Sometimes I Don’t Walk by Faith (Sometimes Series #5)

In this series of teachings / discussions I have targeted a number of every day issues – spiritual and life issues – that we, as believers and disciples of Jesus, tend to encounter on a regular basis

Sometimes I Doubt God – Bout With Doubt

Sometimes I Worry – But What If…

Sometimes I Get Angry – Rage Rash

Sometimes I Feel Incredibly Lonely – Seclusion Conclusions

Today: Sometimes I Don’t Walk By Faith – “No More Beyond”

Subtitle: “Don’t Settle In Spain”

I don’t believe that disciples of Jesus – those of us who follow Jesus today – were ever suppose to end up as couch potatoes

Sitting in one spot can feel so comfortable – physically, emotionally, mentally, and relationally

Just coasting in life and accepting things as they are is simply not the call upon the believers today or any day

The early believers we read about in the New Testament did not just sit and accept what was because it was

They fought against great odds to live by faith and share their dynamic and vibrant faith with others who were not followers of Jesus

They understood that there was this call to live deep … to fulfill their destiny

  • To engage life
  • To embrace life
  • To share life
  • It was something they felt in their heart 
  • They knew they had a destiny to fulfill
  • It was a ‘matter of the heart’ and they would not settle for normal
  • That there was more beyond what they were already experiencing

 

Today, many believers have simply settled into a routine that is comfortable and they no longer feel challenged by their faith in Christ

No longer believe there has to be more to life than what they are experiencing

 

No longer look for a better way to live – are not pursuing their destiny or their boundaries

They are no longer walking by faith — They have settled into a routine and into life as is

And they know it – because there is something deep in their hearts crying out “there must be more”

Steve Jobs – co-founder of Apple Computer writes, 

“Don’t settle. As with all matters of the heart, you’ll know when you find it.”

Christopher Columbus, the great renowned explorer, grew up in Spain at a time when Spain was very proud of the fact that they were the last point of solid land for sailors going westward. 

When travellers arrived in Spain by boat (usually from Africa), the first thing they would see as they entered the strait leading to the port of Spain were two large pillars on each side of the canal inscribed with Spain’s national motto. 

The motto in Latin was Ne Plus Ultra, which means “No More Beyond.” These same words showed up on Spain’s flag and coins as well.

This message was one the nation took pride in and believed as their outlook on life. 

“No more beyond” was not considered to be negative in nature. 

It was mainly a reference to the geographical location of Spain in the world, as they knew it. 

Many people saw Spain as a major destination in that day because getting to Spain meant you had gone to the end of civilization and reached the ultimate place on earth. 

There was now no more beyond.

The fact this had on people, though, was that they settled there. 

Since there was nothing beyond, why think beyond there? 

Or dream beyond there?

This is the message that young Christopher Columbus saw everywhere as he was growing up. 

It’s how everyone thought. 

But it wasn’t the message Christopher believed. 

In fact, he put everything he had into the idea that there was something beyond., 

That belief is what inspired and fueled his vision. 

He raised support and the backing of the king to sail west into uncharted waters and discovered there was “more beyond”

Everything changed in Spain after Columbus discovered the New World. 

Spain entered what was called the Age of Discovery. 

The national motto changed too. 

The king ordered that the “Ne” be dropped so that the new motto was Plus Ultra. 

Flags were changed and they engraved new coins with the phrase Plus Ultra, which means “More Beyond.” 

The nation embraced the reality of more beyond where they were.

Sadly, I have found that it’s a common tendency for people to settle in their own version of Spain. 

The no-more-beyond mentality falls far short of what God has in mind for their lives. 

They get to a certain point and begin to believe there’s nothing greater left for them. 

More beyond what they have experienced

They accept something far less than God’s bigger, greater plans for their lives. 

Men and women settle. 

Old and young settle. 

People of all ethnicities and economic statuses settle. 

Believers and unbelievers settle. 

Businesses and churches settle. 

Even while people are active, they settle. 

Just because people go to work, clean the house, balance the chequebook, and go to the kid’s games doesn’t mean they haven’t settled in their own version of Spain. 

Life may go on for them, but it’s still Ne Plus Ultra – No More Beyond

Christians everywhere are “settled” … Ne Plus Ultra

  • This is as far as I can go 
  • This is as far as I am willing to go
  • This is all there is for me as a believer
  • I’m saved and yet defeated / lonely / anxious
  • This is good and I am comfortable (saved) so why rock the boat
  • This is familiar and I like where I’m at

Ne Plus Ultra – No More Beyond

I am settled in what I believe and where I am at spiritually 

SETTLED PRIORITIES AND SETTLED PASSION

Don’t get me wrong; being settled can be good in some ways

When people say. “I’m going to settle down,” they typically mean something positive

Like: “Settle down and devote my time to my marriage and family”

Like: “Settle down and take my studies seriously so I can get ahead in life”

Most people realize that it is good to be settled geographically and to put down roots in a community for the sake of family stability

Scripture says it is good to get planted in a church – it is also a form of being settled

(Psalm 92:13) 

So, God has a right place and a right people for us, and when we are in that place and with those people, God wants us to live committed to those people and that place

I would describe this as being SETTLED IN PRIORITIES

When PRIORITIES like faith, family, finances, friends, and fitness are settled, they serve as a strong foundation of life and for God’s favour and blessing

When PRIORITIES are settled you’ll live your life, form your habits, and make your decisions from a place of confidence

God’s favour and blessing is on people whose PRIORITIES are settled

I don’t think  it’s the same way with PASSION, though

In fact, settled PASSION will hinder God’s favour and God’s blessing

PASSION doesn’t mean you always jump up singing in the morning

If that were the case, I would fail the passion test every day!

Neither is PASSION always happy, smiley, and carefree

Sometimes PASSION is burdensome or intense

Sometimes PASSION is high energy and sometimes PASSION is laidback

The emotions and expressions of PASSION vary, but the one thing that’s constant with PASSION is DRIVE

A passionate person is a motivated person

“Dead fish float downstream – live fish swim upstream against the current”

Passionate people are unsettled

Their drive causes them to always believe there is more – They don’t Settle in Spain

When you stop wanting more, thinking more, and expecting more, you’re starting to settle

And there’s a deception that goes along with being settled — settled people don’t think of themselves as having settled > self-deceived

When people settle:

      • They are not as interested in learning and trying new things
      • They usually stop taking good care of themselves physically (health-wise)
      • They no longer reach for things beyond their current grasp and comfort
      • They stop imagining and dreaming of things they want to do or experience in the future
      • They generally have less fun and are unwilling to take risks
      • They tend to be boring to be around
      • They don’t ass value to existing relationships

They are content to live Ne Plus Ultra 

No more beyond where I am right now

They are content to Settle In Spain

They don’t see or seek for more

There seems to be three reasons people settle… have no passion / Ne Plus Ultra

1> People settle when they get sentimentally attached to a past season of their life

Sometimes people are suppose to stay where they have been, but nothing is suppose to stay like it has been. 

When people don’t evolve with life and embrace change, they settle for a lifetime in what was meant to be a season.

If you have suffered the lost of a loved one – a season of grief and sorrow is needed

If you have had a set back in your work or business – you will go through a season when you are discouraged

If you are having issues in your relationships – it’s a season of learning and adjusting

But it is just a season

Don’t let the temporary conditions of your life dictate a permanent perspective 

Don’t park … keep moving forward

Don’t Settle In Spain

Plus Ultra – not Ne Plus Ultra

Don’t live like there is “No More Beyond” what you have now

Imagine the challenge in this:

After being freed from years of slavery, the Israelite people were sentimentally attached to and kept referring back to the place they came from

The season that had just ended

Moses had to lead them to keep looking forward to a new place and encourage them not to look back

He told them on several occasions to keep expecting the answer to their prayers and that God was about to bring them to a new place, a new season, and a greater day of joy in their lives

They were living and complaining like there was “No More Beyond”

2> People settle in a place of relational wounds

In Genesis, Chapter eleven, Abraham’s father, Terah, was on his way with his family to Canaan  – which is where God planned for him to go and live

Terah had another son – brother to Abraham – who died a premature death

Terah was on his way to Canaan, but he had to go through a place called Haran to get there

Rather than passing through, Terah settled in a city with the same name as the son he had lost

The Bible does not tell us why he did that and stopped his journey to Canaan and settled there

That wasn’t God’s plan

What we do know is that no father loses a son without heartache and grieving

Sons are suppose to outlive fathers

It is highly likely that Terah stopped and stayed in the city of Haran because he was grieving the lost of his son and was not interested in moving forward out of that season in his life

No More Beyond

Eventually God spoke to Abraham and he moved on to Canaan without his father

But God’s plan was that the whole family – including Terah – would settle in Canaan

Terah settled in the place of a relational wound

He settled in Spain – Ne Plus Ultra

He could not see more beyond where he was 

We often do the same… Settle in Spain…

      • When people choose to leave our lives
      • When people don’t grow and change but you know you must
      • When we are offended or wounded and take time to rehearse the injustice

Relational wounds can be terribly debilitating, and many people settle in the place of a lost relationship. 

They allow themselves to linger mentally and emotionally in a place that God wants them to move beyond. 

The loss of a friend. 

The death of a loved one. 

The end of a marriage. 

Relational woundedness can cause you to settle where you are and miss out on what God has for you

3> People settle because where they are is “good enough” and they want to stay comfortable.

Yes, settled people can still enjoy a good life. 

But just because someone makes the best of his or her life doesn’t mean they are living their best life. 

“Good enough” is the enemy of “better than ever.”

Don’t make the mistake of settling for good enough. 

Good enough is not your destiny! 

Don’t Settle In Sprain believing there is “No More Beyond” (Ne Plus Ultra)

Are you aware that being comfortable is way overrated? 

The best things in life don’t come when you’re comfortable. 

If fact, being too comfortable can clog your arteries, soften your muscles, and make you weak and tired. 

Your body may want to settle and be comfortable, but that’s not how you experience the healthiest and best life. 

The place of “good enough” might sound tempting because it’s more comfortable. 

But it’s not the place God has for you. 

“Good enough” is not your destiny. 

Ignore the signs that say “No More Beyond.” 

That message is a lie that wants us to settle and miss out on all that God has beyond where we are right now. 

Ne Plus Ultra is no longer our motto

The new motto is Plus Ultra – “More Beyond!”

Don’t Settle In Spain!

Not moving forward to “more beyond”…

But actually sliding back … losing some of what you have

Having less – not more

DRIFTING IS NOT A DIRECTION

If settling (in Spain) is not such a great idea — drifting is just as bad

The Christian life is about going somewhere with God.

I mean, how cool is that!

Not drifting — not knowing where you are headed or even that you are in motion

Here is what the author of Hebrews wrote about drifting:

“We must pay the most careful attention, therefore, to what we have heard, so that we do not drift away” (Hebrews 2:1).

TPT “This is why it is so crucial that we be all the more engaged and attentive to the truths that we have heard so that we do not drift off course”

Notice the word chosen: drift

Sometimes what we hear about God seems too good to be true

That he loves us just as we are — our faults, our baggage, our issues

That He forgives us, heals us, helps us, blesses us, want the best for us

We hear that message at church and get so encouraged by the incredible promises of God for our lives

But them Monday rolls around, and we step back into a faulty world with all of its challenges

That’s when the drift starts to happen

We start to draw on our old data — and before we know what’s happened, we are drifting back to a more reasonable idea of God

One that is not so grand

One that is not so hard to believe

One that downsizes the goodness of God so we can factor in the hardship of life

If you have ever been in a small boat – like a kayak – then you know how easy it is to drift without being aware of it

And it is really amazing how far you can drift due to the wind and the currents and not be aware of it

Of course, you won’t drift if you securely anchor the boat while in the water…

It is the same with our soul: the unanchored soul will drift

We live in a windy world with many underlying currents…

      • Questions
      • Assumptions
      • Doubts
      • Worries
      • Other people’s opinions
      • Philosophies
      • Bad experiences

They all add up to…

      • Windy at work
      • Windy at school
      • Windy at home

These winds can cause you to drift into…

      • Disappointments
      • Discouragement
      • Negativity
      • Anxiety
      • Dispair
      • Hopelessness

And so you no longer live by faith… You Settle In Spain / No More Beyond

The unanchored soul is subject to the winds and currents of life

I am always amazed at how quickly people change their perspectives on life

Sometimes we find ourselves sailing in the open waters of faith and confidence on a Sunday

And then we find ourselves drifting back into waters of worry and fear on Monday

One moment you are feeling good about yourself

And then this person at work (school, in your neighbourhood) who always has the latest of everything, shows you his newest tech toy

You are reminded that you are still using an old cell  phone that’s so big it won’t even fit in your pocket 

And you begin to drift…

One thing you can be sure of – that regardless of who you are — an unanchored soul will drift

And the only way we can avoid the drift into a low-grade, compromised, downsized version of God is to drop anchor in God’s goodness

Otherwise, you will not step out in faith but you will play it safe and Settle in Spain

Let’s close by looking at what the author to the Hebrews says to those who kept rationalizing away what they thought was the too-good-to-be-true goodness of God

He first told them to pay close attention to the good news that first heard so they wouldn’t drift away from it

Then they learned what the anchor was that would keep their souls from drifting:

“We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure … Where our forerunner, Jesus, has entered on our behalf” (Hebrews 6:19-20)

The author is saying in so many words,

“Don’t reason away what you have learned; even though it seems too good to be true, it’s true! God is really that good! He sent His Son, Jesus, as a once-and-for-all sacrifice for our sins. Don’t drift back to trying to perform your way into God’s favour. Put your hope in God’s too-good-to-be-true-but-it-is plan of salvation

Then, you will not be happy camping where you are – Ne Plus Ultra

Believing there is “No More Beyond” and thus settling for what is …

You will reach for what lies beyond – there is always “more beyond”

Walking by faith

Stepping out in faith

And you will no longer settle for a slow drift 

Losing the joy, the peace, and the hope you once experienced

But, with your soul anchored to the hope we have

You will want “Plus Ultra” and willingly step out in faith because you know there is “More Beyond”