From Challenged to Changed

From Challenged to Changed

In our journey of faith there are many things that have challenged us along the way. There have been certain messages or people that have shared something that hits a needed spot in our life. We may have even had the Holy Spirit bring us to a crawl to the throne in conviction from a heavy burden. Now that might be something we are struggling with, like an ongoing sin or habit. It could be something that is heavy on our hearts we want to see different, like the return of a prodigal, a healing or seeing an elusive answer to prayer. We are challenged to pray harder, digging our knees deeper into the carpet. 

A few weeks ago during the National Day of Prayer, God pressed me to consider how I prayed. He gave me the illustration of Israel and the tabernacle layout. You have the outer court where the common Jew was welcome to come near to God and the priests. Past that was the Holy Place where only priests were permitted. Then once a year the High Priest was able to enter the final room, the Holy of Holies to actually meet with God where the Ark of the Covenant was kept. Before Christ’s crucifixion this was the limit of the access to God. Without going into a detailed lesson, it was Christ’s death on the cross that tore the curtain between mankind and God. Mankind…Jewish and gentile would now have access to a one on one relationship with God. 

Why did I add that part? Because God put a challenge into my heart and I brought it up as I spoke to those in attendance. Too often we pray as if we are simply left back in the outer court, hoping God hears us…if we’re loud enough? If we’re good enough? If we’re convincing enough? NO. And we shouldn’t feel stuck outside of a relationship with God. If we have a relationship with God, through Christ, we have FULL ACCESS to God. It’s as if that curtain was between us and God has been now been torn away and we can come boldly before God. 

So the challenge part is to simply get off our duff in the outer court and boldly walk up to the Holy of Holies and talk directly to God. We can bring Him everything that is on our hearts, directly. We can go as deep as we need, we can cry out from the recesses and hurts never before shared with anyone. That can be the challenge…to change our place and position of prayer. 

Matthew 11:28-30
Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.”

What about the change? Well, I’ll admit, this has NOTHING to do with us at all. Our feeble attempts to change ourselves always fall flat. But as the Spirit moves us, challenges us to bring God everything, our burdens, our hurts, our failures and our anxieties and lay them at His feet, in the Holiest of Holy places, before God Himself, HE alone can change where we are at, who we are and what we are to do now. 

Hebrews 4:16
So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive his mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it most.

We can find all the challenges we need in solid biblical messages, Christian friends, church fellowship, Small groups, Bible study and prayer seeking what God has for you. It brings you so close…but like the curtain that needed to be torn apart, allow your heart to be torn and let God change you as only He can. Find all you need when you bring yourself humbly to Him and lay it directly at His feet. Find mercy…find grace…find rest!

Be Bold, Be Blessed,
Pastor Steve