Christian Living

What If You Really Believed God Is With You?

Jemar Tisby

What if you really believed God is with you?  What couldn’t you do? What would you fear to attempt for His glory?

Called, But Not Courageous

I’m an admitted dreamer. An idealist.  I have a million ideas for how to make the world a better place, and I’m even convinced a few of them will work.  But I often hesitate to act on my aspirations because I don’t feel adequate to make an impact.  Yet I wonder, “Is this right? Am I believing the promises of God? Am I acting out of faith or out of fear?”

But the promise God gives to His children when He commissions them is that He will be with them.  What if you and I really believed that?

Lessons from the Bible

Many giants of the faith in the Bible struggled with a fear of their calling.  Think of Moses. When God appears to him in the midst of the burning bush and commands him to lead the Hebrews out of captivity in Egypt, how does Moses respond? “But Moses said to God, ‘Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh and bring the children of Israel out of Egypt” (Ex. 3:11).

Think of Moses’ successor, Joshua.  When Moses dies and God commands Joshua to lead His people into the Promised Land, Yahweh has to remind His messenger three times to be strong and courageous (Josh. 1:1-9).

And what about Gideon?  When God calls him to free Israel from the hand of the Midianites what does Gideon say? “Please, Lord, how can I save Israel? Behold, my clan is the weakest in Manasseh, and I am the least in my father’s house” (Jdg. 6:11).

Yet when God’s people react with fear He reassures them by pledging His presence (Ex. 3:12; Josh. 1:9; Jdg. 6:16).  ”I will be with you” is God’s promise that gives us the strength to proceed.

A Fear We All Face

Many of us today sense a calling to a mission that seems far beyond our abilities.  And in truth, every divine calling is beyond the capabilities of the humans who are called to fulfill it.  God’s kingdom-building mission on earth can only be accomplished in the power of His Spirit.

But even though we have the promise of God’s Spirit we think, “Who am I? How could I possibly do what God is telling me to do?” In those times of doubt, when the Enemy and our own consciences accuse us, we must run back to the Gospel.

An Even Better Promise

Remember that God gives us an even better promise than the Old Testament men and women received. Through Christ He has given us the Holy Spirit.

“And I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper, to be with you forever, even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him.  You  know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you” (Jn. 14:16-17).

God is not only with us, but in us. The same Holy Spirit who enabled Christ to set hearts ablaze with the Gospel of forgiveness is at work within us.  The same Spirit that empowered David and Solomon to rule enables us to live as men and women after God’s own heart.  The same Spirit who inspired the words of Scripture is living and active in us.

It is our failure to believe God is with us that leads us to timidity and inaction. By believing God is indeed with us–the Immanuel Principle–we find the power to struggle with all of His might for Hisglory, and His kingdom.

What If You Really Believed?  

What if you really believed God’s promise of His presence?  What if you really believed His assurance that He is with you and in you?  What couldn’t you do?  Are you shrinking back from God’s calling?

Ask Him for the faith to believe our Savior’s words, “And behold, I am with you always, to end of the age” (Mt. 28:20).

Discussion Question: What are you feeling called to right now?  What’s stopping you?  How can the promise of God’s presence reassure you?

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