1.2.19 Praise & Prayer Prompt: From Characters to People

PRAISE & PRAYER PROMPT ••• Recently, I shared with you that I have changed up my morning devotion time in order to start reading this huge stack of spiritual growth books that I have and never get around to reading.

(Side note – I’m very particular about whose work I’ll read, but moreover, whose work I won’t read.)

It’s seriously not my intent to turn this into a book review every few weeks, but I just finished my second book this morning and I’m so excited by it!

I read “Forgotten God: Reversing Our Tragic Neglect of the Holy Spirit,” by Francis Chan.

The book isn’t new, but it was amazing and it has seriously challenged me.

I hope you will read it too!

As I read the last chapter this morning, one of the points he made really made me stop and think.

He referred to James 5:17a, “Elijah was a man with a nature like ours, and he prayed fervently…”

I think many people look at the men and women of the Bible and relegate them to characters in a book.

I know I’m guilty.

But these people were flesh and blood humans who, as James points out, had “a nature like ours.”

Which means they slept, they ate, they loved, they got scared, annoyed, and like us, experienced a full human spectrum of emotions!

While James focused on the great prophet Elijah, Francis Chan listed other popular names such as David, Peter, Paul, Mary, etc.

Take your pick!

I know in theory that these paragons of Christian faith were people.

But in this case, I think the gift of hindsight is actually a curse.

We have the benefit of knowing what happened next in their lives.

It’s easy to remove the humanity from their faith journeys when we know (through hindsight) the extraordinary way the Holy Spirit moved in their lives.

But they didn’t know it at the time.

That was my ah-ha moment this morning when it occurred to me that Paul, who is one of my favorite people in Scripture, didn’t have a blueprint of how his life was going to go.

And isn’t that we all want?

Francis Chan talked about this too — how we’re all focused on what God’s plan and purpose is for our lives, rather than letting God change us into the people He wants us to be.

Again, raising my hand here (figuratively since I’m typing).

I’ve spent countless hours pondering my “calling,” and in the process, I think I’ve missed the key part.

Our faith journeys don’t come with a map or a GPS.

That’s why they are based on faith.

Like our heroes and heroines of the Bible, who experienced the same human nature’s we have today, we have to surrender to God and trust in the Holy Spirit…

Even when we can’t see around the next bend.

If He came through for them, we can trust that He will come through for us.

Today, as you pray, thank God for the real-life examples of faith that are represented in the Holy Bible.

Ask the Holy Spirit to give you a faith that is willing to trust and lean on Him, even if you don’t know what’s ahead.

Ask Him to make your life a story of faith that others can learn from, just as we learn from those who lived thousands of years ago.

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