How are you? I’m well.
Have you ever thought that you might stand in God’s way? It sounds dreadful, but I think we might make a mistake to stand in His way, if we don’t listen to and obey Him. Today, I would like to share one of my recent episodes.
I’ve been willing to give offerings to the Lord and to help others. Looking back at my experiences of giving, though, I see not all of my giving was out of a pure heart. Some of them were out of fear and/or out of being manipulated. I realized that even Christians used manipulation, no matter whether they are ministers or not. As I got to learn about the witchcraft, the spirit of control that includes manipulation, I think I now became more cautious in giving; not to give out of fear or manipulated by others.
In August this year, I had some money that I was pondering on to whom I should give. I asked the Lord about this and I literally said to Him, “Father, I don’t want to be manipulated any more. So, please direct me to whom I should give offerings.” When it comes to manipulation, I set my heart not to give to those who ask me money literally, but to give without knowing their needs, but being prompted by the Holy Spirit. Interestingly enough, in a day or two after that prayer, I got a missed call and a text message from a missionary in a foreign country. I gave offerings to her twice out of a pure heart in the past, and I knew she is a self-funding missionary. She left a message to me, saying she called me, but I might not recognize her new number. But I already knew and saved her new number, when she let me know a few months ago. So, I texted her and asked her how she was doing, while I was sitting next to mom in an orthopedic clinic for her regular therapy. Then, the missionary texted me, simply saying that she called me for fund-raising her next discipleship training that she would lead soon. That’s all that she said. She didn’t ask me how my mom and I were doing. I felt so sorry, as I felt she just called me for money, not for friendship. Actually, when I shared the update on mom’s status at her new number, after mom was admitted to hospitals twice, she never replied back to me for the past few months. And after breaking the silence, she just talked about her fund-raising. (It made me understand how our Heavenly Father would feel when His children come to Him with their agendas only.) I had an impression that she was surprised and moved by my giving in the past, as I transferred the money voluntarily, even using the international banking transfer. Since the last year, though, I had a little bit of doubt as to whether she was on the right track on her faith, after getting some texts from her. Now, I got her missed call and a simple text message on her fund-raising, soon after I asked the Lord about giving and saying to Him that I do not want to give, being manipulated. I felt as if the Lord put me in that situation, to see how I would react. In the past, I would have said, “Sure, I would definitely help you.” perhaps out of compassion or out of fear. But now I realized that if God wants to send her to the discipleship training to lead others, He would make it happen, without my giving money to her. I would rather move, listening to His voice. I asked Him a few times to let me know, if He wants me to give her money. In the meantime, I replied to her that I would pray for His provision to her, even if it’s not through me. And I said to her I would hear His voice and obey Him on offering. And I prayed His will be done for her discipleship training. And I finally offered money to some other ministries and some other ministers out of a cheerful heart. It was not a matter of money, but I felt it was about obeying His voice. I felt in my heart that if I would help her now, I would let her seek people including me, not seek Him for financial provision. I felt our Father intended to teach her as well as me and I would take the opportunity for learning from her, if I would give her money. And, I believe every believer should rely on our Heavenly Father only, just like George Mueller did. And I also believe that if our friendship is truly based on the love of our Father, we would continue to be friends no matter whether I help her this time or not.
Then, just a few days ago, I happened to read Pastor John Fenn’s words posted back in 2014, Fear & Stupid Decisions (#3 Family/Money) in The Church Without Walls International website. It really spoke to me, and I’d like to share part of it, hoping it would also help you now and in the future.
Let us use the example of someone you’ve opened your home to for a season – an adult child, sibling, friend, or anyone else you are opening your home to. Let us say they are into various sins – maybe drugs, wrong relationships, and little work.
The fear is what will happen to them if you don’t provide for them? They’d be on the street. They’d be in a shelter somewhere? But Lord, what to do about them? If I kick them out it will be my fault if they die, but I can’t afford to have them here and they disrupt my life.
The fact is however, we parents raise our children to become self-sufficient. Any person able of body and mind should be taking care of themselves. There is a time and place to receive someone in your home to help them get on their feet – don’t get me wrong – but Jesus did say only give 1 extra coat, not your whole closet, and to walk just 1 extra mile, not a marathon with them.
If you obey fear some will bring themselves to financial and emotional hurt by not making them grow up. If they aren’t paying their own way after you’ve walked that extra mile and given them that 1 extra coat, then you switch from the giver of grace to the enabler of sin, by enabling their dependence on you instead of God.
Masked in Christian ‘love’, you may be actually keeping that person from growing up as a person and a person in the Lord. As I said last week, usually when we are comfortable there isn’t a lot of growth, and when we grow there often isn’t a lot of comfort. Sometimes you have to ignore the fears and make them uncomfortable so they will grow – and tell a person who you’ve walked that extra mile with them and given them the shirt off your back, and now it is time for them to walk on their own and earn their own clothes.
The answer is to go through fear – and let – maybe ‘make’ is a better word – that person stand on their own 2 feet. At the very least they can pay their proportion of the rent, utilities, and their own gas money while with you – make a plan, hold them to it. Something like ‘By week 2 you will have a job, by week 4 you will have your first paycheck and I get 1/2 to reimburse me for your room and board.
Yes, you may have to help them until they get paid – but if after awhile they either don’t have a job or aren’t up and out of the house by 8am treating finding a job as if that were a job, and not coming home from filling out applications until after 5pm each night, you have to draw the line.
Fear will use you – a demon of fear will use you – to keep them babies, dependent and immature. Going through the fear to stop enabling laziness or addictions is hard, you feel horrible, but it must be done.
You see, God gives us opportunities, but we have to decide to take them. Fear prevents us from presenting God’s opportunities for growth and provision to a person we are temporarily helping. You are actually standing in God’s way, fighting against Him the whole time, while wondering where His answer is. We are often both the answer and the problem.
I pray that you and I ask to give us His Wisdom and we present His opportunities for growth and provision, not standing in His way, in Jesus’ name.
Have a bliss!
I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go;