Several weeks ago I read the following devotional by Oswald Chambers after watching a sermon on the beginning of Romans 2, that basically asks the question who do we think we are? In the next chapter we find the answers.
- “As it is written, ‘There is none righteous, no, not one'” (Rom 3:10)
- “But now the righteousness of God apart from the law is revealed, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets, even the righteousness of God, through faith in Jesus Christ, to all and on all who believe. For there is no difference; for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus” (Rom 3:21-24)
With these truths in mind, that only the Lord can redeem us from our sinfulness and restore us in right standing with Him, let’s ponder how gracious He is to us in our uncertainty because faith comes by hearing God’s Word (Rom 10:17).
Our natural inclination is to be so precise–trying always to forecast accurately what will happen next–that we look upon uncertainty as a bad thing. We think that we must reach some predetermined goal, but that is not the nature of the spiritual life. The nature of the spiritual life is that we are certain in our uncertainty. Consequently, we do not put down roots. Our common sense says, “Well, what if I were in that circumstance?” We cannot presume to see ourselves in any circumstance in which we have never been.
Certainty is the mark of the commonsense life–gracious uncertainty is the mark of the spiritual life. To be certain of God means that we are uncertain in all our ways, not knowing what tomorrow may bring. This is generally expressed with a sigh of sadness, but it should be an expression of breathless expectation.
We are uncertain of the next step, but we are certain of God. As soon as we abandon ourselves to God and do the task He has placed closest to us, He begins to fill our lives with surprises. When we become simply a promoter or a defender of a particular belief, something within us dies. That is not believing God–it is only believing our belief about Him.
Jesus said, “unless you…become as little children” (Matt 18:3). The spiritual life is the life of a child. We are not uncertain of God, just uncertain of what He is going to do next. If our certainty is only in our beliefs, we develop a sense of self-righteousness, become overly critical, and are limited by the view that our beliefs are complete and settled.
But when we have the right relationship with God, life is full of spontaneous, joyful uncertainty and expectancy. Jesus said, “Believe also in Me” (Jn 14:1), not, “Believe certain things about Me”. Leave everything to Him and it will be gloriously and graciously uncertain how He will come in–but you can be certain that He will come. Remain faithful to Him.
I wrote this several weeks ago, and put it away to meditate on. I don’t know what tomorrow will bring or what path the Lord will lay before me, but I know who holds me. I know that God is always with me: “Fear not, for I am with you; Be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, Yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.” (Is 41:10) I know He has plans for me for His glory, and not mine: “And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose” (Rom 8:28). Since I’ve placed my faith and trust in Him, that is enough.