Hunger Games Series Part 2 – Expecting & Receiving From God
This is the second part of the series I’ve entitled Hunger Games. In the intro we talked about contentment and in part one we discussed what it is that can really satisfy us. In this post I’ll be covering expecting and receiving from God.
As a reminder, the hunger system I explained in the series intro revolves around us needing to make use of certain principles in order to produce the life of God in our life. This is the way most people feel they need to live their life in order to experience the life of God as opposed to simply receiving the life of God as a free gift and operating from a position of already having the life of God in you. It makes all the difference in the world in my opinion but because we live in such a performance based society, this type of message is very hard for us to receive. It afflicts the flesh sometimes and not only that, the message of what we should do to obtain certain things in our life makes sense to the carnal mind. If we haven’t been taught otherwise, that is our default mindset. Once we’ve been believing something for a while, it’s hard for us to turn the other way because that means we might’ve been wrong and it hurts our pride to admit that.
I’ve mentioned this before but I was very skeptical when I first starting hearing this message, so it’s ok if that is the way you feel. But just keep asking God about it and if it happens to be the case with you where you find God turning you a different direction, don’t focus on where you might’ve missed it, as we all do at times, but rejoice in the fact that God is revealing the truth to you and setting you free.
I had to humble myself and receive God’s Word about my life just this past weekend. My younger brother got married and even though I was very happy for him, the thought came to my mind about why I’m not married yet. The enemy was trying to get me to start thinking that I need to take that burden on myself. Then I was reminded about the scriptures that say “no good think does God withhold from those who walk uprightly (meaning believe in God)” and “he who find a wife, find a good thing”. So I had a decision to make; was I going to believe the lie that I lacked or was I going to believe in the promise of provision that God has given us? But really it’s not even something I had to consciously decide because when you know God, how He is and how He operates, faith is something that just naturally happens as a result.
Proverbs 13:12 says hope deferred makes the heart sick. In the Message version it words hope deferred as unrelenting disappointment. This is what happens when we are looking to the world to find a good report about our life instead of what God has said and done in Jesus. Greg Henry terms it as defining ourselves by what we have, what we do and what is happening to us. This kind of hope is powerless. We can prove this by seeing the many examples of celebrities who would appear to have everything that the world would say would give them life (money, fame, etc.), yet they are killing themselves. Obviously if they had everything they needed for life, they wouldn’t have a desire to end their life. That type of life is actually not life at all. It’s death. Real life is only found in Jesus. The things of this world become strangely dim in the light of God.
However we define the “good life” (a good report, God’s quality of life, etc.), that is the hope we all have. An understanding of what we have in Jesus will keep our hearts from being sick. If you need a reminder, go back and read my post from last week about “something that really satisfies”. This is where we can get the strength to overcome the shame that Satan tries to plant in our lives and what I think the scripture was referring to when it says “the joy of the Lord is our strength”(Nehemiah 8:10). I knew of that verse for a long time before I really started to understand what it meant. I used to think, how can joy equal strength? What does that have anything to do with it? I was defining strength physically as opposed to the power to overcome Satan.
See when you know God and what He thinks of you that supplies you with the ability to stomp on anything that the enemy tries to throw your way to bring you down. Whether that be thoughts about bad things you’ve done, good things you haven’t done, things you don’t physically have yet but wish you did, sickness, disease, poverty or any other bad thing that might happen to you that Satan tries to get you to define yourself by. All that stuff will roll right off you when you know what God says about you. You’ll be able to sniff the devil out from miles away. You can then laugh when he tries to get you to believe lies because you know the truth and you won’t put up with thinking of yourself any other way than the way God thinks of you.
I think 2 Peter 1: 2-4 sums up what I’m saying pretty well:
“To those who through the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ have received a faith as precious as ours:
2 Grace and peace be yours in abundance through the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord.
3 His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. 4 Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature, having escaped the corruption in the world caused by evil desires.” NIVHope deferred makes the heart sick, but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life. Prov. 13:12 NIV. Click To Tweet The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing. Psalm 23:1 NIV. Click To Tweet
A Confident Expectation
Since we’re talking about hope, I think it’s important to give a Biblical definition of it, which is very different from what I believed hope was for most of my life. As Greg Henry helped me understand, Biblical hope is a confident expectation that what you have always desired to be true in your life, already is true. It’s not begging and wishing. It’s a certainty of the glory (view and opinion) of God being revealed in those that believe in the return of Jesus. This confident expectation produces the joy I talked about in the section above
Greg also gave a really good example of what Biblical hope can be likened to. He compared it to buying a lottery ticket. Your dream is that you would win the jackpot. When they read the numbers and they read your numbers, you will feel joy because you know you won. Your dream will have come to pass when they read the numbers. There will be some time between when you win and you get the money in your hands. In that time, you will have a confident expectation that you will receive your reward. That is what Biblical hope is like.
The thing that is really cool about Biblical hope is that not only can you have a confident expectation of the life you will have with God, but you can also have a confident expectation that God is the one who will bring it forth for you. A righteous person (one who believes in God) expects blessing and understands the blessings are theirs. They have what you could call Godfidence that God is well pleased with them and that He is well able to provide for them all they need in abundance.
Once you have this confident expectation from knowing about God and the way He operates, you will be in a position to receive from God. Again this isn’t something you need to make a conscious decision about…it just happens when you hear about the goodness of God. Your hand begins to open so that God can put what He has for you in it, as opposed to you having your fist clenched because you are trying to do things in your own ability. The life of God not manifesting in your life is never because God does not desire for you to have it. It’s never because He has ceased from giving to you…it’s just that you are not receiving. To help persuade your heart a little more, here is some more information and scriptures about receiving from God:
– I would like to learn just one thing from you: Did you receive the Spirit by the works of the law,or by believing what you heard? 3 Are you so foolish? After beginning by means of the Spirit, are you now trying to finish by means of the flesh? Galatians 3:2-3 NIV.
– Many Christians are led to believe that we receive salvation as a free gift, but then everything else in the Christian life is about what we have to do. The scripture above would say otherwise.
– How does fruit grow? Does it toil? No, it receives all it’s nutrients from the root. See Matthew Chapter 6.
– Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly… Colossians 3:16 NIV. The key word there is let.
– Speaking of letting, let grace reign through righteousness (Rom. 5:21). If you reverse engineer this scripture it’s saying then when you receive the righteousness that God wants to give you, it allows the grace of God to reign in your life. Jesus makes up the difference between what you may think you deserve and what God wants to give you.
– And of his fulness have all we received, and grace for grace. John 1:16 KJV.
– We all live off his generous bounty, gift after gift after gift. We got the basics from Moses,
and then this exuberant giving and receiving,This endless knowing and understanding- all this came through Jesus, the Messiah. John 1:16 Message Version.
Examples of Receiving In The Bible
God has recently shown me a few examples of Him talking about how He will make us like Him. This speaks of receiving from God and allowing Him to mold us rather than us trying to create our own life. Here are some places in scripture that talk about this topic:
– “And Jesus said unto them, Come ye after me, and I will make you to become fishers of men.” Mark 1:17 KJV.
– “I will make you into a great nation, and I will bless you; I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing.” Genesis 12:2 NIV.
– “I will look on you with favor and make you fruitful and increase your numbers, and I will keep my covenant with you.” Leviticus 26:9 NIV.
– “The blessing of the LORD brings wealth, without painful toil for it.” Proverbs 10:22 NIV.
I hope this blog has challenged you a bit about your expectations and how God does things. I know I have a tendency to be on cruise control sometimes. It’s so important for us to know that although it may not look like it sometimes, there is something being done about the situations you face in your life. This will give you a confident expectation and allow you to exhale. I would encourage you to be honest with yourself about what you are expecting. It’s very easy for us to get talked into settling for less with all the negativity around us. Keep positioning yourself to receive from God by sitting at His feet, communicating with Him, listening to good grace teaching, etc. This will focus your thoughts on the goodness of God which is what will lead you to repent and go the other direction in any areas that may need a change. Rememeber, if you need to change directions, it’s ok. There is no need to condemn yourself and be mad about it. Just keep moving forward with God with a confident expectation of the life God wants you to have and is able to give you. Thanks for stopping by.
For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Jer. 29:11 NIV.Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore get wisdom: & with all thy getting get understanding. Prov. 4:7. Click To Tweet