We’re glad you’re here for our weekly chat and we hope you brought a sister or two along to share in the conversation. Do you have your journal and pen? Well, let’s start…
Father God, open our eyes and heart to who You are and who we are before You. Bless us with the spirit of revelation and understanding that we might know You better.
I keep returning to an image I ran across as I prepared for this session early last week. I was looking for some picture that said, “God is God.” But what kept popping up on my screen was a black background and big white letters that read: God Is God and I Am Not. I’ve pondered the statement many times in the last few days. I’ve said it to myself many times and questioned why it seems important. My conclusion—it is easy for me to say “God is God,” but the “I am not” reminds me of my place in this world.
What about you? What comes to mind when you say this statement: God is God, and I am not.
Turn to and read Psalm 8:3-4.
The Message says it like this:
I look up at your macro-skies, dark and enormous,
your handmade sky-jewelry,
Moon and stars mounted in their settings.
Then I look at my micro-self and wonder,
Why do you bother with us?
Why take a second look our way?
Part of believing God is God is recognizing our place in His created world. We must constantly remind ourselves He is God and we are not. He is the Potter, the Painter, the Author… we are the pot, the painting, the book.
Think about something you’ve created or made. How do you evaluate the work you’ve done? If it doesn’t look like what you imagined in your mind what do you do? Do you quit, set it aside for later, trash it and start again?
What does it say about the God we serve that His one and only attempt at creation was perfect?
Most of us create something with an intended use in mind. You might make something for yourself, but many times we put extra thought and time into making something for someone else.
What are some gifts you’ve created?
How did you feel when the one you gave it to understood the meaning, time, and energy you put into it? Would you feel the same way if the minute you gave it to them, they trashed it or broke it?
God knew from the beginning what we do with His creation, and yet He created it for us anyway. He lovingly set about making something He knew we would mess up. Still, it didn’t stop Him from creating it.
What does this tell us about God?
Read these verses revealing God’s heart behind creation.
- Isaiah 43:7
everyone who is called by my name,
whom I created for my glory,
whom I formed and made.” —ESV
According to this verse, why did God create us?
- Ephesians 2:10
For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them. —ESV
What were we created for?
- Genesis 1: 27
So God created man in his own image,
in the image of God he created him;
male and female he created them. —ESV
In whose image are we created?
We were created in His image to bring Him glory and do good works.
Are you happy with how He created you?
What about the things He is forming in you even today? in your spirit? How is He continuing to mold and shape you?
God presses us and molds us through the people and circumstances He places around us.
Behold, I have refined you, but not as silver; I have tried you in the furnace of affliction. —Isaiah 48:10 ESV
Both people and circumstances can bring affliction into our lives. What is your response when He presses you or things feel heated?
God continues to work in us, but there are two things that might slow the process… keep us from believing God is God. The first is the need for control… the second, pride.
Here are two things we need to accept about God:
Our God is in the heavens; he does all that he pleases. —Psalm 115: 3 ESV
The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps.
—Proverbs 16:9 ESV
These Scriptures remind us God is in control. He establishes our steps and does what He pleases.
So let me ask you a tough question? How are you when it comes to control? Are you a control freak? How do you react when your plan doesn’t work out the way you wanted it to?
Just this weekend my daughter and I talked about this very thing. Since about 11th grade she’s had her higher education planned. Last year she faced a bit of a setback when she did not get into the graduate program where she applied. Here we are again this year waiting for a response to her application. She says to me, “I have a bit of a control issue. Well, it is really a belief issue.”
Yep, I’ve been there. I’ve attempted to control my destiny, my spouse, the safety of my children. I’ve fretted and worried. I’ve thrown fits when things didn’t go the way I planned. God must have been amused at times. Just like I was when my toddlers cried, “I do it!” He stepped back and let me try. And just like my toddlers, I came to the end of myself and realized I have no control. None! God is God and He is in control. Period.
Is there a time in your life when you remember thinking, I’ve got a control issue? Do you recognize this as symptom of unbelief?
Not only did I recognize I had a control issue… I had a pride issue. I believe pride is the root of most of my sin. Some years ago God revealed to me my pride, and it was completely gut wrenching. You see, somehow I became arrogant and prideful about my spiritual maturity with someone very close to me. Feeling superior left me judgmental and hard-hearted. It damaged our relationship in many ways. As God revealed my pride, I was undone. I never, no never! want to return to that place!
Let’s look at what God’s Word says about pride.
- Proverbs 11:2
When pride comes, then comes disgrace,
but with the humble is wisdom. —ESV
- Proverbs 16:18
Pride goes before destruction,
and a haughty spirit before a fall. —ESV
What do we learn about pride from these verses?
Is there ever an appropriate place for pride?
Scripture is clear, pride has no place in us.
The world teaches us: become someone to be proud of… take pride in your work. This is very dangerous teaching. Any and all good comes from the One who is good and apart from Him there is no good in us. Our response toward our accomplishments should be the same as the psalmist:
I say to the Lord, “You are my Lord; I have no good apart from you.”
—Psalm 16:2 ESV
When we take credit for what God is doing, think our way is better, or believe our thinking is superior we put ourselves in God’s place. We need a constant reminder… God is God and I am not.
It is a humbling matter to accept we will never fully understand God’s work and plan. It often drives us to a common statement, “When I get to heaven, I’m gonna ask God about _____________.”
How would you fill in the blank? What would you ask? and why?
Part of believing God is God is trusting His wisdom, goodness, grace, and power to take what we see as horrific and use it for good.
We read Job 37:5 this week:
God thunders wondrously with his voice; he does great things that we cannot comprehend.
Has God thundered something difficult in your life and turned it into something great?
For me, He took the illness and death of my mom and used it to capture my heart.
When my mom died my children were three months, two, and just turned five. I grieved because they lost the best grandmother they had and they would not remember her. But in return they got a new mom. It took several years for me to see what He had done. He made the way for my children to be raised His Way and I have seen the great wonder of what He did.
I’m now grateful for the timing and what He did through something that for me, at the time, appeared to be a great loss. But through it He brought a greater gain with eternal significance. And the comfort of knowing we will all spend eternity together.
Let’s take a moment to consider a difficult time in our past or present circumstances. One which seemingly has no good in it. Ask God to open your heart to what He is up to. Ask Him to help you trust Him as good with what you see as bad.
Lord, Your Word tells us Your ways are higher than ours, Your thoughts higher than ours. Open our hearts to what You are doing, help us to trust You and Your power to work all things for good in the lives of those who love You and are called according to Your purpose…
[Spend a few minutes alone or with your sisters in silent prayer.]
Time often reveals God’s plan in hard circumstances, and we can see the beautiful way He uses circumstances for our good. But there are times His way is not revealed… not realized… during a Believer’s lifetime on earth.
Let’s take a look at the end of Hebrews 11.
And all these, though commended through their faith, did not receive what was promised, since God had provided something better for us, that apart from us they should not be made perfect. —Hebrews 11: 39-40 ESV
Not one of the Heroes of Faith in Hebrews 11 realized the promise this side of death. But their faith remained. Take a look at verse 40 again: “…since God had provided something better for us…”
It is a beautiful thing to know, whether we see His plan or not, He has provided something better for us. Oh, what a glorious day that will be when we see Him face to face and realize He is the better! How beautiful it will be when we recognize how He used every single step in our journey to bring us to Him!
Until that day, may we continue to grow in our faith and love for Him.
The next five days of Sister Talk will take us deeper into believing We are All Sinners.
Here’s the link for the We are All Sinners study sheet: Week 3 – Going Deeper.
Have a wonderful week.