“If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him. But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind. For let not that man suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.”
Living in a fallen world isn’t all fun and games. For the most part, people are brutalized by the world, so much so that they’re used to it. They think it’s normal. They’re so used to being let down, or to having well-meaning people make promises they can’t keep or statements they can’t live up to, that coming face to face with a God who’s constitutionally incapable of letting them down is a game changing moment. Our Father is always there for us.
Of course, just because He’s always there for us doesn’t necessarily mean we’re going to be handed exactly what we ask for exactly when we ask for it. Let’s put this in perspective: God isn’t just mysterious, long-lived and all-powerful, like some awesome high-concept alien from Star Trek. He stands outside time and space. He sees things from a wholly different perspective to us, and that perspective saw us coming a long time ago.
That means that resolution of our problem at the present moment isn’t necessarily His concern. The way the world would expect someone all-powerful to deal with a problem isn’t the way He’ll deal with that problem, and isn’t necessarily the way we should expect Him to deal with it. Our focus—our whole point as Christians—is supposed to be in becoming more like Jesus. There’s no caveat in that singular mission statement about the Father fixing all of our woes first: dealing with that relationship crisis, or handling that drama at work before getting down to the nitty gritty of making our lives better.
We’re at a constant advantage in every way you can possibly think of: we have the upper hand in everything important in life. We’re not hogtied by circumstance, and we can look beyond adversity. If life in the world is hopeless, that just illustrates how vital our new hardwiring is. We’re invested in a new life, and a new world, and nothing is hopeless anymore.
Our mission is to focus all of our energy on God’s nature. That has to be our initial working solution and response to every problem that comes our way: we need to place ourselves in the right position to receive God’s blessing and favor. The whole point of God’s plan is that we are no longer supposed to be wasting our time concentrating on persevering in our circumstances. We no longer have to carry on carrying on. Instead, we find ourselves in the unique position of seeking to adopt God’s perspective. We’re in Him, learning how to persist in His nature, rather than trying to persevere in the situation.
The primary purpose of our lives is to become more like Christ: to take on His image. Continuing in that purpose puts us above the circumstance. It’s that simple: and when our will and desire to become like God is greater than our need for resolution of the problem, we’ll have overcome adversity without even acknowledging it. There’s a breathtaking joy to taking a step away from our problems to concentrate on the things that are actually important in life. Nothing infuriates purveyors of negativity more than people for whom negativity is an irrelevance.
But that’s the special part of our lives in Christ. Everything that God is in Himself, everything that Christ is for us, is what sets us apart to be different in the world. God’s nature empowers us. It transforms us. It informs our faith.
We lead with His nature: it’s our not-so-secret weapon, rendered common knowledge because we just can’t stop telling everyone. Galatians 5:22-23 says, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law.” There is nothing that can overcome the nature of God. That’s not simply a measure of strength—nothing exists that can work against His nature. At all times and in all things, our first line of defense in all forms of warfare will be the fruit of the Spirit. His great love provides all of our defining moments and underpins our most profound learning experiences
The fruit of the Spirit is a constant, not a variable. It is a fixed lifestyle we lead, not something cooked up as and when our circumstances demand it. We’re not weekend warriors or Sunday Christians, and the fruit of the Spirit is for life, not just for Christmas. We are faithful to the unchanging nature of God, and that means ensuring that our own natures are unchanging as well. We are predisposed to majesty. When it comes to the mercurial, unreliable quislings of the world around us, our stability must appear threatening…and it is. Of course creatures of negativity are frightened of us. We embody positivity when we embody the nature of God. Our smiles are shields and our outstretched hands, swords, because make no mistake about it: this is a war we’re in, and the single greatest way that any general has ever found to utterly remove an enemy is to make that enemy a friend and ally.
In the fruit of the Spirit, we become empowered to become more like Jesus in inclination, as well as in our character. The more we take on His image, the more we want to: our pursuit of primary purpose becomes exponential, our focus becomes keener, our desire hotter, our joy more unconfined it its expression. In the fruit of the Spirit, we cannot be touched by negativity. Instead, we find ourselves enabled, taking advantage of the circumstances we find ourselves in, always thinking laterally rather than literally, stepping outside, around and away from problems that are placed in our way, eyes fixed firmly upon the prize.
Every circumstance is paired with a fruit of the Spirit. Adversity and trials are linked to joy, while a stressed faith is partnered with patience and trouble and strife finds itself soothed by peace. Evil can only be overcome with goodness; love casts out fear; kindness is a salve against all forms of negativity and gentleness works wonders in situations of sinfulness.
These are all aspects of God’s nature, assigned to aspects of the situations we find ourselves in in life. That means that our primary purpose—becoming more like Jesus—is bound to result in the defeat of the negativity that informs and propels the hardship in our lives. When fear is present within us, God attaches it to perfect love. When we focus directly upon that perfect love, then fear is dealt with as a consequence of that.
We have the divine advantage in every situation imaginable: born into the light, we will always stand facing the shadow. It’s when we realize that the light shines from above us that we see how truly small that shadow is.
If you would like to learn more about the nature of God, don’t miss the interactive journal The Nature of God! This journal is filled with activations and questions to help guide your understanding of the majesty and ways of God. God wants you to be confident in His love for you and confident in who you are in Him. If you need an upgrade in your idea of Who God is, be sure to pick up a copy of The Nature of God!