Day 10 Intimacy with God sees the power in the seed, obedience sees the size of the seed

My last post examined the idea behind why the mysterious things of God are sometimes revealed and other times not, but why they are always a worthy pursuit for His child. Day 9 part 2 below:

Embracing the mystery Part 2

At some point most of us have played the B side of the life’s unfair anthem. “Why me-How can this be?” We’ve done our best but things are not working out as planned. We prepared for a sprint but arrived at the starting line of a marathon. The stress settles like surprise on a hurt child waiting for his parent’s reaction. It’s a moment when “Why me?” is all we can ask – and that is okay! But how long we continue to ask determines the difference between moving a mountain and digging a hole.

What does God want for me –from this?

I’d been wrestling the WHY of my financial meltdown for 18 months. It took a decade to build my ark and load up the family, but only a minute to blow it up and sink the pieces. Job’s friends have come straight out of scripture and gathered around me to explain things. But all I hear is a chorus of bill collectors who do not care about the WHY.

Back to the A side “If I don’t fix it nobody will” – I suppose it’s time to change the record and put on a new song. But with a million-something in debt and very little income, the first thing that comes to mind is bankruptcy, not faith. That bothers me, but it makes more sense than living in bondage the next 40 years. Working the rest of my life at an average job is a blessing, but not a solution. When you’re circumstance appears to be a life sentence you stop looking for the door and mistakenly try the window. You either give up or take matters into your own hands.

Many of us are the facing a double edged struggle. One side is the immediate pain the other is the monstrous task of removing it. Rejoice! The potential for growth is enormous, but look both ways carefully before crossing. We run the risk of adopting an incomplete faith, a flexible faith where small victories disguise the overall solution.

An immediate pain (an unmet need) requires immediate faith. There is no time to anguish over the “why”-Praise God! I can’t express how refreshing it has been these last few weeks to see God reach into our lives and meet our daily needs. It hasn’t been easy but we’ve learned to believe that HE IS just ahead, waiting on us to SEEK HIM (instead of our rent payment). Hope deferred make the heart sick, but hope in the wrong direction makes it die. We stopped asking for our needs to be met, and began asking for God to reveal Himself to us. When we had no money for groceries, taking our eyes off those basic needs was tough! But Matthew 6:33 isn’t a suggestion it’s a way of life.

A distant need, on the other hand, is easier to avoid (unfortunately). My overwhelming debt like any mountain looks smaller from a distance. The further away I hold it the smaller it looks. The rub is that it will always remain directly in my path. The only way to keep my distance is to either stand still, or go backwards. But it amounts to just shoveling dirt when it’s really time to plant that mustard seed.

Can you hear the bell ringing?

When we set out to walk in faith God prepares us for absolute victory! His strength is perfected in our weakness, so exposing it COMPLETELY is absolutely necessary. If He tells me that faith can move a mountain, my job is to embrace it and act on it! If instead I try to climb over, hike around or even tunnel through it, I’m arrogantly trading His solution for my own, and leaving blind spots in my faith. We trust Him to feed us and keep us off the street but there is so much more.

This is where flexible faith assigns a lifetime of bondage to many soft hearted believers. We are learning to consider the birds of the air but ignoring where they nest (a mustard tree). We’re living by faith for our daily needs, but forgetting that a mountain is moved by the faith of a seed (mustard to be exact). Maybe the enemy was passing out humble pins in the midst of our small victories. I think one is stuck on my lapel, because I’ve forgotten that I’m not God, and only He can “UN”RING a bell.

Over the river & through the woods – back to the WORD we go.

Matthew 17:20

So Jesus said to them, “Because of your unbelief; for assuredly, I say to you, if you have faith as a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move; and nothing will be impossible for you.”

What a masterfully efficient illustration of the power behind faith. Yet on the surface I find that verse encouragingly discouraging. It’s great to know this can be done but how? How do we make this real? What exactly is “mustard seed” faith? Can it be tangibly quantified? If moving a mountain is our benchmark, does anyone really have this kind of faith? Or should it remain just a lofty goal to keep us aiming high? What is your perspective?

My perspective has been stuck in at-a-glace mode for many moons. Like a kid, I really do want to know! But like an adult, I’m burned out and think “who cares” (sometimes). Never the less, before I could encourage others to embrace the mystery (as defined in the last post) I had to put it into practice myself. So instead of marveling over this verse another minute or pretending it doesn’t matter another week, I decided to REALLY ASK God about it.

I went in my prayer closet and set up base camp around that mountain (the one He said I could move). I sought His face and reminded Him of Jeremiah 33:3. I told Him I already knew what the verse meant to most (still wearing the humble pin), but I wanted to know what it FULLY meant to Him. After a few expeditions into my closet He spoke! And believe it or not, here’s what He said:

Two guys sitting on two rocks two hundred year ago.
One says to the other “anything is possible!”
The other guy responds “what do you mean?”
The first guy says “MAN CAN FLY”.
The second guy says “NOT POSSIBLE!”

That was all He said specifically. But He impressed it upon my heart in a way that has meaning and connection to Matthew 17:20. So here’s what I learned:

The guy who said “it’s not possible” imagined that the only way a man could fly would be to literally become a bird. But fast forward 200 years and not only CAN man fly, he flies faster and more efficiently than any bird ever dreamed – even up to 25,000 MPH (space shuttle). He still doesn’t look like a bird.

Faith sleeps in the comfort of our own understanding. In order to wake it up, we have to pull up the shades and get it of bed. But the tiny seed in that verse casts a mighty shadow across the bedroom window. My own faith gets lost behind it and goes right back to bed. (Why me? or I’ll fix it myself!)

From that point of view, Matthew 17:20 seems to be placing the weight of that mountain squarely on top of us – our faith (effort). And the only way out from underneath it is by that effort (seemingly). It’s a heavy load that crushes what little faith we have. As a kid you energetically agree and exhaust your mind trying to meet that standard. As an adult you just apathetically agree and resign yourself to the utter impossibility of it all. Either way defeat is the only end (apparently).

But God was saying something different to me. He was saying LOOK BEYOND the obvious and be encouraged! You don’t have to be a bird to fly and a small seed is more than a just a measurement of faith. It is the substance of faith containing life’s hidden potential, and the mountain is nothing but a big dead rock. Faith is a seed just as a seed is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. Hebrews 11:1 A seed has a Harvard degree in faith and it will rise to the top the industry if we’ll stop shoveling dirt and just plant it.

Jesus was telling His disciples (and us) to take our focus off the size of the obstacle – it matters not. In other words, the verse is not just about size but about power. The power of life held in a tiny seed will overcome the power of death the size of a mountain. Real faith sees this potential – the life hidden in the seed. In context – the disciples could not heal the boy because they were focused on the size of the obstacle instead of the power of faith. Matthew 17:14-20

Recap: Are we seeking intimacy with God, or just striving to be obedient?

Are we moving mountains or just digging holes? Let’s go after the mysteries of God, though it may remain a mystery, it will always reveal the person of God! And sometimes, the person of God will reveal the mystery! Let’s get intimate with God by giving logic the cold shoulder and running after Him instead! Be assured He is waiting just ahead, around the next corner, ready to embrace us. Jeremiah 29:12-13

Prayer of rejoicing:

Father we praise you today! We welcome you into our hearts and trade our sorrows for Joy. We give you our past and the crushing weight of our inescapable consequence. We trade in the friend’s of job, for a family who spurs us to seek after you instead of your blessings. Hide from us Lord that we might get up and chase after you! Give us more of you and reveal your mysteries to the humble. In Jesus name we submit and trust, Amen.

On a personal note:

We have rejoicing to do as God has provided some much needed work for me. It will sustain us yet another few weeks and even months. I have been away from writing (as often) in order to pay the bills. But in that time God has filled my heart with fresh inspiration for continuing this blog. He is teaching us so much! My hope is that He’ll give me the time to write it down AND pay the bills! Much more to come!

As we received news of my work project, we went to the convenient store and celebrated with a round of ICEEs. My wife love’s her ICEEs! It sounds so trivial, but there have been more than a few days where buying a 99 cent drink was impossible for us. There are many of you who are suffering through the same trials, or worse. We are here for you! This blog is for you! Share your thoughts – let’s encourage one another. Allow us to walk with you and pray specifically for you. If there are things you would like to discuss or see on the blog, let me know, and pray that God will continue to Wake Up All Of Our Faith!

Blessings!

Kevin

Contact me: wakeupmyfaith@att.net

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About Kevin Adams

Kevin Adams is a fresh voice among today’s best Christian writers. What he’s not, however, is a pastor, theologian or pulpit preacher; he doesn’t have a church, a fan club, or a flock. He’s just a regular guy with a powerful story, and a God given gift for sharing it that will challenge the faith of even the most seasoned, veteran believers. His transparency and intentional, elevated writing style has earned him a trusted reputation across the online Christian community. His work escorts readers through his own challenging experiences of loss, betrayal and impossible odds, to just beyond the comfort level of most Christians–the place where absolute faith is required. Kevin takes a genuine approach to modern Christianity that would rather tear away empty pockets than fill them with empty promises. Yet, his story is filled with indisputable proof of our Heavenly Father’s better-than-we-can-imagine desire for each of us, and the delight He takes in our learning to rest in His arms like happy children. Kevin is the author of The Extravagant Fool: A Faith Journey That Begins Where Common Sense Ends, due for release May 6th 2014, and founding partner in a new discipleship ministry being developed around the book. He is also the founder of the Wake up My Faith blog, which has garnered a social media following of over 80,000, reflecting varied backgrounds and locales. Kevin’s life verse is Matthew 6:33 – “But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these things shall be added to you”. (NKJV) And his philosophy on life can be summed up in a single thought: “Only when God becomes all that we want do we truly see that He is all we need.” –Kevin Adams 2012 Kevin is husband to Holly, his beautiful partner in faith, father to three wonderful children, and a compelling new author for Zondervan.
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12 Responses to Day 10 Intimacy with God sees the power in the seed, obedience sees the size of the seed

  1. Rob Allman says:

    Just so you can keep this comment I sent you earlier in your blog:

    The book I was reading was centered around the life of Joshua -> and he has a good story! To me what Made him a great subject to read about was not only his unfailing courage and spiritual devotion but the fact that over and over again he acted in spite of every human reason not to. God told him to destroy his enemies -> He did it. God told him to lead some ill fated Israelites -> He did it. God spoke to his heart -> He listened. Wow… what a faithful servant!

    So we need to ask ourselveves ..What is God asking of you and me? Get inside your soul and discover that by destroying our “Human”, “Worldy” hesitations we too can perform heroic deeds, lead others to Christ, overcome our circumstances and truly know fulfilling faith and powerful victories in and through Christ. It is so powerful to know that we have this ability and also the responsibility!

    This gets back to the idea that we – meaning me – have to give away that other 15% away to Him so we are prepared to do His work 100%.

  2. Sam Peebles says:

    God will never force any of us to pursue Him, He will however pursue all of us until our last breath. You see we do have a choice to chase after a Father that basically has already demonstrated His love for us beyond what anyone here ever will, or could do. I for one am ready to go after the potential of that mustard seed, and give everything over to my Father, and then stand up and go as He leads me. I don’t just want His help, I want His leading my life in all areas of it from Church,to work, to play and everything in between. God’s potential is amazing and thus so is ours, but we have to follow His potential not our own, here is the problem. I just like many others tend to live up only to my potential, and thus leave God out of the formula. As Kevin has mentioned until we realize that our best is but weakness without the Father we will never realize our complete need for God, and we will bounce around, tossed about by this world. However if we will plug into this potential of Faith in our lives and God’s Power, we truly can live a life lead by the Spirit and let the Father’s love radiate from us, not for our own glory but all to the Father, Praise Him!!!

  3. Nan Jones says:

    Kevin!! This was fantastic! I, too am learning to find His Light in the darkness. What the world perceives as tragedy (loss of job, income, security) God views as opportunity for intimacy with a child who dares to believe and trust Him. You are learning the mysteries of God!!! Amazing! What a gift from your Heavenly Father. But, it is your heart attitude that makes this gift possible. It is your honesty before Him that causes Him to reveal His innermost secrets to you. I think this is precious, more precious that gold. God views our lives in terms of eternity. We, on the other hand, see everything in the here and now – the physical. Our pain seems to drag on endlessly, mercilessly…but to our Father, it is but a snap of the fingers. He is preparing us to dwell with Him forever!

    I was interested in what Rob said about Joshua because as I read your story, I, too, thought about him. I am reading a great book called Sun Stand Still, by Steven Furtick. Try to get this book, somehow, somewhere. I got mine for free through a promotional thing. His website is StevenFurtick.com. There is also a website for the concept of the book, http://www.SunStandStill.org. Steven talks about audacious faith, the kind you are living right now, the kind Joshua experienced when he prayed for the sun to stand still when he needed more hours of daylight to defeat his enemies.

    One point Steven made that really spoke to me is that our faith is not some deep theology. Our faith boils down to a prayer we prayed as a child and many of us teach our children today: “God is great, God is good.” That simple. He is great enough to handle any of our problems and good enough to want to!

    Kevin, you and your wife are a blessing to the Father and to the Body of Christ. I know the battle is hard, but the victories along the way are very sweet. I will continue to pray for ya’ll.

    Nan Jones
    PS Tell your wife I totally get the ICEE thing. My sweet victory was a french vanilla cappuccino for $1.29 down at the corner run-in. YUM! Maybe one day I can get one at Starbucks!

    • Kevin Adams says:

      Thanks Nan – especially for your consistent prayers – they are being felt and having effect. I will check out that book – i bet it is the same one you are referring to. My wife read your comments – she is on FB as well and would love to connect. I’ll contact you back through FB. Blessings!

  4. Todd O'Heron says:

    Good wisdom, especially on the perspective of the mountain – thanks for sharing! Our “icee” was play sand for the kids – I remember the exhilaration of spending $3 on a bag of sand and not feeling stressed over it! 🙂

  5. Leanna says:

    Well my friend, all I can say is Amen. Again. Your honesty is contagious and your faith an example. I wish we were there to toast “ICEE’s” with y’all. Love you.

  6. “Faith sleeps in the comfort of our own understanding.”

    That’s profound…very thought provoking and true! So easy to fall into that place but our God LONGS for us to experience so much more.

  7. Suzanne Burgess says:

    Perfect timing Kevin. Thank you. When you have been in a dark place that you could have never imagined or understood unless you went through it yourself you find yourself with a whole new reference point. Sometimes you find your way back to faith simply because it is the only thing that offers any hope at all. Then when things get better it is easy to once again let your faith “nap” for a little while. Your own will begins to take over because the pain is not forcing you to rely on what, at one time, was your only hope. It is easy to get comfortable and be satisfied because the burdens of the pain that God has released you from is so far from where you have been. We exhale and get lazy. This is when we need to remember most how we have arrived in this peaceful place–through our Lord Jesus Christ. His way is so much better and I for one do not want to settle. Please pray that I will not be lazy or inpatient in seeking all that He wants me to be. His will is so much better than anything I could possibly imagine. The honesty in your words is always such a blessing to me. I will continue to pray for you and your family. Thank you for helping me to continue to wake up my faith!

    • Kevin Adams says:

      Praying for you my friend! Thanks for your wisdom – we all need constant provocation and encouragement to keep our faith awake – Mine loves to sleep 🙂
      Stay in touch!

  8. Barb Abker says:

    Kevin, you’re telling my story! Incredible how God works, isn’t it? My 13-year journey has turned into 3 self-published books. Today, it’s amazing to think that we lost not one, but 3 business in one year. One was a national craft magazine. Today, I’m thankful, blessed, and provided for. Talk about living in faith. It’s been an incredible journey with my God, but all worth it. Now I’m an encourager, a fighter and a true believer. Keep the faith, God bless, and I’ll pray for you & your family. It’s always a tough road, but isn’t that just life for ya? I’m following you on Twitter.

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