For the last 2 weeks, we have been discussing the ways in which God moves into the storms and challenges of our lives.
The first, but least often, way that God helps us with our struggles is through direct intervention—He performs a miracle. That was week 1.
Last week, we talked about how God interacts with us to engage in the process of change. He often does this through His family of faith. He uses people in our lives and uses us in the lives of others. Sometimes, we are so busy looking for a miracle that we completely miss the other two ways God shows himself.
Concluding this series on How God Deals with the Storms of Our Lives, we are talking about INNER ACTION. Rather than sending us a miracle or a person of faith to help us through our challenges, God wants us to change our inner lives first.
This is important to understand.
Consider this passage from Philippians 4:4-6:
4 Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! 5 Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. 6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.
Here’s your challenge:
Ask this question: “God, what storm is in my life right now?” If you’re not going to get rid of it, God—teach me, shape me, mold me, build me up and mature me in the midst of this trial. Change me from the inside out to be able to have strength in my impossible circumstances.
Until we talk again, Live Passionately, Give Generously, and Impact the World for God.
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- How God Deals w/ the Storms of Our Lives | Part 1 | Intervention
- How God Deals w/ the Storms of Our Lives | Part 2 | Interaction
- How to Avoid Burnout
- How to Avoid Feeling Overwhelmed
- How NOT to Worry
Hey this is Todd Philips, your online pastor and personal life coach. We’re in the third week of a 3-week video blog series on How God Moves into the Storms and Challenges of Our Lives. In the last two weeks, we talked about the fact that God sometimes intervenes. That means he performs a miracle—he comes in and does the things only He can do.
And then last week, we talked about the idea of interaction. So intervention, and then number 2 is interaction, where He allows us to engage in the process of bringing the solution into the storm. And often He does that through the people of faith—the family, the community of faith, what we might call the Church. He uses people in our lives and uses us in the lives of others.
And unless we understand that, often we miss out on that blessing because we’re so busy looking for the miracle from God that we don’t see Him engaging with us through the people of faith.
Now this week, it really comes down to this week, the most important week out of this 3-week series. And it’s the third way that God works in the midst of the storms of our lives. And if we don’t understand this, it will be a real challenge for us all of our lives. And for some of us, when we hear this today, we’re going to go, “Oh my gosh, I didn’t know that. That changes my perspective. That changes everything about how I understand God.”
And that’s what I pray will happen with many of us today. The third way that God moves into the storms of our life is not through intervention or interaction, but through inner I-N-N-E-R, INNER ACTION.
That’s where He doesn’t change any of the circumstances around us, but He changes us on the inside, right? This is so important and this is the way God moves most often. And unless we understand this, again we’ll find extreme frustration in our lives with God because we don’t see what He’s actually doing in the midst of the storms in our lives. This is where he gives us the strength to live right in the middle of an impossible situation. The change, if you will, the miracle happens in us not in the circumstances around us. It happens on the inside. God doesn’t calm the storm in these situations—He calms us in the midst of the storms. Get that!
The way God moves most often is to change us on the inside without changing the circumstances around us. He molds us and shapes us and matures us through the storms of our life. He doesn’t calm the storm; He calms us in the midst of the storm. He gives us strength in the midst of the trail. You know, according to Clement of Rome, a historian, Paul that we know about in the New Testament, Paul was arrested a total of 7 times for doing the work of God.
Now, we talked about the one time where he was arrested. This was in the first week of this video blog series, where he was arrested and God intervened. He was in prison; God brought an earthquake, performed a miracle, and the chains went off of Paul’s body and the doors flew open in the prison and he walks straight out.
It was a miracle. Now, the second time though in the Bible that we find Paul in prison, it’s a very different story. And I want you to see this—this is such a huge thing. Can you imagine what Paul must have assumed the next time he went to prison?
I mean after all, the first time he went, God hooked him up—took him right out of there. Earthquake, miracle, freedom.
Listen, if I was Paul and I got put in prison the second time, I promise you this, I just know me. I would have gone to prison going “Hey guys [all the other prisoners], you wait to see what’s about to happen.” I would have been fully convinced that God was going to perform another miracle, drop the chains off my feet, the shackles off my feet, open the gates like He did the last time and send me on my merry way. But here’s what’s amazing about this.
The second time Paul’s in prison, that’s not what happens. There is no intervention, there is no miracle. God doesn’t perform the miracle. God leaves Paul in prison.
Now, what’s amazing about this. I’m about to read you a passage that Paul wrote from prison the second time he was in jail. The time where God didn’t perform the miracle. The time where instead of changing the circumstances around Paul, He changed Paul’s heart. He shaped Paul’s heart to be changed in the midst of his circumstances.
Now, you would think it would be after Acts 16 that we talked about before where he gets out of prison. They would write the letter that most theologians call the “Letter of Joy.” Listen to this, so important. He writes the Letter of Joy to the Church in Philippi; it’s called Philippians.
He writes that Letter of Joy while he’s still in prison. Let me tell you the letter I’d write to God if I were in prison: “God, get me out!” That’s my letter! Signed, Todd. That’s what I’d be looking for.
But this is what Paul writes from prison. I want you to hear this. The miracle doesn’t happen, but God clearly changes Paul’s heart; changes Paul from the inside out, and this is what Paul writes from prison. He doesn’t know if he’s ever going to get out.
Listen to this: Paul says, “Rejoice in the Lord always. I’ll say it again, Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything.” Can you believe what he’s saying here? “But in everything, by prayer and petition, submit your request to God and the peace of God that transcends all understanding will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
He wrote that from prison! See the miracle didn’t happen. Paul realized that God works in three different ways and this time God was working through inner action. God was not changing the circumstances, but He was changing Paul from the inside in order to be vibrant and have incredible faith and be strong in the midst of his trials. What an amazing reality! How many times are we praying to God for the miracle, right? How many times do we do that? And yet He’s trying to shape us and mold us from the inside out. He’s trying to strengthen us in the midst of the trials. Many times, the points of our lives where we grow the most, where we mature the most in our faith, are in times of trials, and loss and challenge, the storms of our lives. And I get it! None of us want to go through it.
Listen, sometimes I’m telling God—I’ll admit this. I’m telling God, “Look I’m mature enough, right? I feel enough! I’ve been given enough wisdom and insight. I’m happy enough where I am.” But see, God knows us better than we know ourselves. He’ll allow us to go through the trials we need to go through, to be mature according to the Bible. Mature and complete; not lacking anything.
So, listen, if you’re going through a storm right now; if you have a thorn in your side like Paul did in his life; if you’re going through an illness, or a job challenge, or a marriage challenge, know his: God wants to mold you and shape you. If He has not intervened at this point, there’s a reason He’s allowing you to go through the trial. There’s a redemptive plan in your story. Rest in that.
Here’s my challenge today—when you get done watching this, I want you to just take a moment before you go about the rest of your day and just ask this question: “God, what storm is in my life right now?” I’ve prayed for you to get rid of it, you haven’t. If you’re not going to get rid of it, God—teach me, shape me, mold me, build me up and mature me in the midst of this trial. Change me from the inside out to be able to have strength in my impossible circumstances.
God works in three ways: Intervention, Interaction, and he most often works through Inner Action.
Until we meet again, Live Passionately, Give Generously, and Impact the World for God.
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