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Gut vs. God

The battle between the ramen in your stomach versus the roar of God’s spirit. We totally talk about ramen today.

jakob-owens-152230

The Process™ is hard? I know.

If you feel like you’re in the wilderness right now, this blog is for you.

I have met a lot of young people in my life as a youth leader.

And over 99% (totally a scientific fact) of young people I’ve met, don’t exactly know what they want to do in their life.

Many of them tell me, “Oh, I want to do this . . . I want to record an album, I want to write a book, I want to travel, I want to etc.” but I have rarely seen any of them do anything else but tweet about how their crush doesn’t like them back on Twitter.

I’m not bashing anyone, okay? You’re not a lesser person if you feel like you have yet to accomplish something in your life.

But can I be real for a second? I really want to help yo, so hear me out . . .

I’ve noticed there’s a difference between young people who only dream, vs. those who actually do.

Those who just dream only do things when they feel like doing it.

But man, you’re selling yourself short whenever you do that. Because if you only move when you feel like moving, then you will probably never move. 

Doing things only when you feel like it will not work.

Humour me here okay? What if . . . I felt a certain way and I was “led” to do it?

If I chose to eat ramen whenever I felt led to eat it . . . I’d probably die from heart disease.

If I chose to write these blogs whenever I felt led to write it  . . . I’d probably write once a year.

If I chose to go to the gym whenever I felt led to do it . . . I’d probably not go at all.

Here’s a good one, what would happen if you went to school only when you felt led to do so?

Right, that wouldn’t work.

Now here’s something I don’t get . . . why do many of us make our decisions based on how we feel?

I mean c’mon, we know that the important things beyond our control like going to school are not up to our feelings . . .

But how come the other important things, the ones left for us to decide upon, we leave to our feelings?

“I’ll write another chapter after I do my ‘research’ (meaning stalking my crush)”

“I’ll start writing this song when the inspiration comes to me”

“I’ll review this section after dinner (and an episode or two or three of Goblin AND then i’ll start when it’s like 10pm, o dang it’s 10:01 i’ll start at 11pm instead)”

I mean, you want these things in your life right? You want to write your first book? You want to make that fire mixtape?  You want to graduate?

You have to do it even if you don’t feel like doing it!

But I haven’t even gotten to the good part yet.

How come — and read this carefully:

WHY IS IT THAT WE TEND TO FOLLOW GOD ONLY WHEN WE FEEL LIKE FOLLOWING HIM?

Man. We’re separated by the glare of your device’s screen, so I can’t see your guilty face that probably reads “Dang, I shouldn’t have opened Bene’s blog today.”

But I’m gonna be honest with you, I’m grinning because I know I am very guilty of this.

This my area of expertise. I am very guilty of following God only when it comes easy.

It’s so easy to tweet “Spirit, lead me where my trust is without borders ✝😍🙏” when everything is going right and God is good, hallelujah praise His name, Amen . . .

But when God doesn’t seem so good . . . when the situation doesn’t feel so great can you still trust in Him? Suddenly, it feels inconvenient to follow God, and many times we simply choose not to.

How fast are you to stop acting like a Christian when it’s not convenient?

I have to be real with you because I care about you.

Maybe, just, maybe, the struggle you’re going through is actually the solution to where you need to go. But the only way for the struggle to transform into a solution is if you let God’s spirit lead you.

Don’t get me wrong: I’m not here to critiscise your ways, no, what you do is up to you. But if you let me, I’d like to change your perspective.

Listen to me, if you’re in a wilderness right now, you need to stop being led by your feelings and start being led by the Spirit.

But what does being “led by the Spirit” mean?

It says in Psalm 23:6, “Though I walk through the darkest valley, I fear no evil.”

It doesn’t say “Naw, God doesn’t make us go through the darkest valley.”

God’s promise is not to get us out easy, but to get us through it entirely.

Yup. With His rod and His staff comforting and guiding us, God will lead our very steps.

It may not make sense, because we don’t see like God. We only see paths, but God doesn’t just see paths, He makes paths.

That’s why we can’t just go with our gut. We have to go with our God. If we don’t, we won’t be able to find the right path, and we’ll end up being stuck.

Man, I’m so grateful God leads.

Many of my friends know I have no sense of direction, whatsoever. You know, there was this one time, I was in BF . . . and I forgot the way going back home. Take note, I’ve lived near BF for all 17 years of my life. And if you haven’t gone to BF, well, BF only goes in two directions.

I know my physical sense of direction is not great. What more is my sense of direction for my life? I can’t tell the future, I can only make wild guesses at it. That’s why I’m so thankful that the path is not up to me, it’s God who makes the path.

But sometimes, God has to lead us through the darkest valley. And it’s gonna suck, unless you remember that God is leading us through.

It’s so funny, if you read the verse before that in Psalm 23:6, it says “He guides me along the right paths for his name’s sake.”

He guides me along the right paths . . . and then kaboom, what’s this mentioning of a darkest valley?

Sometimes, when God guides us to the right path, it’s through the darkest valley. God will show you that He can get you to the right path even if it means carving through the Darkest Valley. Man, that’s something.

To illustrate my point, here’s a  perfect example:

Let’s look at the Israelites’ story in the wilderness (here we go again).

Remember how God took them out of slavery? God was in the Process of leading them out of Egypt into the Promised Land.

But for some reason, they didn’t want to go where God was sending them to go.

They had crossed the Red Sea, they had escaped the Egyptian army, they had been freed from hundred of years of captivity . . . and now they wanted out.

When you get to the Process towards the Promise, well the Predictability of the Past looks pretty good.

The wilderness was ROUGH. It was uncomfortable and uncertain.

But how can we put our confidence in God when we are held back by the certainty of ourselves?

God sometimes has to bring you the long way, so you can learn along the way.

And so in Numbers 15, it says:

15 On the day the Tabernacle was set up, the cloud covered it. But from evening until morning the cloud over the Tabernacle looked like a pillar of fire. 16 This was the regular pattern—at night the cloud that covered the Tabernacle had the appearance of fire. 17 Whenever the cloud lifted from over the sacred tent, the people of Israel would break camp and follow it. And wherever the cloud settled, the people of Israel would set up camp. 18 In this way, they traveled and camped at the Lord’s command wherever he told them to go. Then they remained in their camp as long as the cloud stayed over the Tabernacle.

God setup a guide for the Israelites . . . he gave them a cloud leading them through the wilderness. Sometimes, the cloud would go, so they would pack up and go. Sometimes the cloud would stay, so they made camp and stayed. The cloud was leading them through the wilderness. But read the next verse:

19 If the cloud remained over the Tabernacle for a long time, the Israelites stayed and performed their duty to the Lord. 20 Sometimes the cloud would stay over the Tabernacle for only a few days, so the people would stay for only a few days, as the Lord commanded. Then at the Lord’s command they would break camp and move on. 21 Sometimes the cloud stayed only overnight and lifted the next morning. But day or night, when the cloud lifted, the people broke camp and moved on. 22 Whether the cloud stayed above the Tabernacle for two days, a month, or a year, the people of Israel stayed in camp and did not move on. But as soon as it lifted, they broke camp and moved on. 23 So they camped or traveled at the Lord’s command, and they did whatever the Lord told them through Moses.

Wow. Well, I think you’re getting what I’m trying to say here.

“They were doing what God was commanding them to do, right. I know Bene, I need to do what God’s commanding me. I get it.”

But we don’t get it always!

Because we need to follow God, not our feelings. No matter the situation.

You see, sometimes, the cloud stayed for a day. Right when they just setup and started to relax, God says move. And so they had to move.

And remember, The Israelites population was numbered in the millions. That’s a lot of tents and families and obligations and responsibilities and priorities that had to move.

I bet you that each time, more than one Israelite probably wasn’t feeling it when the cloud started moving.  Sometimes, the cloud stayed for YEARS. Imagine, having to live in the middle of wilderness for decades. Until finally, the cloud lifts, and they move again.

I bet you that each time they had to move or stay, it was inconvenient. It was inconvenient to be uncertain. But it is only when you are uncertain when you find your confidence in Christ.

Are you in the wilderness right now? Well listen to me, God is working in your wilderness right now, and leading you where you need to go.

And it may seem so confusing because we can’t understand God’s timing. The reason why the cloud of the Israelites didn’t move 7pm every Tuesday night, was  deliberate.

God didn’t want them to rely on a system, He wanted to teach them to rely on the Source.

If you want to learn how to trust in God, you better put your trust in Him alone.

Maybe God just asked you to do something so difficult, and He’s asking you to do it again. Maybe you feel stuck in the middle of nowhere and you’re waiting for God to move. Maybe you’re just so lost right now in the wilderness of your heart.

I don’t know what exactly you’re going through, but I do know God will lead you through it.

As the Spirit moves, you move, and as the Spirit stays, you stay.

He will guide you, but you need to listen to Him.

I’m going to end today’s blog with this:

It wasn’t said in the text, but it was definitely implied . . .

If you read your Bible, you’d know that The Israelites weren’t really going anywhere.

That’s right. They were wandering around the wilderness for 40 years.

God wasn’t moving the Israelites because they had to get somewhere. In fact, He was providing for them everywhere they went. No, it wasn’t about the location.

It wasn’t about the where . . . it was about the WHO.

I don’t need to know where I’m going if I know Who is going with me!

I don’t need to see the steps ahead when God defines my steps and carves them in front me.

I don’t need to wait for God to explain what He’s doing because I know He’s unfolding it before my eyes.

It’s difficult, especially when you’re in the wilderness and everything is uncertain. But . . . I will go so far to say that God will use your confusion to bring you to your calling.

So before you go on with your life, hop on Facebook and do what you’re going to do for the rest of the day, know this.

Take courage. Because God is going to lead you through. Even if it feels scary and uncomfortable and impossible.

By His Spirit, he is with you.

Here the last few verses of Psalm 23:

6  Surely your goodness and unfailing love will pursue me
    all the days of my life,
and I will live in the house of the Lord
    forever.

God’s goodness and unfailing love, HIS SPIRIT, is pursuing you all the days of your life.

So WHO are you gonna follow? Your gut, or your God?


PS. I want to invest my life into your life. I look at every comment, every message, and I want you to know that I’m here for you. You can always message me on social media, @benesanchez on twitter or @bene.sanchez on IG. Praying for you always.

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