Trusting God With Our Whole Life

Remember when Jesus said, “You have heard that it was said to the people long ago….but I tell you….”  Well, through the years I have pondered certain scriptures with the intent of finding out if the interpretation I had heard most of my life was indeed truth.  Many of these findings I have already addressed here on the blog, but a few more are coming to mind this morning.  I would like to preface these by saying somewhat like Jesus did, ‘You have heard from the workers and friends for years that a portion of scripture means this, but I have found that it means…’

One of them is:

This matter of not to bothering God with mundane details of our life; they don’t need to be prayed for or about because “we are not to bother God with such things and we have brains, after all” or “we don’t pray about ‘natural’ things; only spiritual things”.

In Mark 5:35-36 it says the disciples did not want these men bothering Jesus.  Jesus ignored what they said and said instead, “Don’t be afraid, just believe.”

We are not bothering Him!  What a relief and what a comfort.

We were also taught to not take Philippians 4:6-7 literally.

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”

Anxiety…have you ever brought your anxiety to God?  Anything you were anxious about?  Anything you were afraid of….great or small? Or did we tell ourselves, ‘I just can’t help but be anxious about this. Who wouldn’t be?’ Or are we in denial about our anxiety? ‘I’m not anxious!’ But our stomach is in knots and we don’t feel good physically, we lie awake at night worrying or obsessing about something.  We eat too much or drink too much to numb our anxiety.  We zone out with TV or a book, or we throw ourselves into work; whether at home or on the job. (I am not saying that every time we throw ourselves into our work it is because of untreated anxiety.) We bite our fingernails or we’re full of nervous energy that is driving everyone around us crazy.  Or, we talk and talk and talk to others about whatever is making us anxious instead of getting away somewhere and talking to God about it.

Here’s the deal.  For those who hold tightly to the belief that we are not to pray about the ‘natural’ parts of our lives because……because why? Or because what?  What are you hearing yourself say as you finish that sentence? Ask yourself this, why couldn’t I pray about everything? What would happen if I did?  We’ve already looked at the situation where it was assumed that it was a bother to Jesus and He made it clear that it wasn’t AT ALL.  Is it because we don’t want to admit we need help? Is it because we somehow see it as a weakness in ourselves as if we have failed somehow already?  Do we feel foolish or awkward asking God for help? When we need it?

Bottom line:  He truly does not want us to live with anxiety on any level because He knows it is not good for us physically, emotionally and spiritually.  He deeply cares about all three of those parts of our being because he created them all.  So, if the fact that you can’t find your keys or your cell phone or your wedding ring and it is causing you to be late somewhere you need to be or you need to make a call right now….you are anxious.  And the Bible says to pray about that!  Pray to find the keys, the phone, and the ring.  If you are anxious about what is on your schedule for the day, talk to God about it.  The list goes on and on.

I can already hear some of you dismissing this thought entirely because that is what you have been taught to do.  But was what you were taught according to the Scripture?  Or were traditions of men being taught as doctrine?

A verse comes to mind along this line.  John 3:12

Jesus said, “I have spoken to you of earthly things and you do not believe; how then will you believe if I speak of heavenly things?”

Jesus had spoken to them about earthly things!  “Oh, Lord, help us believe You in the here and now of our lives and not just believe you in the things concerning heaven.  You are God of heaven and earth.” (Prayer quoted from Praying God’s Word; Breaking Free From Spiritual Strongholds by Beth Moore.)  I truly believe this is an area of unbelief.

I also see another big issue here:  By listening to the teaching that we aren’t supposed to bother God with our ‘natural’ lives but only our spiritual lives, we were, in reality declaring how little faith we had in God.  We didn’t believe He would care or get involved.  Jesus said once that he couldn’t do many miracles because he saw little faith. (Matthew 13:58)  Do we want to hinder His works on our behalf over a lack of faith in Him? I have seen and recognized these last year’s how truly little faith I really did have.  I wasn’t relying on Him for hardly anything.

An incident comes to mind that happened sometime during the last 10 years or so.  I was at a wedding reception of a young professing couple and was visiting with a woman and asking her about her ill mother.  She said, “I know I’m not supposed to, but I have prayed that God would heal her.”  She was clearly nervous about admitting that and my heart ached for her of course.  I assured it was exactly the thing to do.  In fact, the church could all be praying for her mother.  She thought it would bother God and that it wasn’t something she was supposed to talk to Him about.  It was her own precious mother!!  And we think God doesn’t care??  Oh dear!!  He cares more than we will ever comprehend.  Oh, my friends, these types of things are burdens in life we were never meant to carry alone.

I think somewhere along the way many of us thought we were growing and going in the right direction if we could show God and others how well we were doing in life.  How well we were keeping it all together.  The smart choices we could make.  The ability to live good, clean lives.  To keep ourselves out of trouble and to have a good reputation and testimony. To keep clean houses and drive nice cars. We were showing God how good we were doing on our own because we believed we were on our own and because we wanted to please Him and we hoped that He would nod His approval our way now and then.  We made sure we prayed morning and evening, read our Bibles and attended every scheduled meeting.  We were showing God our lives but not involving God in our lives. We wanted Him to be a spectator of our lives from afar.  We made sure we were doing enough; that was our constant motivator.

I wish I could find the words to convey how much our heavenly Father, our Abba Father, our truest Friend, our Creator, the Giver of Good Gifts, wants and longs to be involved in ALL parts of our lives.  He lives within us as well as everywhere else at all times.  He created us and knew us while we were still being formed in the womb.  He has done everything possible to show us how much he loves us and is close to us.  He has not sent us off to boarding school and only checks in with us every few weeks or months.  He wants to hear from us often throughout our day because He wants to listen, to help, comfort, guide, and give us power and wisdom, strength, grace, words, peace, joy, love and acceptance.

One last thing:  I’ve said this before but many years ago it was clear to me that the less I prayed about things, the fewer answers I had from God about things.  And if I prayed generically, I received generic answers but the more specifically and detailed I prayed about something, the more specific and detailed answers I found from God.  Once I got that clear, it has changed everything for me.  Also, I mentioned at the beginning of this post about how we were taught to only pray about the spiritual part of our lives.  What does that mean?  We are ALL spiritual because one area affects the other area hugely.  They cannot be separated and once I settled that, it also just opened up doors of understanding and thankfulness as never before.  God sees us as a whole complete person; He isn’t compartmentalizing us and only seeing or caring about our ‘spiritual’ part. Praise Him for that!

I didn’t know when I started writing about this one subject that it would turn out to be so lengthy so obviously, I will have to address other verses later.   Let me know your thoughts.  I love hearing from you!

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10 thoughts on “Trusting God With Our Whole Life

  1. Another great post! Our pastor’s message this morning was ” Stop Worrying and Start Trusting”. “Worry does not empty tomorrow of its sorrow, it empties today of its strength”. It was a very helpful and realistic message that we needed to hear. It has been tough the last few months as I have been unemployed since last March. Every time Lynn or I have really been down and worried, God has helped us feel encouraged.

    It really felt awkward to pray about things like this while in meetings. What a joy to share our trials with God and feel his comfort wash over us.

    I believe that the workers’ attitude about natural things goes back to a founding principle of the workers from Matthew 6:33 (NIV), “But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you”. I have read several hundred workers’ testimonies from conventions and this was mentioned often back in the early days. It has been interpreted such that people feel reluctant to “bother” (as Darla said) God with natural needs.

    It has been another of the many joys we have come to realize after leaving meetings and finding a real relationship with Our Saviour. All praise go to him!

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  2. Darla, you have just presented another aspect of your changed life during the past few years, another in a long list of changes! Thank God for changes! And yes, how often we heard the same refrains over and over that you heard….don’t bother God with natural situations, problems of daily living! I can remember being a little shocked in a convention meeting when a sister worker actually prayed for a fellow sister BY NAME!! We just didn’t DO that!! But the one being prayed for was dying of cancer, was respected and valued, and thus the specific prayer. I’m not real sure why James 5:15 is not practiced/taught by the friends and workers fellowship. However, Dennis and I are troubled when we hear people praying prescriptively, that is, telling God in prayer just how we want things done, please…

    God is sovereign, sees the big picture as we do not. I believe He would like us to confide all things in Him, call on Him for help in every aspect of our living. But our Lord’s prayer in the garden is our purest example of prayer approved by our Father: “Let …….., nevertheless, not my will but Thine be done.” And we know that the latter part of Jesus’ prayer was answered, not the former. For years, I have felt that this is the ultimate prayer of faith. But so often, I forget to add in the last part……because I so very much want things to turn out in the way I see best, failing to recognize/remember that God is sovereign and always has our best interests at heart. We have a neighbor dying of cancer, a divorce in progress within our family, a grandchild struggling with dyslexia…….and of course, I have lots of ideas about how I would like things to turn out. I no longer hesitate to pray about specific natural, earthly situations. But I am trying to learn to pray as Jesus did…….”Lord,………if it be your will…….” and then just leave it in His hands knowing that all things work together for good to those who love Him. For me, that’s a big challenge!

    Dennis and I were visiting about this very subject a few days ago, as we have often struggled about how to pray for our dying neighbor. If I pray prescriptively, that would be like going to the doctor with a specific problem, and telling him/her that I need this test, and I need this susrgery, or I need this medication, please just get out your script pad and write it out……thanks very much. That would be so insulting, like saying I know better than you even if you did go to med school while I did not…….

    Don’t know if this is making sense….just my thoughts on this very important subject of prayer.

    Keep writing, Darla, your posts are always thought-provoking and inspiring!

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  3. Absolutely wonderful and very important blog post here Darla! I have witnessed a very “external God” in the 2×2 church. It is very sad and very frustrating. This life means nothing to many people because they think it means nothing to God. All that matters is being with this external God in eternity. Even then, one witnesses much fear and anxiety over the fact that they “hope to be saved”. Jesus tells us eternal life is NOW because we know God and do what Jesus says!! I wonder if this doctrine about not praying for the natural but only the spiritual stems from the very unnatural lives of the workers, and their denying all normal, natural and enjoyable things. I highly suspect so. It’s no secret of psychology that what you are unhappy about and dislike about yourself…you often punish others with. Praise the God who loves us from the inside out because we are His!

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  4. Great blog. I first realized that God was acutely interested in “the everyday and the mundane” (as Matt Redman phrases it) when I was studying the life of Moses in BSF. Look again in Exodus at how involved God was in the daily life of the Israelites. When we separate our social and emotional life from those we call friends and even family we distance ourself from developing any kind of sustainable relationship with them. Our relationship with God is no different. I truly believe this is why those in the meetings seldom express true emotional joy about Christ in their lives and often dwell on the sadness of not performing up to the standard. Their joy is usually more about the relationship to the system and others in the meetings, leaving Christ out of the relationship all together. My prayer tonight is that Jesus through the Holy Spirit will continue to use you to encourage us, your sisters and brothers.

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    • Jeanine and others!
      I have so appreciated your response to this latest post. Jeanine, what a great example of God’s intense interest in the daily lives of the Israelites! So true. And, also what you wrote “When we separate our social and emotional life from those we call friends and even family we distance ourself from developing any kind of sustainable relationship with them” is also very true. To be or have a true relationship with anyone you have to be willing and able to share on all levels; not just the spiritual. Because, once again, how can you separate them out? You can’t!

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  5. This year, 11 years after leaving the church of my youth, I am finally grasping the depth of God’s love for me… for us! That to live in that love entirely, immersed in His love, knowing every waking and sleeping moment my Father, my best friend is there, watching over me, waiting for me to ask of Him anything. He delights to hear from us and blesses us everyday with a depth of peace, a longing to be near Him. I finally understand why Jesus was in despair when His Father turned His face and withdrew from Him.

    I was struck, after reading this, recalling how I used to think about God. He was terrifying, distant, and never would I be able to please Him. And Jesus, well, I really never quite figured out His place other then the perfect example to be like… something I knew I could never be. This made my professing years in the fellowship unbearable. Especially when I kept making mistake after mistake and following my impulsive nature.

    This past year God finally drew me into the wisdom of His Grace and to realize all my mistakes, my impulsive nature, none of it is a surprise to Him. And most of all to realize Jesus’ atonement has erased my errors, my mistakes… Wow! Reading the words of this paragraph, some will think, well duh… but truly, I thought I had to do it all on my own and be perfect like Christ. There is just NO WAY I could ever have been Christ-like enough.

    Because the sinless Savior died

    My sinful soul is counted free

    For God the just is satisfied

    To look on Him and pardon me

    Now, I wouldn’t trade anything in the world for my relationship with God. Not only is He my best friend…. I am His and He is mine and I love knowing He spends everyday with me all – day – long!

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  6. Just a wonderful blog – this reminds me of the first Sunday Chris and I left meeting. We attended a small church and were a little apprehensive. After the worship music, we had a ten minute break to talk with our neighbors. We talked to a young couple about the meeting system we had just come out of. The woman ( a local medical Dr.) said – let’s pray for you right now. Well I just about freaked out. We never did such a thing! But pray she did as her husband, herself and Chris and I held hands. She prayed for us to leave any of the chains of bondage behind and to start Brand New in Jesus. And then the most incredible part, she prayed specifically for the friends and workers still in the meetings!! I still remember every second of this and it was nearly 4 years ago.

    Since then we don’t hesitate one second to say “hey, let’s pray about it” to anyone anytime if they are receptive to that and others do the same with us.

    This idea of not praying for “worldly” things was one of the many breaking points as we were leaving the meeting. There was a man in our local meeting that had fell on very hard times. He was a wonderful Hawaiian man and although he hated to ask – he needed help. Well, we never knew in time. He had gone to both of the workers and told them of his need. He didn’t even have money for gas to get to meeting or food for his family. A male worker just told him to “just keep coming to the meetings) and a female worker just said that they were not there to help them with their worldly things. Both responses, absolutely pathetic. Plus the workers were on their way to China. By the time we found out and were willing to help this family, they had already got help from another church. Unfortunately, it was the Mormans. He and his family are still there today. And although they teach a false doctrine – at least they helped this family and were compassionate.

    Anyway, we pray very specifically today to a loving God. Chris lost a tiny earring in the jungle a while back. And not sure where. It seemed helpless. We prayed and I walked out and saw it through of the dense undergrowth – shining back at me. The world might call that “luck” – we call it Jesus helping out with a really small personal problem.

    Last Sunday we went down to the front of church and just started praying with a lady we didn’t even know at all about a current difficulty. Wow, that is just incredible, unbelievable in our past meeting life and so hopeful. Thanks again, Darla, for your blog! Stan and Chris

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  7. This is one of the best posts, ever! You have so eloquently described many of my own revelations. We can have the close relationship of children with an awesome father. Why would we settle for the relationship of a distant cousin? I talk to Christ throughout my day. I need His help and want to know His mind about everything…in detail! Thank you.
    for encouraging this in all of us!

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  8. Many years ago I said to a Christian friend ‘Well, God doesn’t care about that sort of stuff’ in reference to some financial problems. My friend said ‘WHAT? Where in the world did you get that idea??’ In thinking it over later and looking for verses to back up what I had said, I realized that I had gotten that idea from the workers and not from scripture. And I’m not sure they ever directly taught it as much as implied it by their prayers and teaching. I love what you said about receiving generic answers to generic prayers. Wow, what a help for me to think of these words while praying. Thank you.

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