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Our Distinct Advantage

September 28, 2017

“The LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9

Have you ever felt that if God were to show up today as often as He did in the lives of the people in Bible times, you too could be a spiritual hero? It’s easy to think that people like Abraham, Moses, Paul, and others had a distinct edge because God showed up in spectacular ways to talk with and tell them exactly what to do. We think that if Jesus would just appear and give us the lowdown on life face-to-face, we could all be the smashing success for Him that we always wanted to be.

But it’s not just the people of the Bible who leave us thinking that we must be second-rate Christians. All you have to do is go to a prayer meeting where someone gives a glowing report on the way in which God dramatically answered their prayer, while your prayer list remains full of unanswered prayers. Let’s face it. It’s easy to grow discouraged and sometimes even disillusioned with our less-than-spectacular Christianity. And when that happens, our walk with Christ becomes ritualistic and unenthusiastic.

But before you get depressed, it’s possible that your expectations and perspectives are out of whack. When we think that all Bible people had it good, we should note that God “showed up” in Abraham’s life only about once every 15 years! Abraham had no Bible, no small-group fellowship, and no exhilarating worship experiences, yet his steadfast faith is celebrated in Hebrews 11:8-19. And even though Joseph was unrelentingly faithful to God against great odds, for many years God didn’t “show up” to rescue him from his plight. Yet he hung in there because he knew that “the Lord was with him” (Genesis 39:21). Paul had only two direct encounters with Jesus. You can count on it, the rest of their lives were pretty ordinary, a lot like yours and mine.

It’s easy to think that Joshua and God’s people in the Old Testament were unusually blessed because God promised to be with them (Deuteronomy 31:6-8; Joshua 1:9). But we shouldn’t lose sight of the fact that the same promise is given to us in the New Testament (Hebrews 13:5). Jesus Himself promised that He would not leave us as “orphans” but would send the Holy Spirit to be in us and with us (John 14:16-18). In fact, if anybody has an edge, we do! God dwells within us in the person of the Holy Spirit to convict, comfort, guide, and encourage. His 24/7 presence is waiting to be tapped and used no matter where we are or what we are facing. We have the full revelation of Scripture that the Holy Spirit uses to teach and direct our lives. No Bible hero had the privilege of having a Book that could be carried, read, memorized, and used in transforming ways to tell them everything they needed to know about God and themselves—but you and I do!

You may still be saying, “Yeah, but God hasn’t done anything for me lately!” If so, remember that if He does nothing more than save us from sin, cancel hell, and guarantee heaven, He has already done far more than we deserve and enough to keep us happily praising Him for the rest of our lives!

Now’s a good time to start rejoicing. You’ve been blessed with all you need for growth and glory! Tap the resource.

YOUR JOURNEY…

  • Have you ever felt abandoned by God, or cheated because of a lack of “spectacular” events in your life? Take a moment to ask God to forgive you and to gratefully thank Him for the riches He has by grace given you.
  • Since you have the advantage of the Holy Spirit and the Bible, what can you do to be more sensitive to the voice of the Spirit and the life-changing input of God’s Word?
  • Think of a situation you will face or have faced today in which you can use your spiritual advantage to make a difference. Be specific, and then follow through.
  • If God never seems to do anything spectacular for you, is He still worthy of your undiminished love and enthusiastic loyalty? Why or why not?