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By Rick Warren
“God … is able to do far more than we would ever dare to ask or even dream of — infinitely beyond our highest prayers, desires, thoughts, or hopes.”(Ephesians 3:20b TLB)
If you want your faith to grow so you can claim God’s promise in Mark 9:23 —“Everything is possible for the person who has faith” (GNT) — then you must first understand that God takes you through six phases of faith.
Phase 1: Dream
What is the dream God has given you? If you don’t have a dream you’re working toward, you just exist. You need to start praying, “God, give me your dream.” You’re here on Earth for a purpose. When you discover that purpose, you’ll discover the dream God wants you to go after.
“God … is able to do far more than we would ever dare to ask or even dream of — infinitely beyond our highest prayers, desires, thoughts, or hopes” (Ephesians 3:20b TLB).
Phase 2: Decision
Maybe you have a dream from God, but you’ve not yet made a decision to go after it. God’s word for you in phase 2 is, “Go for it!” You may need to make the decision to give your life to Christ or be baptized or join a church or get involved in ministry.
“If you are like that, unable to make up your mind and undecided in all you do, you must not think that you will receive anything from the Lord” (James 1:7-8 GNT).
Phase 3: Delay
When things don’t happen on our timetable, we tend to run ahead of God and create detours to make it happen. Do not detour! You may end up making the wrong decision. You’re in God’s waiting room. Wait for God to work his hand.
God says in Habakkuk 2:3, “But these things I plan won’t happen right away. Slowly, steadily, surely, the time approaches when the vision will be fulfilled” (TLB).
Phase 4: Difficulty
What difficulties have you faced waiting for your dream to be fulfilled? You’ll go through many tests in life, but God knows what you’re going through. He’s watching, and he hasn’t forgotten you.
“Even though you are temporarily harassed by all kinds of trials and temptations. This is no accident — it happens to prove your faith, which is infinitely more valuable than gold” (1 Peter 1:6-7 Phillips).
Phase 5: Dead End
Some of you are at your dead end, and you’re ready to give up. But you’re right where God wants you! He is preparing you for deliverance. God’s word for you is, “Hang on! Don’t give up!”
“At that time we were completely overwhelmed, the burden was more than we could bear, in fact we told ourselves that this was the end. Yet we now believe that we had this experience of coming to the end of our tether that we might learn to trust, not in ourselves, but in God who can raise the dead” (2 Corinthians 1:8-9).
Phase 6: Deliverance
Do you expect and trust God to deliver you? He will. But it doesn’t happen overnight. You have to go through all six stages before God brings you to deliverance.
“I know that I will live to see the LORD’s goodness in this present life” (Psalm 27:13 GNT).
You Are God’s Masterpiece
BY RICK WARREN
“We are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.” (Ephesians 2:10 NLT)
The reason you have value is because of what God says about you, not because of what other people say about you.
Many people lack self-esteem. They don’t feel good about themselves because they’re always trying to pump themselves up by the kind of clothes they wear, the kind of car they drive, and the things they say. They’re always trying to pump themselves up to make them feel better about themselves because they really don’t accept themselves — which is rebellion against God.
If God wanted you to be somebody else, you wouldn’t exist. But he wanted you! He made you to be you. Real self-esteem comes from three facts:
God created you.
Jesus died for you.
God’s Spirit lives in you.
The Bible says, “We are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago” (Ephesians 2:10 NLT). The New Testament was written originally in Greek. The Greek word for “masterpiece” is “poema.” It’s the word we get “poem” from. God says, “You’re my poem. You’re my masterpiece. I don’t want you copying somebody else. I’ve put gifts in you — heart, abilities, personality, and experiences — and I want you to use them.” You have worth because of what God says about you and has done for you.
You’re not just wanted; you’re needed! The Bible says in 1 Corinthians 12:4-6, “There are different spiritual gifts, but the same Spirit gives them. There are different ways of serving, and yet the same Lord is served. There are different types of work to do, but the same God produces every gift in every person” (GW).
You are needed. You’re needed in your church. You are needed in your community. You are needed in this world. If you weren’t needed, God would not have made you. He didn’t create you to just sit and soak and sour. He brought you here to make a contribution with your life. And everybody is needed.
There are no little people in the family of God. Every part is necessary. Do you know what the most important light is in my house? It’s not the big chandelier in the dining room. It’s the little dinky light I turn on every night so that when I get up to go to the bathroom in the middle of the night, I don’t stub my toe.
Every role is important. You are important. You have value because God said so and because he paid such a large ransom for your life when he sent his Son, Jesus, to die on the cross for you.
Talk It Over
What is your role in your church? Your community? In the world? How are you fulfilling it?
In what ways have you been trying to boost your self-esteem?