Moving from the page to reality…

Last year I read my first book of John Bevere’s entitled
‘Good or God’.  I loved it so much that I
bought a few friends a copy and even give my own copy away.  This revelation is a thing that some may find
surprising as giving any book away doesn’t come easy to me. What can I say, I am
a book hoarder…
John Bevere has an open and direct style as he refuses to
sugar coat his words.  As I read his
challenging content my heart frequently gives a deep groan of agreement. As it
does my mind ponders on which behaviours need to change and compromises rescinded.
As I return to read his next chapter it has often been an act of discipline as
I know what it took to process and deal with what he had written in the previous one.
Obedience and unhealthy compromises have been a theme to my
recent conversations with God.  Its quotes
like this one, another of John Bevere’s from his latest offering ‘Killing
Kryptonite’ that haunt me.

‘Worship is not some slow, beautiful song; it is
obedience.  No matter how we ‘perform’ in
church, if we do not obey God in our daily lives, we are not worshipping Him’

John Bevere.

Another author I have been reading recently is John Eldredge.  I struggle with some of his gender generalisations
in the early chapters of his book ‘Wild at Heart’ however the last half of the
book offered so much help I can manage to overlook them.

The second book I read of his this year is
the lesser known ‘Walking with God’ and I have to say it’s probably one of the
best I have read on the subject of hearing God’s voice in many years.  It’s a helpful read full of practical and easily
applied suggestions.  It is also a real
eye opener and when I place both books together they have really complemented
each other and held a challenge I couldn’t easily dismiss. Both authors of the aforementioned books have had a significant
impact as they challenge compromises and encourage radical obedience within me.
One of the bigger shocks came as I applied some of John
Eldredge’s teaching to my own day to day life.
He points out that often we have struck agreements with ourselves and
the enemy which aren’t God honouring and in fact need broken.  These agreements aren’t always complex and
deep and in fact I have found that in my case some are exactly the opposite.  Yet having been hidden in plain site I have
allowed them in my ignorance to have a detrimental and on occasions crippling
effect.
An example of this that I would give is with my health as
for the past 2 -3 years I have been suffering from chronic fatigue.  It’s been going on for so long and has left me
so confused I no longer know when I am genuinely tired or am looking an out
from doing something. Generally speaking compared to 3 years ago my
productivity is way down.  As I read ‘Walking
with God’ it challenged me to audibly pray, breaking any agreements I have made
whilst rejecting that which is having a negative impact upon me.  One day a few weeks ago after lunch a heavy
fatigue fell upon me; with quite a hefty to do list I then opened myself to
another unwelcome guest – anxiety.  Literally
as the fatigue and nausea rolled over me I had two options.  I could literally buckle under it or reach
for the tool my reading had given me.  In
desperation and frustration I prayed audibly.
‘In the beautiful and strong name of Jesus I commanded fatigue to leave
me I embrace the restoration my King is offering.’

‘In the beautiful and strong name of Jesus I commanded
fatigue to leave me I embrace the restoration my King is offering.’

Audibly I accepted his love and declared my openness to receiving
anything and all that he had for me.
Still feeling rubbish but with all the faith that I could muster I
pushed on into the work and found that God in His faithfulness provided.  I worked for four hours at my desk completing
more work than I aimed for and had energy enough to start cooking the tea.  I was to my shame literally shocked at the
impact my prayer had had.  From that
point on both my wife and I have been speaking out in prayer,  breaking agreements we have come across and
the results have been a true blessing.

 

 

In closing I return to the theme of obedience.  Living with agreements and compromises can
become all too quickly our norm, then morphing into some kind of perverse comfort
blanket.  The longer we have held them
around us the more we refuse to let them go eventually holding on to them for
grim death.  The truth is but whilst
holding on to that blanket are you refusing to declare and live by the truth
that you can do all things through Christ who strengthens you. (Philippians
4:13) In your state of deception are you refusing to leave your comfort zone
and serve?  What God honouring and
pleasing adventures are you being robbed off? (Ephesians 6:12)

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