There have been times in my life when I resisted doing things because I could not see the end from the beginning. I was in a position of comfort. Things in my life made sense. In today’s world, often we make a list of pros and cons as we evaluate the decisions we are going to make. When I was in school, we were taught “Critical Thinking,” taking decisions out to their logical conclusions.
Making rational, and well thought out decisions can lead to tremendous success in our lives. It is this thinking that can lead to the large house, the beautiful cars, and the bank accounts where the zeros come AFTER the decimal point. Rational decisions are expected of us as our life responsibilities increase. These truths are applicable whether you live a life of following Christ or not.
I want to look at the practice of making rational decisions through the lens of someone who is a follower of Christ. All too often, when one practices religion, the disconnection from God becomes buried under layers of the liturgy, legalisms. There is a lot that can be learned from the story of Zacharias, the father of John the Baptist, who was a priest. From the book of Luke:
“And Zacharias said to the angel, “How shall I know this? For I am an old man, and my wife is well advanced in years.” And the angel answered and said to him, “I am Gabriel, who stands in the presence of God, and was sent to speak to you and bring you these glad tidings. But behold, you will be mute and not able to speak until the day these things take place, because you did not believe my words which will be fulfilled in their own time.”
(Luke 1:18–20 NKJV)
How would you react if your Priest or Pastor told you that they had been spoken to by an angel of God, and did not believe the message was possible?! It would be effortless to condemn that person for the lack of faith! It would require a fair amount of consideration and understanding on your part to conclude that Zacharias was actually acting from the position of HIS faith, and HIS experience that he had encountered up to that moment with God. Zacharias was not a young man; he had many many years of religious habits and practices that as he was taught is what brought him into the presence of God. It was all he knew.
There are so many things that we can learn from this story, and I would like to drill down on a few points.
- God makes you able to do what he asks you to
do. Zacharias says: “For I am an old man,”
this was not news to God or his angel, but rather an attempt to demonstrate he
was not able.
- The book of Philippians States: “being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ;”(Philippians 1:6 NKJV)
- It is not possible to be in
the presence of God and doubt him all at the same time, no matter how long you
have been a Christian. Notice the Angel
Gabriel says: ”I am Gabriel who stands in the presence of God” When Zacharias’s heart did not accept the message
he lost that position.
- Paul, in his address to the Book Romans, says: “But he who doubts is condemned if he eats, because he does not eat from faith; for whatever is not from faith is sin.”(Romans 14:23 NKJV) He is urging the people not just to practice the practices but rather be transformed and guided in their actions by the will of God.
- If you are not willing to
listen to what God has to say, and furthermore allow it to guide you, everything
you do is futile. In this case,
Zacharias becomes mute as Gabriel says: “Because you did not believe my words.”
- Jesus said: “And when you pray, do not use vain repetitions as the heathen do. For they think that they will be heard for their many words.”-(Matthew 6:7 NKJV) Jesus was teaching to genuinely talk to God, seek his presence, and allow his will to be what guides. Not the pros and cons, not the perception of others.
- Don’t put an expiration date on the word
of God. The Angel Gabriel goes on to
tell Zacharias: “Which will be fulfilled in THEIR OWN time. We live in a society of instant everything
today. As God does not exist in time, it
is up to us to recognize that his plans will be carried out when it is
- The book of Romans says: “And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.”–(Romans 8:28 NKJV) Often we can read this scripture to be inspired by actual events, but it is essential to remember that the “WHEN” is just as important as the “WHAT.”
Faith is a beautiful thing. God wants to utilize every one of use to fulfill his purpose not only for our lives but equally important the lives of others. So ask yourself.
- When is the last time I have stepped outside of my comfort zone
- Is there something I have ignored doing because it just didn’t make sense.
- Is my “Faithty” belt holding back?
- Meaning do I tell myself it’s ok because I go to church, pray, and do all the things a good Christian does?
- What is the last thing that I did to add a member to the Kingdom of God?