Lately God has been showing me what it really means to be a disciple. And in our “Western Christianity”, we just don’t want to get that being a sacrifice could mean something bad, something horrible, something that requires us to sacrifice. So we read in the Bible where it says, “Deny yourself and take up your cross”. never understanding that this could possibly mean sacrifice and suffering and being persecuted for the sake of the cross. But we do have a promise from God that He will use ALL things for our good. (Romans 8:28)
And we’re supposed to deny ourselves. What could that possibly mean? I can’t buy that new dress because the church is taking a special offering and I know God wants me to put my money there. I can’t eat two cupcakes (with great icing) because my body is a temple of the Holy Spirit? My husband wants me to go to this new club, but I will be tempted if I go with him, so I can’t go. How many issues in the marriage would this bring up! Trust me, I know; our thing is what television shows to watch – or not.
I know this may be getting some of you, but it’s the truth. And I saw a picture that said,
And my goal lately has been to be called “a servant of God”. I got this intense passion because of a sermon I heard by Christine Caine at the Passion 2016 conference. (You just have to love YouTube!) She taught that only a handful of people in the Bible were ever called “a servant of God”; Joshua was only called that after his death. Wow!
You wouldn’t believe how much pressure this has taken off of me. I mean, think about it. We, in our culture, have a need to control and steer our lives and also of those around us. This adds a ton of stress and strain on not only us, but on those around us. We can be free to simply listen to God and do what He tells us to do. No more need for control, no more need to strain and convince and push. But it’s a bad habit a bad pattern that’s hard to break. I find myself reverting back time and time again. Mostly when I’m afraid. It’s interesting how God’s word tells us exactly 365 times, Do not fear, do not be afraid.
And here’s the part where my human self starts to protest. I start saying but you don’t understand how much I need to push a kid into getting a job. Or push my husband into change that will be good for us. Or talk an adult child out of doing something that I know will harm them. All I am responsible for is what God tells me to do. Maybe that will be as simple as praying for them and their situation. Maybe that will be telling them the truth in love. Maybe that will be telling them about Jesus and how He has never not believed in them. But whatever it may be, that is all I’m responsible for.
You may start to question this, I know I used to. But what if it’s hard, or what if it doesn’t go like I think it’s supposed to? What if it costs me something or is inconvenient? All I know is, God’s got you covered. He knows the outcome and He knows what’s supposed to happen. And each and every time I actually am brave enough to obey what God is telling me, something amazing happens. I can also be sure that if it doesn’t go as I had planned, that it actually turned out the way God had it planned. Remember, if you tell someone about Jesus today, that doesn’t mean they will accept Him today; there IS such a thing as planting seeds!
The sticky thing is God does not promise us prosperity in this life; He has promised what we need for each day. In fact He promised that “You will have trouble”. (John 16:33) And that’s okay. Because God promised to be right there with us in the middle of trouble; (Hebrews 13:5)the sting and the pain of hurt or rejection. Through it all. He also went further to say that “Be of good cheer, I have overcome the world!” Be of good cheer or courage, is He crazy? My husband just lost his job, or my son just got in a car accident, or I got a bad report from the doctor.
Here’s the thing; God knew these things would be happening to you right now. He knew this would make you stretch and grow in Him. So we can be cheerful because He’s teaching us something. Remember – ALL things for good. And He’s got you hidden with Christ on high. (Colossians 3:3) I picture Moses in the cleft of the rock, covered by God’s hand. Isn’t that what we are? Covered by Almighty God? And He promised to be WITH US.
Our response to these things should be: A. Be thankful in tribulation B.Offer a sacrifice of praise C. Pray without Ceasing D.Your Will Be Done E. Tell others about what God is doing for us! The war in heaven is won because of the blood of the Lamb and the word of our testimony; and because we do not love our life, even when faced with death. (Revelation 12:11). How can we stay silent when God asks us to speak?!!!
So today, I’m challenging us, together, let’s start listening when God says move and move. Let’s start staying in the same place when god tells us to. And for goodness sake PRAY and READ so that you can know what God’s perfect will for you is!
“32 Behold, an hour is coming, and has already come, for you to be scattered, each to his own home, and to leave Me alone; and yet I am not alone, because the Father is with Me. 33 These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world.” John 16:32-33
***Here’s the link to Daniel Hochhalter’s blog in case you want to read some of his outstanding work.***