I have heard it preached before that when you are disobedient to God, then you are out of fellowship with Him and you no longer have His power working in your life and your prayers will just bounce off the ceiling. I heard an illustration of this one time, it went something like this. You are walking down the path of your life. While you are walking this path, God is right there with you and you are in perfect fellowship with Him. At some point along the way, God asks you to do something and for whatever reason you can’t bring yourself to do that thing. So you keep walking and talking to God, but He isn’t there. He has stopped on the path at the point where He asked you to do that thing you couldn’t do. You might say, “Come on Lord, lets keep walking.” But His reply is, “No! You need to come back here and do what I told you.” You may decide to keep walking, but God won’t be with you. He will be waiting patiently for you come back and obey Him. Is this a true depiction of our walk with God?
How about this illustration? You are a loving father who buys your son a new bicycle. You are excited about giving him the bicycle and can’t wait to see his face when you give it to him. You anticipate all of the hours of fun he will have riding his new bicycle. However, when you present him with the bicycle he seems indifferent, maybe even fearful. He resists all efforts to be placed upon the bicycle. You might be disappointed, but you know that someday, when your son is ready, he will get on that bicycle and ride it. Do you think that a loving father would withdraw from his son and refuse to have anything to do with him until he rode that bicycle? I don’t think so. He would continue to do other things with his son. He would still play ball with his son, read him stories, and take him for ice cream. Every so often he would remind him of the bicycle and when his son was ready he would teach him to ride it.
I know that the second illustration has a definite human perspective, but I also believe it accurately describes my experience in my Christian walk. Let me share a little testimony. Several years ago, I felt like God was telling me to go and talk to someone and tell them about something that had happened. Who that person was and the thing He wanted me to tell him isn’t really that important to the point, so I will leave out the details. Even though I definitely felt God telling me to go to that person, I couldn’t bring myself to do it. I had all sorts of rationalizations. I tried to apply logic to it, thinking that there was no logical reason for me to go. I imagined all sorts of consequences to me going to that person. I simply couldn’t see the point.
Over the next couple of years, God continued to grow me in grace and knowledge. I grew closer to Him and He called me into different ministries within our church and I obeyed those calls. He revealed His love for me to greater and greater depths and taught me truths about His grace. Yet, all during that time, God would remind me of what He had asked me to do. It wasn’t a continuous reminder, but from time to time, when I was still and quiet and prayerfully listening, He would speak to my heart. Each time, the same fears and rationalizations and logic would be applied to the issue. Finally, I came to the point where I said, “God, I am not able to do this, but I am willing for You to make me able.” I think it was at that point God began to work in my heart to make me able.
Well God did bring me to the point where I was able to go to that person. I told him what God had told me to share. Well that person just kind of scratched his head and told me that he didn’t know why God wanted me to tell him that either. He did share with me an instance where God had asked him to go and share something with someone else and his argument with God and the results of finally being obedient very closely lined up with my experience. I think that it all came down to pride. It was my pride that kept me from going sooner and it was that pride that God was dealing with throughout that process.
You might think that I should have been obedient right from the start and you would be correct. You might also say that, “I obey everything God tells me to do.” I would say, “Good for you,” but I would also suspect that it would just be your pride talking. It is more likely that God hasn’t revealed to you yet, the depths of your disobedience. There may be areas in your life that are completely yielded to God, but there are also areas where you are self sufficient, areas that you haven’t trusted to God.
That is what the Christian walk is all about. God, throughout our lives, opens our eyes to our need to trust Him in new areas. We may resist that revelation, but He is a loving father who continues to walk with us and take us through the process of learning to turn that area over to Him. Only once we turn it over to Him will it come to pass. It doesn’t have to take a couple of years for this process to occur. Apparently my pride runs pretty deep, but I have given that to Him as well. God never misses an opportunity to teach me humility and while this may sound like a bad thing, it is the most wonderful thing you can imagine. It is at the heart of His love.