When we look at roses being embroidered on clothing or linen, we would always see it portrayed with the flowers and the leaves while the thorns are omitted. It looks so much more beautiful without the thorns sticking out right?
Often this is the way we treat our spiritual walk as well…
God does obviously fulfill His promises given in the spiritual no matter what we see in the natural. People just love prophecies that talk about promises, fulfillment, lack of struggle, comfort, things handed on a silver platter.. Yet when the words of Jesus along with other Scriptures from the Bible on suffering or sacrifice are mentioned, people ignore them.
I’m amazed at how many Christians (not believers as believers will believe in HIS Sovereignty not trust in the meager work of our hands), react negatively to my walk of faith.. People who believe in prosperity as children of the King of Kings, don’t believe in suffering and (unintentionally perhaps I agree) they reject certain words of Scripture. In the process they overlook the work of Jesus
Jesus left HIS comfort zone in heaven to live on earth…. 33 years of life with 3 years of public ministry (I’m not sure if I have the figures right but hey, you get the drift of it!). I’m using the word public ministry as Jesus being someone in close relationship with the Father, being one with the Father would have been ministering to people just by being Him obviously! Even Jesus being one with the Father had His time of ‘being hidden’ on earth so to speak before coming to the ‘limelight’ . This limelight was a bed of roses with thorns indeed!
The Bible clearly records Jesus stating that the Son of Man has no place to lay His head even though foxes have holes. Just imagine going back in time, plodding around from place to place in the scorching sun, up the mountains, through the valleys, no roads, no vehicles let alone no electricity and technology. How often would ‘inns’ be placed? That’s the setting in which Jesus moved about. He also clearly tells us to deny ourselves and take up our cross. Yes He gives the provision for the visions in His time and in His way – remember God feeding the Israelites with manna and quail, whom GOD led through the wilderness. He gave water from the ROCK! Remember, God feeding Elijah through the ravens, and from that last bit of oil that belonged to the widow. Remember, Jesus feeding the multitudes by multiplying left over fish and bread…
Jesus promises us that if we seek God’s Kingdom and Righteousness FIRST, He will meet all our needs. He provided food to those who ‘listened to Him teach, physical food was given after spiritual food was taken in… Those who turn to God and seek Him first – their needs will be met as opposed to acts of charity (without the spiritual food first) which is a temporary measure.
So many Christians turn to God for abundance but have no relationship with God. Jesus asked the rich man to sell all His belongings and follow Him . He also stated, “where your treasure is where your heart is.. ” and that no man can have two masters. Of course, He also tells us that whoever gives up what they have for God’s Kingdom, then in this age whatever they gave up they will be blessed in multiples in this same age but along with that would come persecution.
Any abundance in our provision isn’t for us to build our castles but to bless us as well as others through us. Paul writes to the one who has been stealing to stop doing so but instead work with his own hands so that he may have something to share with his brethren (family of God). Each part of the family of God has a role to play – for one it is to ‘give’ and that person is called to give abundantly to those in the family who are in need, and to who isn’t called to ‘work’ for earthly treasure but is called to ‘work’ for heavenly treasure, for God’s Kingdom work… Unfortunately many Christians consider the word ‘work’ as income generating and anything else isn’t ‘work’.
A number of people run to God for healing, claiming good health. Paul tells us:
do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day – 2 Corinthians 4:16
Different versions translate this as outer man is perishing, decaying, getting weaker,.. etc. Our bodies aren’t meant to live forever, there is an end to that.. but our inward spirit and soul is renewed as we deepen in intimacy with our Father. That doesn’t mean He doesn’t heal.. He does obviously! But there are often times He doesn’t heal as there is a purpose through it. Paul cried out to God to remove the thorn in his flesh. In the context of Bible times and in that setting, thorn bushes were prevalent. Lack of technology meant that they couldn’t see the thorns that get itself deeply lodged into the flesh and hence ‘surgically’ couldn’t be removed. Yet God responds to Paul, that His grace is sufficient for him. A time, a purpose, a way – God ordains.
God wants us to worship in spirit AND in truth.. We are led by the Holy Spirit and we are guided by God’s Word as truth, in context of the entirety of the Word.
There are thorns in our spiritual walk doubtlessly but the beauty and the fragrance of the roses overshadow the thorns making it a joyful experience REGARDLESS of the thorns… We shift our gaze from the thorns to the roses, not denying the presence of the thorns, nor pretending that the thorns don’t exist, but accepting it full well… Peter conquered his ‘walk’ on the water in the midst of the STORMS as his gaze was fixed on Jesus not the walk.
In wanting the storms out, and wanting no sacrifice from our end, and wanting it all to be hunky dory, we aren’t surrendering to God but we are dictating terms to God. (Of course we do need to discern – which we will when we are indeed led by the Spirit – which ‘thorn’ is from the enemy and our own flesh and which is what He permits for a reason!). He knows what we need when we need how we need it, and He will do it as He deems fit to fulfill His plan in us and through us…
God’s children are those who are led by the Holy Spirit even in how we pray. Jesus sets the example to us spending much time at the feet of God and surrendering His will but asking God for God’s Will to take place.
What drives you to run to God – is it intimacy with Him to soak in His love and presence and for His will to be done, or is it for what you can get and what you want for your life to be a bed of roses without thorns?