased God very much. God saw his faith and provided a ram at the last minute. (God loves last-minute miracles!) Abraham was so convicted in his belief that he named the place “The Lord will Provide.” Afterward, God reiterated his promised blessing to make a great nation through Abraham and Isaac. Clearly Abraham grew closer to God, trusting him more than ever, experiencing a whole new level of Intimacy.
I was struck by Abraham’s boldness. I wrote in my journal this morning that faith and boldness are like brother and sister; they come together as a package.
Acting out our faith in God’s promises requires great boldness.
When it’s time for you to make a bold jump of faith, many will call you crazy. Yet, this is how you get to know your God. What prevents us from being bold? Fear, with pride as it’s underpinning. We don’t want to fail, or look bad in front of or hurt others, or to be seen as foolish by doing something crazy. On the other hand, it’s not until we take a bold step of faith that we release what stands between us and God so we can come near to him.
I received my answer from God. He opened my eyes to see when I read:
“Unless the Lord builds a house, the work of the builders is wasted.”
King Solomon in Psalm 127 (NLT)
I’ve not been trusting God to be in the lead on the next leg of my adventure; instead looking in every other place for guidance. Don’t get me wrong, advice is good. But leadership belongs to the Lord and his ways are far above the ways of the world. My confidence needed to shift onto him. He is the one who has led me to this point after all. One of my favorite Proverbs captures this well:
“The horse is prepared for the day of battle, but the victory belongs to the Lord.”
Proverbs 21:31 (NLT)
This battle is not mine. Your battle is not yours…victory belongs to the Lord. I now fully believe God’s promise to lead me into his battle so he can show me his victory.
Do you want to receive the blessings and rewards that come from God’s presence? You must release the well-beloved that stands between you and God. The Mission Curve™ Process will guide you to identify and release your Isaac, the starting point of the Adventure God Made You For. Let’s talk.
Go to www.bobblackcoaching.com to schedule a free consultation.