Which Do You Prefer – A Practical God or a Good One?

If it seems like a silly question, think of it this way:

Where do you actually place your trust on a daily basis?  Are you inadvertently dividing it between two views of God– one we call “practical reality” and one we call “heavenly truth”? Take a moment to really consider your answer and how it aligns with what you truly believe. What does the evidence of your faith (in the form of daily routines and habits) suggest?

The point here isn’t to argue against the value of practicality, but rather to deeply examine the difference between how we answer the question and how we actually live. Most of us will adamantly agree that God has bound Himself to being “good” not practical – meaning His goodness isn’t merely the better choice, but the only choice worthy of our trust. Yet, we eagerly compromise this agreement the moment it begins to conflict with our daily, personal view of reality.

Which God do we honestly prefer? In the context of putting your faith into practice, consider the following question and how it might look if you had to answer honestly: What would you give up if you knew it would bring one lost person to salvation – a week’s pay, your home, your livelihood? For some it’s a challenging question worth considering. For others it’s merely an impractical waste of thought to be quickly dismissed.

  • Based on the evidence of your faith and its daily reality – where do you stand?
  • What do you truly believe?
  • Are you willing to wrap the remaining chapters of your life’s story in the package your answer presents? 

Before you decide where you stand, or where you’d like to go from there, consider this statement by a writer who once had everything a practical view of God could offer, yet threw it all away, along with his own reality, in order to truly know the God who is always good, and almost never practical.  As a result, he stepped into his true identity and set the world on fire.

“Christ knows and the Holy Spirit knows that it is no mere pretense when I say that I would be willing to be forever damned if that would save you.” Romans 9:3 TLB

Did you catch that last part – the really impractical part where a mortal man is so taken by God’s love that he’s actually willing to forfeit his own soul so others might know it as well? If not, read it again, and let that part sink in to give you a true perspective on the boundaries of faith, compared to the small things we hold back from the very same God.

Perhaps by some rationale, we could argue this as bravado or a moment of unfounded passion, but the key isn’t whether or not God would permit Paul to do such a thing. It’s whether or not he absolutely would, if he could. In other words, he either meant it wholeheartedly, and was utterly willing, or the book of Romans is worthless.

Truth is a powerful thing when it comes to shifting our perspective, but seldom an easy thing to swallow without taking time to chew it slowly and savor every bite. This is the difference between milk and meat – between being being saved and actually following Jesus.

As you reflect on these ideas and how best to begin putting your faith into practice, honestly reconsider the difference between how you currently spend your time (daily routines and habits), and how much of it you actually give to God. Our time is something we claim to have so little of, and yet something we so easily give to practical things (in the name of reality), before or instead of giving it to an impractical God, we equally claim is always good.

Remember, salvation is free, but following Jesus is not. The next step of putting your faith into practice is not by simply agreeing that you should, but by acting on what you truly believe.

So which do you really prefer? Only your daily routines will provide the answer or compose the remaining chapters of your life’s story.


What will your story be for 2017?

As the new year approaches please consider the following questions in your own life, and whether or not you’re honestly satisfied with where you are.

1. Are your serious about growing your faith?
2. Do you believe there is more to life than the comforts of God’s blessings – family, career, church and entertainment?
3. Are you tired of trying to figure out what “more” looks like?
4. Are you ready to fully live out the desires of your heart as God’s expression?
5. Will you be in the exact same place a year from now?

If you’ve answered yes to any of these, and meant it – join us now as we help you truly put this into practice.

 

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4 Responses to Which Do You Prefer – A Practical God or a Good One?

  1. Jenny December 19, 2016 at 9:07 pm #

    Hello
    I want to start by saying I do not want to be in the exact same place next year.
    We have found a wonderful church home, the people are amazing and from day one it felt like home. My girls and I were baptized together a year ago Nov 6th. One daughter has since been confirmed and the other is nearing completion.
    We have helped with many projects to improve the facility with more planned. We attend an intimate small group on Wednesday nights. We have been invited to join committees and anticipate both being on the council board by this February – it’s been a wonderful whirlwind.
    But….yeah here comes the but.
    This has been very time consuming (not complaining) but both with full time jobs it’s a stretch. But that’s not my biggest concern.
    Often I wonder if I’m going through the motions. Physically completing the tasks but still feeling fear, anxiety, and doubt. As if God is not quite consuming my heart. Each Monday I return to work and it’s 5 days of misery. I’m stressed I worry. I can’t sleep.
    So my question- what actions can I take to infuse Jesus into all of my days, all of my hours?

    • Kevin Adams December 20, 2016 at 9:57 am #

      Jenny, thank you so much for sharing what’s on your heart, and the struggle that so many earnest believers have.

      Here’s a couple thoughts to offer some encouragement.

      1.) Work from Rest – not for it:
      God wants us to labor to enter His rest. In other words, He wants us to learn how to completely rest in Him, let out a deep breath, and then only move as He leads. The reason this is called “labor” is because it’s quite difficult to stop, rest and listen when we feel anxiety over the weight of life’s responsibilities. But true obedience begins with rest, not busyness – as seen in the Mary and Martha story. Additionally, think of it this way: God wants us to work from rest, not for rest. Big difference. Under the new covenant, we no longer work for sabbath or “earn our rest”, but work from it with joy, energy and peace. We sit at His feet and listen first, then move forward based on what, or how He instructs and provides. So we embark on the journey from His strength and refreshment, not so we can earn His peace through a host of good deeds. If you struggle with this, remember that Peter did too – when he didn’t want to sit down in rest, and allow Jesus to wash his feet. Instead, he wanted to do the washing because he thought it was his duty to honor Jesus through work instead of rest. But Jesus rebuked him and basically said, unless you sit down and allow Me to serve you, you are not mine. Yes, it seems backwards, but this is God’s way, and we see it throughout scripture.

      2.) Seek only the king and His kingdom, and all the rest will fall into place.
      So often we take this verse to mean we need to put God at the top of our list [“Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be give to you” – Matt 6:33] But if “all” truly means “all” in this verse then what else is there to seek but Him. So it isn’t saying seek him first above all else, but rather, seek Him instead of all else. Once we get this idea in our heart (and feel it) we get overjoyed that all we need to do is seek Him – really seek Him – with our entire hearts, and He will take care of the rest. Sounds like its too good to be true, but its not.

      These two ideas are the key to learning to walk by faith on a daily basis. We must begin each day with Him, alone in a place and mind of rest. In my experience, this should be time (time we often don’t feel like we have) spent in His word – really feeling it, as if you were there, and taking it in. And spend time as well in His stillness, just resting in silence – listening to what He might say about what you studied. Spend time in thanksgiving and worship in your quiet time. If you begin your day with this, as if it were the most important thing in your life, you will grow in wisdom, peace, and joy by leaps and bounds, and your destiny to serve others as God’s expression will begin to unfold.

      Hope this helps, Jenny. If you’d like more, just grab a copy of “learning to feel the word” and jump in the Youprint community. You are the reason we exist. Thanks for being honest as well as devoted to our Lord. You are a blessing to me today! -Kevin

  2. Jenny December 21, 2016 at 9:36 pm #

    Thanks Kevin!
    My book arrived just a few days ago.
    I’ll start it tomorrow.

    In search of quiet time.
    Begin with rest. Seek God first.

    Blessings
    Jenny

  3. Jack December 24, 2016 at 2:39 am #

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