..."and a highway shall be there, and it shall be called the way of holiness; evil minded people shall not travel on it, but it shall be for those wayfarers who are traveling toward God. (Isaiah 35:8, adapted)

Thursday, August 09, 2007

The Redemptive Purpose of the Stumblingblock

Well, this article was supposed to be about the
causes of stumbling, but this Jacob pushed his way
out before Esau and so you have first:

The Redemptive Purpose of the Stumblingblock.

Why is God a Stumblingblock to us? Why,
if He wants us so badly to come to Him,
does it seem, at least at times, so difficult?
Obviously, you have to assume that the
difficulty is not with Him, but with
something in us. After all, He was not only
here first, but responsible for allowing us to
even take issue with Him. Right away, I see,
I’ve managed to jump in over my head. This
is nothing new.

Consider God. Consider that He has all power
and all wisdom and all knowledge. He creates
and owns everything. Consider that the only
thing in this universe He cannot provide for
Himself is love, freely lavished, from those
whom He has made.

Would you like to have a rich friend? Would
you like to know the folks who have villas
on the French Riviera, cozy mountain retreats
in Aspen, seaside oasis’ in tropical paradises?
God has all that and more. Consider this: what
if you had a rich friend and that friend was
someone you didn’t really care for, or was
difficult to get along with, yet because of
the amenities, you decided to put up with
the “friendship”. Is this awful to think? Oh,
come now, you have thought this if you have
ever tasted a moment’s luxury at the expense
of another.

God gives great gifts in abundance. He offers
healing, hope, light, love, and eternal
salvation. What is there not to want? Oh,
dear reader, you might be surprised at the
answer to that. God, I believe, has this
incredibly accurate sorting system. By it,
He is able to sort out His real friends and
lovers from the gold-diggers. I absolutely
love it!

When I first came into the things of the Lord,
I saw some of my contemporaries, the spiritual
movers and shakers, seeming to get ahead of me
without having “earned their stripes.” Perhaps
it was who they knew, or their personal charisma,
or their ability to tell a story in a funny way that
afforded them opportunity. No matter. I began to
wonder how things operated in God’s Kingdom. God
said to me, “Have no fear, there are no shortcuts.
Each must come through exactly the same testings,
although the circumstances of the test will be
different for each person, it will be the
same course.”

Think about it. If you were God, would you like to
be loved just for your money, or your power or your
position? The idea of using someone for what they
can give you sickens me as human just to think
about it. How much more would I surmise that
God wants to be loved for His very lovely Person,
and not for the extra blessings that come our way
in knowing Him?

God’s glory. I love the Hebrew understanding of the
word glory. It is “kebod” and it translates best as
“heaviness” or “weight.” God is a heavy-weight,
have no doubt about that, but what is heavy is not
His possessions, but His depth of character, His
Love, the heights and breadths and depths of His
wisdom! He Himself is heavy!

I am currently on a trip and no matter how lightly
I try to pack, I still end up with heavy suitcases.
It is all my stuff, --but that stuff is not me.
If you looked through it you might find some
cool stuff inside but if I lost it, I would not feel
too bad nor would I be diminished. The important
part of me is not in my luggage. So, too, with God.
Yet, we, can spend a lot of time looking at God’s
glittering baggage and not at God.

Now I have said all of this to say this: when God
allows us to stumble. He is actually doing us a favor.
He is diverting our eyes away from something that
will take us away from knowing Him as He is. When
God allows us to stumble He is giving us a chance
to choose Him, to discover Him, to love Him as He
is and not as we want Him to be.

He is also allowing us to know ourselves and what it
is that we are after. There is the truism, “whatever
has my attention, has me.” If I am about things,
then I will be entranced with things, if I am about
myself, then I will be taken up with myself. If I
stumble over the True God, stumble over the nature
of what is really true about| myself and Him, then
my heart is revealed for its lack, its ignorance,
and even possibly for its rebellion.

God may be also allowing the potential for
stumbling as a way of showing principalities
and powers that man is able to love God freely.
Do you know that when you love God
freely, not for anything you can get, you
send the Devil into a boiling rage?

I suspect that this issue of love freely given
is what, I speak as a fool, Satan tries to
continually taunt God with. No doubt he
suggests that there are few, if any,
who will love God purely for Himself.

It appears that the Devil is trying to get
people to turn their backs on God, to believe
the worst about Him, to make them doubt God’s
motives toward them. I am sure that the Devil
feels that there is no one, or exceedingly few,
that will serve God “for naught.” He cannot
imagine it because he has proven himself
incapable of it.

It is these “free” lovers of God that He is seeking
to destroy or cause to confuse into rebellion. I am
also sure that the devil is very wrong about God’s
ability to receive a pure bridal company that loves
Him entirely for Himself. Praise God! So the next
time you are tempted to stumble over God, think
of this: you have an opportunity to turn the knife
back into the gut of the Evil One by standing with
and for God. Satan seeks to kill you. Who do you
think is putting the thought into your mind to be
angry with God’s ways?

So when you find yourself stumbling over God,
I encourage you to look deeper. Look for what
you can discover about loving God for God’s
sake, and not your own. Look for what you can
lay down. Look for the lies that are being
presented to you to swallow. Allow any hidden
accusations or cold areas in your heart toward
God to be brought to the light.

Do you realize that our hearts are meant to burn
fervently and continually with the love of God?
When we feel deadlined inside for extraordinarily
long periods of time, there may be something

I would not want to be insensitive to people who are
in a dark night of the soul and feel only darkness.
But even in the apparent darkness, our hearts can
still burn at the mere remembrance of His touch.
No? Even at night, is there not an eternal light
rising in our hearts? Let the darkness have the same
affect as the light in bringing your trust in God
to a higher place and your testimony before
principalities and powers to a new level.

God is a stumblingblock to those who will
not believe but exceedingly precious to those
who trust Him. Even if you do stumble over
Him, trust His love in the matter and you will
go on to greater things. God has a redemptive
purpose in His role as Stumblingblock. It
separates the spiritual men from the fleshly boys,
and the heavenly women from the earthly girls.

May it have its perfect work in our hearts.

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