It hasn't seemed to fail from happening yet; a trial amidst my trial appears, and then shortly after a provision is shown . . . a gift from God, another showering of His unfailing love for me in a time of pain and suffering. Or is it? At times it seems as though gifts of different shapes, sizes, and sorts have literally dropped into my lap. Things that make me happy, make life easier, and lift weight off my shoulders. Things that I would take without question right now in my life, but what if they aren't provisions? What if just because something seems like a good thing from the outside it doesn't necessarily mean it is a gift from God. So how can we tell as Christians what is from God, and what may actually be our selfish desires convincing us it is 'from God'?
It's important to note, as well, that I can see this type of thing happening in lives of those all around me. It can have the potential to sound like this, "It was a God thing" "This is all God's doing" "I just know it is God's desire for me". And I'll be the first to admit this happens to me as well, and especially lately, I find myself saying these very things all the time. And sometimes it's Truth. T.R.U.T.H. Moving and breathing. And to those things we glorify God with the story of how He he can transform our lives. Or sometimes it begins as Truth living in our lives, and as God's fallen peeps we mess it up. It doesn't need to be a gift either. Provision aren't the only category needing discernment. It could be a trial, a ministry, a teaching, a plan. Do you think it came from God? From what I've learned in my life to make a claim like that means you must first do a little investigation.
Write it down. Pick it apart. And ask a few straight forward questions. Is your ultimate desire in regards to this to glorify God? If you aren't doing it for the glory of Christ who saved you, then stop, and stop now. And what if at first your desire was to glorify God but we got it the way and now you are unsure? Ultimately you can tell it by it's fruit. What fruit are you bearing in regards to it now? Is the fruit - both the ongoing and the end ones - showing up with beautiful and wonderful stories of Him living through you? It doesn't mean you become healthy, wealthy, popular, or famous . . . it means He is now BEING glorified through you. In your actions, through His gifts, within your suffering - He comes out on top. Finally you need to lean on friends. Friends who pray, friends who can give you an outside view, friends you've had for years, friends who know Jesus. Ask those who love you, they will be able to tell.
So why legalism in my title? I state it because, to me, it's become an important notation to mull over when working through these types of things with the Holy Spirit. It is important to note that even though we can look to others for advice, leadership, and guidance we have already been anointed with the Holy Spirit by Christ himself, see 1 John 2:27, and we need not look any further than this very conviction to know what is right and wrong in our lives. My dad has taught me that this can run deeper within a generational and cultural context, but let's leave John's words as is for now. Things can get hairy and scary real fast when you bring in legalism. And within this Christ anointed life it's becoming harder and harder to read the Bible in the context of legalism. My Bible is being shown to me in a new light, and this should be praised. My Bible is not a rule book, a work book, or a how-to book. . .it is the Spirit breathing on, in, and through my life. And when I read it if I don't feel the power of my Holy Father upon and within me, personally I think I should probably start back a chapter and try again.
Truly this testing, if you will, has arisen within many topics that have come into my life over the last months. These stories are not all for today, as I want you to not fall asleep at your monitor with my droning on. But I felt it important to first share how I have come through each of these, and what I have learned first. I know these type of God stories are happening each moment, of each day, in each life on this planet. We each need to just slow down and give God time to plant them as His will would have it, so in the end our story is a beautiful garden . . . and not a bunch of weeds.